THE father of missing York chef Claudia Lawrence has welcomed the introduction of a new law that will allow someone to be declared “presumed dead”.

The new Presumption of Death Act will allow relatives to apply for a single certificate declaring a missing person presumed dead, helping them resolve their affairs.

Peter Lawrence, who with the charity Missing People, has spearheaded the campaign for better rights for families of those missing, said it would help families who have previously struggled to officially establish the death of a missing loved one.

He said: “For those many families, such as mine, who still have hope, I will continue to campaign for the right to deal with and preserve assets.”