Claudia: New Evidence 5
by CHRIS CLARK & TIM HICKS
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 the 19th of March 2009 for a shift beginning at 6am, 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.
In these articles, the authors examine Halliwell’s links to 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 and two nearby murders in 1994 and 2001, which may be related and can be read here.
- Article 3 covered a bizarre encounter with Halliwell at the Kilburn White Horse on the North York Moors and can be read here.
- Article 4 covered a series of incidents involving Halliwell in Pickering and can be read here.
All four articles should be read before proceeding.
This article concerns new information that has come in on the attempted abduction of Victim 1 at Haxby Road, York in March 2009, a few weeks before the abduction of Claudia Lawrence.
Incident 1. Attempted abduction of Victim 1 from Haxby Road, York. New evidence.
Since our article covering Christopher Halliwell’s attempted abduction of Victim 1 at Haxby Road, in March 2009.
NYP eliminated Halliwell as a suspect in the Haxby Road abduction on the basis that he did not have a Rover 25 registered to him.
The NYE has come into possession of a Google Street view image of Ashbury Avenue, Swindon, where Halliwell lived. It shows a 2009 image of a red vehicle which isn’t a Rover 2.5 but looks similar, parked in the street. Victim 1 has seen this image and confirmed that it could be the vehicle Halliwell tried to abduct her in. However, the car Halliwell used to try and abduct her looked smaller and – understandably – she cannot be sure because it was dark and she was in a panic.
Halliwell changed cars regularly; he had about eighty cars registered to him over the course of his life. He had convictions for car theft and could have stolen a car. He could have borrowed a car from one of his taxi driver colleagues, or from a friend, or a neighbour. He could also have been using a car that belonged to a local taxi firm that was used for chauffeur jobs for corporate clients. It now turns out that a similar car to the one he used in the attempted abduction in Haxby Road was parked in his street.
The concern must be that Halliwell may have had access to this vehicle and may have used it in his attempted abduction of Victim 1.
Be that as it may, the authors concede that this car may be unrelated to Halliwell’s attempted abduction of Victim 1 at Haxby Rod in 2009. However, this shows that NYP’s decision to eliminate Halliwell as a suspect in the Haxby Road abduction on the basis that he did not have a Rover 25 registered to him was completely unsound. It is now quite clear that the NYP investigation into the attempted abduction in Haxby Road was superficial and inexcusably bungled.
Had NYP investigated this attack properly when it was reported, this could have led to the arrest of Halliwell. However, NYP preferred to dismiss him as a suspect on the basis that he did not have a red Rover 25 or similar car registered to him. This overlooks that he had other sources of cars easily available to him:
- Halliwell had served three years in prison for car theft and could have stolen a car to use in the abduction.
- Halliwell was working as a minicab driver. He could have borrowed a car from one of his workmates.
- The car could have belonged to a cab firm that he was doing a chauffeur job for.
- Halliwell had a chauffeur business until January 2010, when it went bankrupt. He may still have had access to cars registered to the business in March 2011.
- Halliwell could have borrowed a car from one of his friends or a neighbour, like the one we now know was parked in his street in 2009.
The case should be re-opened; Halliwell should be re-instated as a suspect and interviewed in prison.
The Pickering stalking incidents
Article 4 concerned a series of incidents involving Halliwell and Victim 3 in Pickering North Yorkshire and can be read here.
During the last of these incidents Halliwell was observed to be armed with a large combat knife.
Victim 3 has confirmed that this is an accurate representation of the knife Halliwell had at Pickering.
This was shortly before he stabbed Sian O’Callaghan to death in Swindon, in March 2011 and it appears to the authors probable that this is the knife he used to murder Sian.
Victim 3 has stated that she thinks that the knife looked new, so the authors are not alleging that this knife was in Halliwell’s possession in March 2009 when Claudia Lawrence disappeared.
Appeal by Joan Lawrence
Joan Lawrence chose the occasion of her 80th birthday to make a fresh appeal for information. It is covered in this excellent article by Peter Barron of York Press:
Both of the witnesses that have come forward have emphasised how sympathetic they feel towards Joan and that they have come forward to the NYE to try and ensure that NYP investigates the case properly.
NYE follows up with Operation Major
The NYE is one of the major media outlets in North Yorkshire, with readers all over Yorkshire and the UK.
Under normal circumstances, a properly led county Police force that was relentlessly pursuing a murder investigation would instantly follow up information received in a local media outlet’s newsroom.
However, Chief Constable Winward pursues a media policy of proscribing the NYE. This has been used to justify ignoring any information that the NYE coverage of the Claudia Lawrence case generates. She has been backed up in this policy by both Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner Metcalfe and by the North Yorkshire Police, Fire & Crime Panel (Councillors Carl Les, Chris Aldred, Lindsay Burr, Tim Grogan, Emilie Knight, Rich Maw, Heather Moorhouse, Danny Myers, Michael Pavlovic, Peter Wilkinson, and Mr Fraser Forsyth, Ms Mags Godderidge and Mr Martin Walker).
This policy conveniently allows NYP to ignore Halliwell as a suspect, thereby evading admitting that it has bungled the investigation and wrongfully arrested six innocent men.
This has now resulted in a bizarre situation where witnesses with information prefer to come forward to the NYE, rather than NYP, because they know the NYE will publish it and try to progress the case, while NYP will just ignore it.
Faced with a situation where NYP is refusing to follow up on lines of enquiry implicating Christopher Halliwell in Claudia’s murder, the NYE has given up on forwarding information to NYP in the normal way.
Tim has therefore forwarded the information on the vehicle sighting and the Bowie knife to Wiltshire Police, which is the lead force on Operation Major, which coordinates the investigation into other crimes Halliwell may have committed. This is in the hope that this will result in NYP being forced to take some action being taken on the new evidence.
The authors will continue to relentlessly investigate Claudia’s murder and will update our readership on the response it receives from Wiltshire Police in due course.
[Maps by FAD]
Coming next: “Claudia: New Evidence 6”. New information on the Sheffield murders.
Right of Reply
If you are mentioned in this article and do not agree with the views expressed in it, or if you wish to correct any factual inaccuracy, please let me know using the firstname.lastname@example.org email address and your views and a correction will be published if appropriate.
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. 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 email address: email@example.com if you think you can help