The family of missing York chef Claudia Lawrence has called for links between a double murderer and her case to be thoroughly investigated.
Martin Dales, family friend and spokesman for Claudia’s father Peter Lawrence, spoke out after claims her disappearance fits Christopher Halliwell’s “pattern of behaviour”.
Former detective superintendent Steve Fulcher caught the 52-year-old following the abduction of Sian O’Callaghan from outside a nightclub in Swindon in March 2011.
The taxi driver also killed another woman, Becky Godden, and Mr Fulcher believes his links to the area where Miss Lawrence vanished should be investigated.
Mr Dales said: “I think the retired officer in question has a detailed knowledge of things. The overriding point is really whoever has done whatever to Claudia, it has been an incredibly long time. It’s a heartbreaking period to go without somebody and we hope this will come to some conclusion - whether this is it is for other people to find out. There are pluses and minuses of thinking: ‘Are we going to get some sort of conclusion or is this just another false dawn?’ It’s got to be thoroughly checked out.”
North Yorkshire Police said the investigation team would assess the information, but they were not aware of evidence linking Halliwell.
Miss Lawrence was last seen on March 18 2009 and police have said they believe the 35-year-old was murdered, although no body has ever been discovered.
Mr Fulcher told the Sunday Express: “Halliwell’s father lived a few streets away from where Claudia went missing.
“It fits his pattern of behaviour - abducting women walking alone either late at night or early in the morning.”
The detective, who is now a security consultant in Somalia, also linked Halliwell to other unsolved crimes, including the murder of Melanie Hall who disappeared in 1996 after leaving a nightclub in Bath.
Miss Godden’s mother Karen Edwards also said she believed her daughter’s killer could be linked to Miss Lawrence’s disappearance as well as that of Miss Hall.
She said her own inquiries into Halliwell’s background found that the date when Miss Lawrence went missing, exactly two years before he abducted Miss O’Callaghan, could be significant.
Mrs Edwards told the Mail on Sunday: “He used to be a groundworker up north - I know somebody who worked with him on the same building site.
“He would go and have a pint with the lads and then
Martin Dales, spokesman and friend of Claudia’s father Peter, said it was time for whoever was responsible for Claudia’s disappearance to come clean.
“It is nearly four million minutes since Claudia Lawrence was last in contact with her family and friends which has proved an ongoing nightmare
particularly for parents Joan and Peter and sister Ali as they wait for news of her whereabouts,“ he said.
“How can someone be so cruel and callous for all this length of time? Every minute without Claudia is too long.”