CLAUDIA Lawrence’s father would have been relieved to know that the police have not given on the search for his missing daughter, a family friend has said.

Martin Dales told The Press that Peter Lawrence had told him on a number of occasions that ‘’Whatever happens to me, I hope you can carry on looking for Claudia'.

Mr Dales said he welcomed the renewed police searches in gravel pits at Sand Hutton.

“And I know he (Peter Lawrence) would have, too,” Mr Dales said.

Mr Lawrence, 74, died in February this year without ever knowing what happened to Claudia.

The 35-year-old University of York chef was last seen more than 12 years ago in March 2009, close to her home in Heworth, York.

York Press:

Claudia Lawrence

Police believe she was murdered but no body has ever been found.

Mr Dales said the 12-and-a-half years of stress that Mr Lawrence and Claudia’s other family and friends had been through would have been ‘enough to break anybody’.

“You can give up. But he was determined not to,” Mr Dales said.

Mr Dales said he clung to the hope that something would come out of the latest police searches.

“I think the reality is that yes, we have all been in this situation before numerous times, and we have not really had any tangible answers,” he said.

“But there is this picture being built, various jigsaw pieces being collected. Hopefully something will come out of this, though we know that it may not necessarily be immediately.

“I certainly wish the police well in what they are doing. We must keep flying the flag.”

York Press:

Determined: Peter Lawrence, who died in February

North Yorkshire Police confirmed on September 2 that they had drained a fishing pond at Sand Hutton gravel pits as part of the renewed search for Claudia.

Officers marked off a 700-foot stretch of land near the gravel pits and dug up a single three foot deep hole, while about 40 officers searched the area with sticks and a team of underwater divers searched the lakes.

"Officers remain at the site and the searches that began last week are continuing," said a spokeswoman. "We expect to be at the site for a number of days."

York Press:

Police searching woodland at Sand Hutton gravel pits on August 27.

The force has refused to explain what sparked the search of the land but Detective Superintendent Wayne Fox has said he anticipated officers were likely to be at the location for a number of days.

He revealed that the searches were just one of several active lines of inquiry which were being investigated.