Katrice Lee: Hartlepool veteran to give back medals over inquiry into daughter missing since 1981

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An army veteran with more than 30 years of service has vowed to hand back his military medals in protest over how the disappearance of his two-year-old daughter was handled.

Katrice Lee went missing from a supermarket on a British military base in Germany on her second birthday on 28 November 1981, and no trace of her has ever been found since.

Her father Richard Lee, from Hartlepool, now plans to go to Downing Street next year to hand back his army medals over how the investigation was conducted.

The former army officer believes his daughter was abducted but that the possibility was not sufficiently explored by the British military police at the time.

Speaking to ITV Tyne Tees, Mr Lee said: "I'm trying to force the issue. I just find it absolutely amazing it has got to this level and has got to this stage.

"If that's what I've got to do I will do it.

"I was given a gift. Katrice was a gift, children are a gift. My gift was stolen and I want that gift back."

On the 40th anniversary of Katrice's disappearance, her older sister Natasha Walker said living without knowing what happened was "the hardest thing to do".

Speaking at the time, Ms Walker, of Gosport, in Hampshire, said: "Wondering if she is alive and well, or if something terrible happened to her, is relentless."

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said any new information would be looked at and the investigation has been reviewed by an independent panel.

Richard Lee plans to hand back his army medals. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

An MoD statement said: “Our sympathies are with Richard Lee and his family as they continue to search for answers.

"At the time Katrice went missing, the Royal Military Police (RMP), German Police, British troops and volunteers attempted to locate her, and in 2012 the RMP re-opened their investigation.

“All active lines of enquiry have since been completed, and a review of the operation was carried out by an independent panel.

"The Defence Serious Crime Command and Unit, which now holds primacy for the investigation, continues to welcome any additional information that could help to determine Katrice’s whereabouts.”

Katrice was last seen wearing a blue duffle coat with a green fur hood, a green and blue pinafore dress, red wellies, and a white blouse with a blue collar and cuffs.

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