Claudia murder suspect released on bail

CLAUDIA LAWRENCE ... the man arrested on suspicion of her murder has been released on bail.
CLAUDIA LAWRENCE ... the man arrested on suspicion of her murder has been released on bail.

A MAN arrested on suspicion of murdering missing university chef Claudia Lawrence has been released on police bail.

Police said the 59-year-old, named locally as Michael Snelling, was released from custody last night following his arrest on Tuesday on suspicion of killing Miss Lawrence, who went missing in York in March 2009.

Two houses - in North Shields and York - are being examined by police and forensic officers as part of the investigation.

In a statement, investigators said: “North Yorkshire Police have released a 59-year-old man on conditional bail following his arrest yesterday on suspicion of murdering Claudia Lawrence.

“Forensic searches at relevant properties are expected to continue for a number of days.

“Every effort will be made to minimise disruption to local residents and the public affected by this work.

“North Yorkshire Police would like to thank those people for their patience and understanding.

“As investigations continue with the possibility of further arrests to be made, all sections of the community and the media are reminded and encouraged to respect the rights of others, including those connected to the case.

“It is also important that the investigation team have every opportunity to follow due legal process.”

Martin Dales, a friend and spokesman for Claudia’s father Peter Lawrence, stressed the public could still have vital information which could help the inquiry.

He said: “The media coverage is an opportunity for people to be reminded of the essential need for information to keep flowing in.

“People might well have had their memories stirred by this. There must be a lot of people out there who ought to be speaking with the police.

“We need to get people to engage with the police.”

Mr Lawrence has suffered “quite a shock” since he was told of the first arrest in the search for his daughter, Mr Dales said.

There had been others in the five years since she disappeared, including the discovery of a body in 2009 which turned out not to be Miss Lawrence.