Britain’s chilling missing persons – including young woman ‘erased by rubber’
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Peter Lawrence died last month without ever learning what happened to his daughter Claudia – one of the most puzzling cases of disappearance Britain has ever seen.
York chef Claudia vanished 12 years ago and Peter had dedicated the past few years to tirelessly campaigning for the rights of families whose relatives have vanished without trace.
Claudia is just one of a number of several high profile missing persons here in the UK. Others include Madeleine McCann and Andrew Gosden.
Here, in one of six features included in your free Daily Star pullout on Friday March 5, NATASHA WYNARCZYK looks at Claudia and Britain’s other missing people…
Claudia vanished in March 2009 and was last seen on CCTV heading home after working a shift.
Although the police have treated her disappearance as a case of murder, with nine people arrested – but later released – her fate is unclear.
Investigating police found the only things missing from her home were her mobile phone, chef’s whites and rucksack, indicating she left for work before she vanished.
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As Claudia, who was 35 at the time, knew several people in Cyprus, one line of inquiry was that she’d gone there, but this proved to be a dead end.
North Yorkshire Police are still investigating the case, and say they will never give up on Claudia until it is known who is responsible for her disappearance and suspected murder.
On September, 14, 2007, 14-year-old Andrew left his house in Doncaster, withdrew £200, and bought a one-way ticket to London.
He was last seen on CCTV at King’s Cross Station – but his reason for heading to the capital or his whereabouts after that remain unknown almost 14 years later.
The possibility that Andrew had gone to London to see somebody he met online was investigated.
But there was no trace of activity by the teen on his home, school or local library computers.
It was also thought he may have travelled for a heavy metal concert.
In 2009, Andrew’s father Kevin said he still thought his son’s disappearance was a “spur of the moment thing”.
While their son remains missing, his family have continued to release age-progression images of Andrew.
Madeleine, then aged three, vanished in May 2007 from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, while her parents Kate and Gerry were eating tapas with friends.
Initially, Portuguese police believed Maddie had died due to an accident in the apartment, and that her parents had covered it up, but their suspect status was lifted.
One of the friends the McCanns were eating tapas with, Jane Tanner, reported that she had seen a man carry a child away from the resort around 45 minutes before Madeleine was reported missing.
But police are still investigating what happened to the toddler to this day.
Last year, German police identified convicted paedophile Christian Brückner as their prime suspect in the Maddie case, saying he had travelled around Europe in a camper van around the time she was abducted.
But this has recently been dealt a blow after Brückner was cleared of a similar crime.
The disappearance of schoolgirl Charlene in November 2003 shocked the nation.
The 14-year-old had last been seen in an area of Blackpool that contained several takeaway and fast-food shops.
A police report found that Charlene had been the victim of child sexual abuse at the hands of a local grooming gang, who were employed by some of the food outlets and swapped meals and cigarettes for sex with young girls.
There were several arrests in the case, and in May 2007, two men stood trial for her murder but the jury failed to reach a verdict.
During the trial, the court heard claims she was “chopped up” and put in kebabs.
In 2017, a man was arrested on suspicion of her murder and was released two days later.
A £100,000 reward remains in place for information leading to a conviction.
Devoted mum Kerry Needham has spent the last 29 years tirelessly searching for the truth behind what really happened to her son Ben.
The 21-month-old disappeared in July 1991 on the Greek island of Kos while being looked after by his grandparents, and there has been no trace of him since.
The Needham family thought Ben may have been kidnapped by child traffickers or to sell on for adoption.
In September 2016, a man from Kos said that a now deceased digger operator had told him Ben had died in an accident and his body was hidden in building waste.
While Ben’s body was not found, an item dated to 1991 that was in Ben’s possession at the time was discovered.
Police now believe it was possible that he died on the day he went missing as a result of an accident near to the farmhouse where he was last seen playing.
Estate agent Suzy left work on July 28, 1986 to go and meet a client called ‘Mr Kipper’, who she was supposed to be showing around a house in Fulham, south-west London.
But the 25-year-old, who took her car and house keys and her purse but left her handbag in the office, never returned from the appointment.
There were fears Suzy may have been kidnapped, but all police leads went nowhere.
Suzy’s mum Diane later said: “There has not been a single trace of her. Nothing. Just as though she has been erased by a rubber”.
In 1994, Suzy was officially declared dead, presumed murdered, and renewed police investigations in 1998 and 2000 failed to trace her.
In 2002, it was reported that convicted murderer and rapist John Cannan had killed her, with claims his nickname in prison was ‘Kipper’.
He denied any involvement and police investigations failed to produce any evidence linking him to her disappearance, including a thorough 2018 search of his mother’s home.
- Ben Needham
- Madeleine Mccann
- Missing Person
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