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Father of Claudia Lawrence to attend Commons debate on missing persons
THE father of missing York chef Claudia Lawrence will tomorrow ask parliament for radical reforms to legislation to make it easier for those dealing with a missing person’s estate.
Peter Lawrence, whose daughter Claudia disappeared in March 2009, wants new guardianship laws to be introduced to give families power of attorney to deal with the affairs of missing relatives.
He will be present in the House of Commons for the second reading of the Presumption of Death Bill.
The Bill wants to introduce a certificate of presumed death, to cut the red tape families currently face when a loved one goes missing.
But Mr Lawrence believes the legislation does not go far enough according to his friend and spokesperson Martin Dales, who says he is disappointed that there is currently no provision for guardianship in the Bill and hopes that this will be reconsidered in committee. Mr Dales said: “Peter, along with many MPs and Peers, believes guardianship arrangements would assist thousands of families with missing people each year and is a vital ingredient in this packet of legislation.”
Other long-term missing people include Lisette Dugmore, who was last seen in York city centre in July 2008. Police now believe she may have entered the River Ouse on the night of her disappearance. Russell Bohling, a student at Bishop Burton College, was last seen by his family on Tuesday, March 2, 2010, when he was aged 18. His blue Renault Clio was later discovered abandoned at the car park at Bempton Cliffs, near Bridlington. The circumstances surrounding Russell’s disappearance has never been solved and his body has not been found.
Experienced walker Gordon Simm disappeared in July while hiking in Spain and has never been found.
Mr Lawrence is launching Yorkshire’s first Missing People carol service this winter. As a patron for the Missing People charity, he is organising the service for those who cannot attend the national charity’s annual service in London.
The service, which follows The Press’s Absent Friends carol service in 2009, will take place on Monday, December 10, at St Chad’s Church, opposite York Racecourse, from 2.30pm.
Mr Lawrence said invitations would be sent to families with missing loved ones – but encouraged anyone who wanted to to attend.