McCann: Amazing - Ambassador For One Day - One Teenager Found And The First Sighting Of Claudia Lawrence In 'AMSTERDAM' The McCanns Have A Lot Of Connections In Amsterdam !
Missing: Claudia Lawrence has not been seen since March 18 2009
The father of missing chef Claudia Lawrence has welcomed the 'first sighting we’ve had for ages' after a private detective spotted someone with a 'striking resemblance' to her in Amsterdam last week. Miss Lawrence, who would now be 38, has not been seen since she failed to turn up for work at York University in March 2009. Last night, Martin Dales, the spokesman for Miss Lawrence’s father, Peter, said a former private detective has contacted him to say he spotted someone with a striking resemblance to her a week ago in Amsterdam. Mr Lawrence has welcomed the sighting as a sign that his missing daughter 'has not been forgotten'. Mr Dales said the information has been passed on to North Yorkshire Police for following-up with their Dutch counterparts. In a statement, Mr Dales said: 'We are very grateful to all members of the public who remain vigilant in supporting both the Police and the family’s attempts to find out what has happened to Claudia. 'We don’t know if this is a sighting of Claudia or not but we trust that it will be fully checked out.'
Mr Dales told ITV Calendar News: 'The fact that the gentleman in question phoned me up to tell me about this and then followed it up with an email with the detail of the timings, where he was and the fact that his work had been in investigative sort of things means that people are aware.'
He added: 'Whether or not it’ll lead to anything I don’t know, but it’s the first sighting we’ve had for ages.'
Appeal: Claudia's father Peter Lawrence has made repeated appeals in public to try and raise information about Claudia's whereabouts
Sighting: A private detective is said to have seen someone with a striking resemblance to Claudia Lawrence in Amsterdam last week (file picture)
The chef was last seen on March 18, 2009, near her home in Heworth, York. She never turned up for work the next morning in the university kitchen. North Yorkshire Police launched a huge inquiry which has subsequently been scaled back. Detectives have said repeatedly they believe Miss Lawrence has been murdered. A police spokeswoman said last night: 'The investigation to discover what has happened to Claudia remains ongoing and this latest information shows that Claudia is still in the forefront of people’s minds.'
Updates: Peter Lawrence has posted updates on progress in the hunt for Claudia on a missing person website
Last Christmas her father opened up about the agonising pain over missing Claudia, insisting she never met men online, as had been claimed. After her family marked the third Christmas without her, Peter Lawrence said his daughter never met men on the internet, as has been alleged, and did not have affairs with married men. The devastated father recalled how he was greeted by the sight of Miss Lawrence's fluffy white slippers lying by the door when he went around to her home after a friend of hers raised the alarm. 'She didn't take her bank card, passport or her driving licence,' he told The Sun. 'Her jewellery was on the chest of drawers and there were plates, probably from supper, in the kitchen sink.