A mobile phone belonging to missing chef Claudia Lawrence was still active near her York home four hours after she did not turn up for work A m
A mobile phone belonging to missing chef Claudia Lawrence was still active near her York home four hours after she did not turn up for work
A mobile phone belonging to missing chef Claudia Lawrence was still active near her York home four hours after she did not turn up for work.
Ms Lawrence’s March 19 2009 disappearance led to a £1million murder inquiry and the latest disclosure is partly why police believe her killer was someone who knew her.
Sources connected to North Yorkshire Police’s investigation revealed Ms Lawrence’s Samsung D900 phone connected to a mast at nearby York University – where she worked – when her manager called her at 10am to find out where she was.
This was four hours after she had been due to start her 6am shift.
Ms Lawrence, 35, never turned up for her shift, and her body has never been found, meaning there is no crime scene evidence to examine, the Sunday Times reported.
A police source told the Sunday Times: ‘Her mobile phone never left the area of York. This is part of the reason why the police believe she fell victim to an attack by somebody that she knew who was familiar with the area.’
Sources connected to North Yorkshire Police’s investigation revealed Ms Lawrence’s Samsung D900 phone connected to a mast at nearby York University – where she worked – when her manager called her at 10am to find out where she was
The call from her concerned manager placed her handset in a nine-mile area from the university to Tockwith village, including her home in Heworth.
Two hours after the call, at 12.10pm, mobile phone records indicate that Ms Lawrence’s phone was switched off, though it is not known where it was at the time.
Friends said Ms Lawrence was never without her phone and her father, Peter, said the device was ‘always charged up. She used it a great deal for texting.’
The day before her disappearance, Ms Lawrence spoke to her mother, Joan, at around 8pm.
Police believed she was at home at the time of the call.
Her shift the next day was a 45-minute walk from her house.
Mobile phones work by transmitting a signal to the nearest cell site, which has three aerials encompassing a 120-degree arc, called a sector or azimuth.
Handsets can be placed within the arc of the vector, but not a specific location.
Records show that Ms Lawrence’s phone was switched off two hours after her manager had called her.
Experts say the records show her phone sent the network a record – known as an ‘explicit detachment’ – that it was being powered down before being switched off.
Former detective chief inspector Colin Sutton, who helped investigate the crimes of serial killer Levi Bellfield, said: ‘What may have happened is that the phone rings out at 10am and goes to voicemail simply because there is nobody there.
‘Then whoever it is, possibly the suspect, looks at the phone at 12.10pm, realises there is a missed call, realises the phone is still switched on and then switches it off.’
Father Peter Lawrence said he had been ‘in limbo’ since his daughter’s disappearance
However, Mr Sutton said that Ms Lawrence’s phone ringing did not necessarily mean she was anywhere near her phone.
But investigators would treat it as her location until it was ruled out, he added.
He said that rather than the phone being smashed or thrown in the river – which would send the network an implicit detachment record – her killer had the ‘calmness of mind’ to switch off the phone ‘in the normal way’ after seeing the missed call.
Mr Lawrence said he had been ‘in limbo’ for ten years since his daughter’s disappearance.
‘We still don’t know any more than we did. It’s the not knowing — that’s what eats into you every single day. If anybody knows anything, please, let the police know.’
Timeline of Claudia Lawrence’s disappearance
Wednesday, March 18
2.31pm – 2.36pm: Claudia leaves work and walks through the York University campus. CCTV catches her walking home and she appears to post a letter
7.27pm–9.12pm – Claudia uses her mobile to speak to her mother and father and exchange texts with friends
9.01pm – White Vauxhall Astra Van parked near Claudia’s home
Thursday, March 19
5.35am – A cyclist sees a left-handed man smoking with a woman on Melrosegate bridge
5.42am – Old-style light-coloured Ford Focus seen braking outside Claudia’s home
6.00am – Claudia does not arrive for work
6.10am – Man and woman seen arguing outside York University
6.45am–6.55am – Man seen outside Claudia’s house
10am – Claudia’s manager calls her
12.10pm – Claudia’s mobile is switched off
Friday, March 20
2.07pm – Claudia is reported missing by her father, Peter Lawrence