Watched an episode of ‘Donald MacIntyre Unsolved’ last night – Spoiler alert. A 35 year old woman had disappeared without a trace. Her name was Claudia Lawrence and she was a chef at the University of York. I love the mystery aspect of the programme but I often think there is something else in the investigation that is being withheld from the viewer. A vital clue that would lead you to a conclusion but probably not a suspect in these types of crimes.
Apparently march 18th, 2009 was the last date anyone saw Claudia alive. She had walked to work as usual, around 5am. Worked through the day and given a lift home for 2.50pm. She phoned her mum, displaying no anxiety or upset. The last text she sent was 8.23pm, all normal. The phone signal died at midnight, it said. It was said in the programme that she always made sure the phone was charged for the next day.
There was some cctv apparently of interest that was shown. At 7.15pm on the 18th a figure with a bag walked around to the alley behind her house and a minute later walked back around and off. The same cctv caught a similar figure doing exactly the same thing at 5.07am the next morning. It looked like a man but wouldn’t have had time to get into the house from the alley in the time he took on the cctv. Nothing else was noted or came out in the programme about activity around the house on the night and morning of 18th march, 2009.
A big red light for me turned up later in the show when it came out that she had lots of partners, some married or of dubious moral background. While her life is obviously her own a clandestine entanglement lends itself to being alone with someone you don’t know alot about. In places where almost no-one knows where you are at any given time. Donald Macintyre at the end even said at the end that she may have stayed at a lovers house that night.
The police investigation caused some controversy among Claudia’s friends and family by issuing a photograph showing her with the wrong coloured hair. It took a while to get it removed and a new one issued. The attitude of the police to witnesses was criticised too as it was felt they alienated people with their questioning. An interested sky reporter told how he was warned off and threatened by people he asked about Claudia’s habits, etc.
No real breakthrough in the investigation and watching it was a little dissatisfying as a conclusion at the end was missing. There were too many unanswered questions really.
That lack of a conclusion spurred me on the scour other literature and reports online. A Sun article dated 3/12/2019, introduces the theory convicted killer Christopher Halliwell might have been involved in her disapperance. There is loads to look at and it would be a real job to look and document it all. In a nutshell the authorities say there is no way that Halliwell had anything to do with Claudia’s disappearance. Despite the investigation into him only having £40,000 and the Senior investigating officer was sure Halliwell killed lots of other women. The investigation into other murders was halted because of procedural errors. However there are a few tantalising things linking him to Claudia’s case. The date, 18th march was significant to Halliwell, he’d broken up with a partner on march 19th, he’d killed another woman on march 19th Sian O’Callaghan in 2011. Also it has come to light that Halliwell’s dad lived close to Claudia Lawrence’s home so it’s possible Halliwell might have known her.
From my own experience walking to work in the early hours I found that I attracted unwanted attention from odd people. So I tried to vary my times and route. That worked a lot of the time. With Claudia walking the same route at the same time I could understand her being noticed by undesirables sooner or later. Her colourful private life was an invite to safety issues too. The person of interest on evening of the 18th and the early hours of 19th was interesting. Going around the back of Claudia’s house on both occassions seemed to be checking if someone was in. Especially the morning of the 19th going round the back of Claudia’s house at 5.07am. With Claudia going work at 5am, perhaps the prowler on cctv was checking if a light was on in a back room or bedroom suggesting Claudia was still at home and was late or that no-one was in if no lights were showing. Leading the prowler to come out of the alley behind Claudia’s house even quicker than than they had the previous night at 7.15pm. Leading me to think that the prowler was interested in knowing where Claudia was that night and so was unlikely to be the perpetrator. I think that Donald MacIntyre’s theory that Claudia was not at home overnight seems very credible bearing in mind the prowlers actions. Perhaps he’d heard someone down the ‘Wolf Pack’ pub saying they were going on a date with Claudia or something and was checking if Claudia was at home to check. It would have helped if the police had checked where her phone said she was too. What do you think?