Heartbroken family speak as police say Bristol mum missing for years 'may be dead'

  • Watch Rob Murphy's report:

The family of a woman who disappeared almost a decade ago have spoken out for the first time after police started a "significant" search operation in Bristol.

Claire Holland was reported missing by her family on Thursday 14 June, 2012. She was last seen on Wednesday 6 June - just after the Queen's Jubilee weekend.

Almost 10 years later and as a murder investigation continues, they are still desperate for answers.

Avon and Somerset Police are now undertaking a "significant" operation in Bristol in connection with the 32-year-old's disappearance.

Detectives say they believe the mother-of-four "may be dead" and are treating her disappearance as suspicious.

In an interview with ITV News, Claire's mother Jackie Vaughan described her daughter as "always smiling, happy and bubbly".

Claire's mum says her daughter is always in her thougths.

She says she still looks for Claire whenever she is out and about.

"If I see somebody who looks like Claire, I'll speed up to look to see if it's her," she said.

"If I'm in town - because she always used to go into town - I think 'oh is that Claire?'

"It never goes away. It's always there at the back of your mind.

"I'd love for her to knock on the door".

Claire, who was 32 when she disappeared, was last seen at the Seamus O’Donnell’s pub in St Nicholas Street.

Police have released CCTV footage of Claire on the day she disappeared as part of a renewed appeal for information from the public.

  • Watch CCTV released of Claire in lead up to her disappearance

Police are also going to send messages to people who were friends with Claire on Facebook in 2012.

Claire's sister, Sarah Holland, is hopeful this police operation will provide some answers.

"In my mind I've always thought 'she's alive, she's somewhere'," she said.

"That's how I've managed to cope with it. Thinking that she will come back.

"We'd like to know if she's alive or her whereabouts or anything - we'd like some comfort, some closure - and to finally be able to know if Claire's at rest.

"We need answers as a family, her children need answers. They've had their mum taken away from them.

"We've all had significant events in our lives. She's got nieces and nephews she's never met. They want to meet their auntie. It's never been the same knowing that one person isn't there."

Claire's daughter Rosie Hall was just nine years old when her mum disappeared.

Now 18, she has found success in sport and plays for Bristol Rovers. But her mum has never been there to cheer her on from the sidelines.

Rosie says she grew up feeling "empty" without her mum around.

"I was confused, I didn't know why it happened to her - wanted the answers then", she said.

"The last time I saw her was before I went to school - we would walk to school she pulled us aside and said let's sing ring-a-ring-a-roses before school - that was a daily thing we would do but that's the last memory I had of her.

"It's nice to have the good memories but you want more memories of your mum growing up."

How to provide information to police

If you have information which could help the investigation, call police on 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5219172645.

Alternatively, you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their website www.crimestoppers-uk.org – they never ask for your name or trace your call.