Three more held on suspicion of murdering York chef Claudia Lawrence

Claudia Lawrence,

Claudia Lawrence,

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Detectives investigating the disappearance of Claudia Lawrence have today arrested three men on suspicion of murder.

The suspects, who have not been named by North Yorkshire Police, are in their 50s and from the York area.

The force says searches are being conducted and “are expected to be ongoing over a number of days” but have declined to release further details.

The arrests announced today brings the total number of arrests to six since North Yorkshire Police launched a review of its original Claudia Lawrence investigation.

A 60-year-old man was arrested last year in connection with her disappearance and suspected murder but was later released without charge.

Another local man in his 50s was arrested last month on suspicion of murder, before being released on bail while enquiries continue.

A man arrested last year on suspicion of perverting the course of justice was released from his bail earlier this month.

The force said today the decision to release the 47-year-old from his bail conditions was made after consulting with prosecutors and “following information the man provided to us which has progressed the investigation and clarified certain issues”.

It is understood the three men arrested today have not previously been arrested as part of the Claudia investigation.

Miss Lawrence was reported missing by her father in March 2009 after concerns were raised when she failed to turn up for her 6am shift at work.

North Yorkshire Police began reviewing the case in 2013 and have since carried out a number of searches, including a detailed re-examination of Miss Lawrence’s home, in the Heworth area of the city, and a fingertip search of an alleyway that leads to the rear of the house.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said today: “The investigation team would like to stress that Claudia has not been found. Claudia’s family have been notified about the arrests and are being supported by trained officers.”

Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, head of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Crime Unit and the senior investigating officer in the Claudia Lawrence inquiry, said: “As with the previous arrest last month, I strongly advise the media and members of the public against identifying the men who have been arrested.

“This is to ensure the investigation and legal process are not compromised or potentially damaged in any way.

“This includes naming or publishing images of the men, their home addresses, places of work, their vehicles and properties being searched on traditional media platforms or social networking sites.

“I urge everyone to again show restraint and patience while we carry out these very important enquiries. Your co-operation and support is greatly appreciated by the investigation team.”

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1, and pass details to the Force Control Room.