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'Significant' lead in hunt for chef

Detectives investigating the disappearance of chef Claudia Lawrence are pursuing a new lead which could be "significant".

Miss Lawrence vanished on March 18 2009 when she failed to arrive for her 6am shift at the University of York.

The case is being treated as suspected murder, and is one of the biggest investigations carried out by North Yorkshire Police.

Detective Superintendent Ray Galloway, who is leading the investigation, said: "Detectives are currently developing information which came into the investigation following recent media coverage about the case.

"The inquiry team are currently working to determine the significance of the new information and to put it into context with what we already know.

"It has the potential to be a significant line of inquiry. However, it requires more detailed work to clarify its significance. An appeal for assistance will only be made if and when it is appropriate to the investigation."

Miss Lawrence, who was 35 when she disappeared, went missing from her Heworth home in York. She failed to appear for a shift at the University of York the following morning and the police were informed.

Many appeals for information have been made by her family and the hunt for her has taken detectives to Cyprus.

Family spokesman Martin Dales said the news had "come out of the blue".

He said: "We knew nothing about Ray Galloway's announcement. Peter (Claudia's father) was surprised that he hadn't been informed this was going to be said. Any new lead is encouraging and let's hope it leads towards some form of closure. We have been here before with false dawns."

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