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Father of missing chef dies without ever finding out what happened to her

The dad of missing chef Claudia Lawrence has died without finding out what happened to his daughter.

Peter Lawrence died aged 74 in St Leonard's Hospice, York, following a short illness, his family said in a statement.

His death comes almost 12 years after his daughter Claudia went missing. Police believe the 35-year-old from York was murdered but her body has never been found.

Mr Lawrence's family said in a statement: "It is sad that nearly 12 years after Claudia's disappearance from York, Peter never found out what happened to her.

"He was a very private person thrust into the full glare of the media, and despite a tireless campaign to find her he also selflessly devoted himself to helping others with missing relatives through the charity Missing People."

Mr Lawrence devoted the last years of his life to campaigning for Claudia's Law, which was passed in April 2017.

Officially known as the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Bill, it came into force in July 2019 and allows relatives to take control of their missing loved ones' financial affairs.

Families can apply to the High Court for guardianship of the affairs of a missing person after they have disappeared for 90 days or longer.

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It means they can make mortgage payments and handle bills on their behalf. Previously a missing person had to be declared dead in order for someone to manage their assets for them.

Mr Lawrence said at the time that it was an "absolutely marvellous feeling" to see the proposals clear a major hurdle in the law-making process.

Claudia went missing on March 18, 2009, after she failed to turn up for her 6am shift at the University of York.

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Police previously said they "strongly suspect key and vital information" which they hoped would offer a breakthrough in the case of Claudia's disappearance is being "withheld".

A total of nine people have been questioned in the investigation but no one has ever been charged.

Mr Lawrence, a retired solicitor, received an OBE for his tireless campaigning in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2018.

He described being "hugely disappointed and depressed" when officers said they were scaling back the investigation into Claudia's disappearance in January 2017.

Mr Lawrence's family added: "Despite Peter's death, the message remains the same – where is Claudia?

"Anyone with information should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101."

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