1. ITV Report

Mother of missing Claudia Lawrence calls for police apology

On the tenth anniversary of the disappearance of York chef Claudia Lawrence, her anguished mum Joan has called for a police apology over how the inquiry has been handled.

Missing: Claudia Lawrence

Talking to ITV Calendar, Joan says her deeply-felt frustration at how North Yorkshire Police has investigated the case coupled with how murder squad officers have treated her caused her huge anguish.

Claudia was 35 when she was last seen in Heworth, where she lived, on March 18, 2009. She was reported missing the following day after she failed to turn up for a shift at work at the University of York.

Credit: ITV

Although Joan feels the current investigation team is doing its best, she believes it was hampered by the first four and half years of the inquiry which focused intensely on Claudia's private life. She also believes she has been poorly treated by North Yorkshire Police.

Joan said:

With the frustration of the police at times, I thought of taking my own life. "They wouldn't do things I asked. I only met the man in charge for 15 minutes in the first four and a half years. I never felt I was her mum at all. Nobody early on asked me about Claudia’s personality, her interests or anything, they didn't ask me about her. You feel like banging your head against a brick wall and you can't get any answers, can't get anyone to listen."

– Joan Lawrence, speaking on ITV Calendar

Shockingly, Joan recalls she learned from the TV news that Claudia’s disappearance was being treated as a murder investigation:

I had the television on one morning and I was getting ready to meet some friends. It came on that the investigation wasn't a missing person's inquiry - it had been changed to a murder inquiry.

"Nobody told us."

– Joan Lawrence, speaking on ITV Calendar

Despite the obstacles Joan, from Malton, has faced, she continues to do all she can to keep Claudia’s disappearance in the public arena until she hopes she is found.

Missing: Claudia Lawrence

Reflecting on the past decade, she said:

I don't know where 10 years have gone and I don't know how I've got through them with any sanity. I try to be positive all the time and to look forward."

"I try to make some good come out of it, which it has, a tremendous amount of good.

"I've met a lot of people that I wouldn't have met before in lots of different situations. We help each other. You can't do it on your own."

– Joan Lawrence, speaking on ITV Calendar

Today, Joan, who has one other daughter Ali Sims and two grandchildren, would like an apology from the North Yorkshire police force for the manner in which it handled the early years of Claudia’s disappearance:

I want a public apology, I want them to learn lessons from it and I want them to listen to people. I think if they'd done their job right in the first place, we probably wouldn't be in this situation ten years down the line."

– Joan Lawrence, speaking on ITV Calendar

Despite all Joan has been and continues to go through, she refuses to give up hope. When Calendar asked if she thought Claudia was still alive: 'Yes,’ she states before poignantly adding:

The hard part is carrying on doing everything as though life is normal and it isn't. I suppose a light went out of my life that day and it's still there."

– Joan Lawrence, speaking on ITV Calendar