DETECTIVES have arrested a York man on suspicion of the murder of Claudia Lawrence.

Police are also conducting fresh searches in connection with the suspected murder of the University of York chef, who has now been missing for six years.

North Yorkshire Police said the man, aged in his fifties, was arrested yesterday morning, but said Claudia had not been found.

Searches are expected to continue throughout today and possibly into tomorrow, but police have urged the media and the public not to identify the man, or the area they are searching.

The latest arrest is the third under the investigation, which was reopened for a review by the force’s Major Crimes Unit, and led by Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn.

Peter Lawrence, Claudia’s father, said he was contacted late yesterday morning by North Yorkshire Police with the news of the latest arrest - the second arrest on suspicion of Claudia’s murder in less than a year.

He said: “We obviously welcome the development and at this stage can’t really say much more than that. It shows that us keeping it in the public eye, and all the recent police activity and new investigation is obviously worth it.

“It is encouraging to know that following all the media activity over the last three weeks from Claudia’s 41st birthday to the sixth anniversary of her being missing, North Yorkshire police continue to be active in seeking answers as to what has happened to Claudia.

It is to be hoped that the matter can be resolved as soon as possible and I encourage people to continue to come forward with information to the police by phoning them on 101.”

The Press understands searches were carried out inside and outside a York property, with fingertip searches in the garden and driveway, and a number of officers were present at the property throughout the day.

Last week marked the sixth anniversary of Claudia’s disappearance. She was last seen alive on CCTV walking to her Heworth Road home on March 18, 2009.

To mark the anniversary, North Yorkshire Police released new CCTV images from close to her home on the night she disappeared, and urged the public to come forward with any information which could assist the investigation.

Police said last week there had been “a good response” to the newlyreleased images, but today said they could not confirm whether or not this information was a factor in the arrest.

York Press:
Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, who is leading the investigation 

Det Supt Malyn urged the public and press not to speculate on the identity of the latest man to be arrested, in what he called a “critical phase in seeing the truth about Claudia’s disappearance”.

He said: “North Yorkshire Police strongly advises the media and members of the public against identifying the man who has been arrested. This includes naming or publishing images of the man on traditional media platforms or social networking sites.

I urge everyone to show restraint and patience while we carry out these very important inquiries.”

Last night, the man was still being questioned by police.