Sunday 23rd June 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

Claudia: New Evidence 3

Claudia: New Evidence 3

by CHRIS CLARK and TIM HICKS

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Introduction

Claudia Lawrence, aged thirty-five, was a chef at the University of York’s Goodricke College. She was due to walk three miles to work on Thursday 19th March 2009 for a shift beginning at 6:00am, but did not turn up for work. She was reported missing the next day and North Yorkshire Police (NYP) designated her disappearance as “no body” murder shortly afterwards.

For years, retired Norfolk Police Intelligence Officer Chris Clark has asserted that serial killer Christopher John Halliwell was a very strong suspect for Claudia’s murder. Her abduction and murder fitted with Halliwell’s modus operandi, Halliwell’s whereabouts at the time of her disappearance were unknown and there have been sightings of him in Yorkshire.

There is a wider issue beyond the murder of Claudia Lawrence, which is that Halliwell’s modus operandi fits a number of murders in Yorkshire.

In these articles, the authors examine Halliwell’s links to North and South Yorkshire and the attacks he may have committed there.

Article 1 covered an attempted abduction  in York in 2009 and can be read here.

Article 2 covered a sighting of Halliwell in Sheffield in 2010 by Victim 3 and two nearby murders in 1994 and 2001, which may be related and can be read here.

Both articles should be read before proceeding.

This article covers a bizarre encounter with Halliwell at the Kilburn White Horse on the North York Moors, one of a series of incidents in North Yorkshire involving Halliwell and Victim 3.

Victim 3 recounts this incident in her own words below:

Incident 3.2: Kilburn White Horse stalking

“On Monday the 14th of March 2011 at about 15:00 my partner and I travelled to Sutton Bank Visitors Centre where we parked in the car park and walked along the ridge towards the Kilburn White Horse sightseeing. It is not very visible from the top and I had not had much change for the parking, so we returned shortly.  

At about 16:00 we drove down to the bottom car park. It was frosty on the road down (Sutton Bank is very steep and not advisable in bad weather). On the road up to the car park was a path that crosses the road to a parking space for one car. On the left side of the road next to the path was a small pile of what I would only describe as wood shavings with something burning in the centre of it with small green flames that quickly extinguished.

Entering the bottom car park there was one car at the far end facing the view. The car was silver with a boot or hatchback (no lights on the boot). It was silver in colour and shone brightly even in the light available. It was a big car with a taxi sign.

I originally thought it was a Volvo but then I thought the emblem was more a V like a Mazda until saw what I thought was the same style car. It was unusual/rare I could describe the features of the car, beautiful lines on the bonnet, cream leather seats, cream carpet with matching mats. Burgundy walnut dash, oversize low profile, what I would call daisy wheel. It was a long time ago but I remember it was a beautiful pale colour silver with a pearl mica finish it sparkled. I’ve googled it over and over, can’t find out what it is. Looked like a wedding car. 

We parked to his right at right angles to his car bonnet inwards. I couldn’t open the door fully enough to get out. I needed the door wider than the ground would allow so we started to back up.  

The driver side door was open and he pushed what looked like a broom handle spade further in the car. He closed the door and proceeded to put 2 metallic suitcases with 4 small wheels on the bottom into the boot. The suitcases were gold or silver coloured I think they had lines that went from top to bottom and a handle which he pushed down.

My partner realised the guy in the car was now putting the 2 suitcases into the boot. My partner said to him he was just going to back up a sec so I could get out and he said ok. I glanced at the man. He was smartly dressed, slim, slightly balding, pale blue eyes, smoking roll ups with his left hand.

I got out of the car and stood out of the way while my partner drove the car back into the parking spot so the other driver could reverse out ok. He was just finishing his cigarette. We had a short conversation. I asked him if there were any local toilets, him being a taxi driver. He said that the ones in the village had closed last year and they were currently refurbishing the pub, he said he went there but it wasn’t open. He mentioned that the car wasn’t his, it belonged to his boss and could do both manual and automatic gear change. 

He asked where I worked and I told him. I also told him I was recovering from an injury and was getting some walking exercise in for my return to work. He asked if they were accommodating with the hours I said I was on reduced hours return to work 2 days, 2 hours each day to start with building back up to 28 hours, I had to work quickly as Easter was fast approaching our busiest weekend.  

He finished his ciggy and threw it onto the floor and said “You can park here if you want, I’m off now.” I got back in the car again and we swapped car parking spaces, backing into the space he had had. We both thought he was a bit shifty and strange that he was picking up suitcases with no people. It was getting a bit frosty and the light was going so we wanted to get off home.

At about 17:00 we got in the car and discussed the route, I got the map out, we went left instead of right at the bottom of the road avoiding Sutton Bank in the frost. As we drove down the road I noticed a car had backed into the cross path with side lights on, it looked like the silver car from earlier. My partner was a bit spooked by it and we noticed the car was following us. We sped down the country lanes at a fast speed, not even slowing for the village’s 30 signs.

After a little while we lost him and we pulled into the parking spot opposite Ampleforth Abbey, turned off the car lights and locked the doors. The silver car took the left hand fork in the road and we were on the right. We waited a little while, turned the car around and went up the left fork towards Helmsley. Further down the road we saw to our right backed into a parking spot was the silver car again. As we passed the car its lights came on and it followed us again. My partner put his foot down and we shot out right onto the road to Helmsley and out onto the A170 between two cars meaning the car behind had to wait at the junction. We returned home and I was a bit shaken by what had happened.”

This sighting raises some key questions:

  • Victim 3’s partner thought it was strange that Halliwell had these pieces of smart luggage, but no passengers. An explanation for this is that Halliwell often worked as a chauffeur for a Swindon taxi company and regularly drove passengers from major firms which had head offices in Swindon. He may have dropped his clients off for a meeting and was waiting for them to finish the meeting and then take them with their luggage to a hotel. A standard assignment for a Chauffeur. But why go to the Kilburn White Horse, instead of having a cup of coffee somewhere and a snooze in the car?
  • There was something burning by the roadside. Halliwell burned the seat covers of his car by the roadside some days after he murdered Sian O’Callaghan. He was forensically aware and meticulous about destroying forensic evidence. Was he burning evidence from an attack in another part of the country?
  • Halliwell liked areas of outstanding natural beauty like the Kilburn White Horse. He concealed Sian O’Callaghan’s body at the White Horse at Uffington. He visited the grave sites of both Sian and Becky Godden-Edwards to obtain perverse sexual gratification from the knowledge of what was concealed there. Is it possible he was visiting the White Horse at Kilburn for the same purpose? His remarks about the toilets demonstrate detailed knowledge of the area –which is an area of outstanding natural beauty- and that he had visited it recently.
  • When Victim 3 saw Halliwell at the Kilburn White Horse car park, he had had a spade in his car. Highly unusual for a taxi-driver. Why was this? Had he just finished burying something there? Is there a body or a trophy store near the car park at the Kilburn White Horse?

Coming next: “Claudia: New Evidence 4”


NYE Appeal for Information

Whenever the authors run an article on a cold case, the NYE always runs an appeal for information, to try to keep the case in the public eye and generate information. 

Christopher Halliwell had a slim athletic build and spoke with a slight Swindon accent. He is pictured in the lead illustration in 2011, two years after the murder of Claudia Lawrence. You can see and hear him in the video here.

Did he offer you a lift in his minicab?

Did you know of Christopher Halliwell’s father Alan Keith Halliwell who is believed to have lived in Huddersfield, York, Ampleforth and/or Oswaldkirk and who previously served in the RAF at Swindon and other locations?

Did you see Christopher Halliwell staying in a bed and breakfast or hotel along the A19, in Darlington, Middlesbrough, Scarborough, York or the North York Moors area?

Did you see Christopher Halliwell:

  • Fishing at Scarborough?
  • Fishing at Whitby?
  • Fishing at Scaling Dam?
  • Fishing at Sand Hutton Gravel Pits?
  • Fishing at York University Lake?
  • In York?
  • At Ampleforth?
  • At Oswaldkirk?
  • At the Kilburn White Horse?
  • At the Nag’s Head or the Acomb Hotel in York?
  • In Middlesbrough?
  • Fishing at Scaling Dam?
  • Fishing along the River Tees?
  • Fishing at Scarborough?
  • Fishing at Whitby?
  • Fishing or narrow-boating in Sheffield?
  • On the North York Moors?
  • In Darlington?
  • At Llangollen, North Wales?

Any information would considerably assist our knowledge of Halliwell’s movements. So please contact the NYE in complete confidence using our e mail address: news@nyenquirer.uk if you think you can help.

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