Claudia Lawrence detectives say double murderer Christopher Halliwell is ‘unlikely’ to be involved in her disappearance after revealing they have been probing link for SEVEN YEARS but found digital clues and new witnesses placing him 220 miles away
- Police reveal they have been looking at links since the end of September 2016
- But detectives say digital devices and witnesses place him in different area
Detectives investigating Claudia Lawrence’s disappearance think it ‘unlikely’ double murderer Christopher Halliwell was involved – after a seven year probe placed him in Swindon.
North Yorkshire Police has revealed it has been working with the Wiltshire force since September 2016 when it was suggested he may have been connected.
Suspicions were aired then by former detective superintendent Steve Fulcher, who had just brought him to justice for murdering Sian O’Callaghan and Becky Godden.
But the Yorkshire force say it has examined digital devices and interviewed witnesses that place Halliday in Swindon at the time Ms Lawrence vanished in York in March 2009.
It will come as a major blow to the missing woman’s mother Joan, 79, who want officers to question him about her daughter.
Det Supt Wayne Fox, head of the Major Investigation Team at North Yorkshire Police, said: “We have pursued lines of enquiry which are focussed on any link he may have to the North Yorkshire area and, in particular, the movements of Christopher Halliwell during the material times in which we believe Claudia came to harm.
Ms Lawrence vanished in York in 2009 but has not been seen since despite huge investigation
Detectives say digital devices and witnesses place Halliwell in different area to Ms Lawrence
“The results of those enquiries, which included examinations of digital devices and the interviewing of several witnesses, indicated that Halliwell continued to operate as a taxi driver in the Swindon area within the relevant time parameters.
“Both investigation teams reached a position in which we concluded it to be unlikely that Halliwell left the Wiltshire area, or was present in North Yorkshire, at the time of Claudia’s disappearance.”
Halliwell, now 58, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2016 after he admitted murdering Ms Godden-Edwards, 20, in 2003, while being questioned about the murder of another young woman, Ms O’Callaghan, 22, in 2011.
But some have always suspected the former taxi driver from Swindon of murdering more women, and in 2019 he was linked with four other unsolved cases.
Ms Lawrence, 79, said last month she believes police should be looking closely at Halliwell in her daughter’s case.
Suspicions were aired then by ex detective superintendent Steve Fulcher in September 2016
Claudia’s mother Joan Lawrence has urged detectives to question Halliwell about the crime
She claims more witnesses have come forward about Halliwell’s connections to York, where her daughter was last seen, including a construction boss who travelled to the region with a team which included Halliwell.
READ MORE: ‘Back in 2 minutes’ …but 33 years after antiques dealer left a note on her shop door she’s STILL missing – so, could double murderer Christopher Halliwell or her HUSBAND be behind disappearance
Detectives believe Claudia – who lived in the Heworth area of York – was murdered, although no body has ever been found. North Yorkshire Police has conducted two investigations and questioned nine people in relation to her disappearance and suspected murder, but no charges have ever been brought.
They believe her personal life is a key aspect of the case and have dismissed any links to Halliwell.
But Ms Lawrence fears they are ‘blinkered’ and has said there are three witnesses who can link Halliwell to North Yorkshire.
‘More and more people keep coming forward,’ she told The Mirror. ‘This can’t just be a coincidence.’
‘It just feels like there is something we are all missing. Surely police should be looking at this again?’
Ms Lawrence said she was contacted by a woman who saw a picture of Halliwell in the paper. The witness believes she saw him in a red Rover near the Nestle factory at 5am in March 2009.
According to Ms Lawrence, the witness spoke to the police about it but she felt they ‘weren’t taking her seriously.’
‘The way he looked at her frightened her so much she ran home,’ Ms Lawrence said.
‘Years later when Halliwell was in the papers after he was in court for murder, she recognised his face and she made contact with me.’
She has also urged police to allow her to see Halliwell’s ‘treasure trove’ of items linked to his crimes, found in a lake in Ramsbury in 2014. It included the boots of one of his victim’s, a shotgun, and women’s clothing.
She has also begged police to see his drawings of beauty spots, wondering if she might spot something linked to her daughter.
”Please show me Halliwell’s treasure trove,’ she said. ‘I might recognise something of Claudia’s that could be vital’.
It comes after Ms Lawrence claimed the BBC has been chasing her missing daughter for her licence fee and has threatened court action.
Ms Lawrence’s father, Peter (pictured together), died last year without knowing what happened to his daughter
She said the demands have caused ‘untold heartache’ and has called on police to stop the BBC sending letters to the property.
‘You’d think they’d know by now, after all the publicity, wouldn’t you,’ she said.
‘They must have sent two or three letters a year in all the time this has been happening. One was nasty and horrible. It threatened that not paying could affect her credit score.
‘I’m not someone who has ever had any debts, I pay for things straight away, so it was an awful thing to read. It really must stop.’
The BBC later issued an apology, stating that they would be apologising to Ms Lawrence directly.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘We’re very sorry for the distress caused to Mrs Lawrence and we will be apologising to her directly.
‘We have taken steps to ensure no further letters are sent to the address.’
In a public appeal last year, Joan said she is continuing to try and solve the mystery for herself and is reviewing what happened ‘with a fine-toothed comb’ for ‘simple things that have been missed’.
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