Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Who killed Jackie Ansell Lamb and Barbara Mayo?

It was a Sunday. March the 8th 1970, London. 
The time was approximately 2:30 in the afternoon.
A teenage girl stood at the side of the road with her thumb out, attempting to hitch a ride back home to Manchester. 
She had recently moved from London to Manchester and had traveled back to the capital city with her flat mate to retrieve the rest of her belongings. While there, the girls attended a party where the teenager met a man in his early twenties. The pair spent the weekend together before he dropped her off at Hendon so she could thumb a ride back to Manchester.


The girls name was Jackie (often spelled Jacci) Ansell Lamb; she was just 18 years old and worked as a legal secretary in  Manchester. 
She was seen by various witnesses at the beginning of the M1, attempting to get a lift Northbound. 
(Unlike today, hitchhiking was a common practice back in the seventies.)


The journey from London to Manchester spanned 200miles and would have taken around 4 hours to complete. She managed to get picked up, a great stroke of fortune she probably thought at the time- unfortunately for Jacci, her journey would end just half an hour from her desired destination.
 
Less than a week later, On Saturday the 14th of March, a farmer near Mere, in Knutsford, near the M6; found the body of young woman in a thicket on a rural country road near Mobberley.


This archived page from “the Cheshire magazine” gives a more specific location: “Square Wood, Mere, near Knutsford” which looks like this on Google maps:


The girl had been strangled to death (ligature) and was in a state of undress. 
She had been raped.
After a call for information one man came forward as an eye witness. He claimed that he saw Jacci climb into a vehicle around 4-5 in the evening at the Keele service motorway station (Three Mile Lane, Keele, Newcastle-Under-Lyme ST5 5HG, UK). 


He described her as being clad in a long navy coat and shiny maroon shoes. She was also wearing a blonde wig and false lashes.

From what I can find online, this could make sense.
She left London around 2:30pm and was seen between 4 - 5pm in Keele, which is about a 3 hour drive (169 miles) meaning the witness could have seen her around the time he claimed.
From there it would only be an hours’ drive from the Keele service station to the site that Lamb’s body was found.


I’m not sure if she was getting into the same car she’d hitchhiked in from London to Keele or if she was getting into a second ride from Keele to Manchester and never made it.

The only description of the car at Keele is that it was a saloon. This information was found HERE<<

I wanted to know more about Jacci (Or Jackie as her name is often spelled in various reports) and eventually found a book on the Yorkshire ripper containing some extra information. HERE <<

Now According to this book, Jacci was found face down with a wound to the back of her skull. The Navy blue jacket the witness had described seeing is said to be purple, but exactly the same style, which makes me think the eyewitness who saw Lamb at the Keele station is believable.

The jacket had been ripped from her body and was torn at the buttons indicating a struggle. Apparently the killer had used the coat to hide her from view and her skirt was placed next to her.

In this book, the ligature is thought to have been a length of knotted rope or some kind of wire, as indicated by the bruising around her neck. Other articles do state it was electrical wire.

Apparently her body had been posed. This is a detail I have not seen anywhere else.
This book suggests that Peter Sutcliff, also known as “the Yorkshire ripper”, could very well be responsible for the murder of Lamb. However surely they have his DNA and could have matched it with the DNA from the girl’s body. I’m presuming there was some?


Now there is an eerily similar case that is always mentioned in the same breath as the unsolved murder of Jacci Ansell Lamb, and that is “the unsolved murder of Barbara Mayo”.


Now Mayo was a 24 year old trainee teacher who was hitchhiking from Hendon, at the start of the A1 going Northbound to Catterick, North Yorkshire - the same starting point as Jacci Ansell Lamb. It was also the same year- Monday the 12th of October, 1970.
Apparently she set off to Catterick with the intention of hitchhiking there to pick up her boyfriend’s car at a garage they’d left it at, as it had broken down on a journey back from County Durham the previous day. She was carrying a unique looking bag with her which was decorated with an elephant design.

Unfortunately she never turned up to the garage and also failed to return home to shepherds bush, London. She was quickly reported missing.

Her body was found near Hodmire lane, Glapwell, Aul Hucknall in Derbyshire, much in the same state as Jacci Ansell Lamb’s. Most online articles simply state that she was raped and strangled, but the book Yorkshire Ripper - The Secret Murders: The True Story of How Peter Sutcliffe's Terrible Reign of Terror Claimed at Least Twenty-Two More Lives She too had a wound to the back of the skull, had been raped and strangled to death with a ligature.


Police set up stops to question people along the motorway and appealed publicly for information. One eyewitness claimed that they saw a young woman who looked like Mayo climbing into a Morris 1000 estate Traveller van (quite a memorable car imo) at 4 in the afternoon. They apparently saw (who they believed to be) Mayo getting into the car along the A610 in Nottinghamshire.


-So both women began their journeys Northbound at the start of the A1.
-Both were raped and strangled.
-Both had injuries to the back of the head (apparently).
-Both were possibly seen by witnesses around the same time frame.
-They were murdered within seven months of each other.

Although I’m aware of Peter Sutcliffe, I’ve never looked into his crimes in depth, but this excerpt from an article about Sutcliffe’s potentially much higher body count piqued my interest.

His MO included prior conversation with his victims, the use of hammer (usually with a round head or ‘ball-peen’) from behind, repeated stabbing after death with a knife or screwdriver, partially stripping and moving his victim’s body and posing them in a ‘staged’ crime scene. He sometimes used a knotted roped to strangle victims, and semen was sometimes left at the scene.

Hitting the victim on the back of the head, posing the bodies, rape, and strangulation with a ligature? Sounds all too familiar as an MO. I think we’ll have to look into this in more detail in a whole other post on Sutcliffe in the near future.

Now this next part of the story confused me.

Numerous reports state there was DNA found on both victims from the same man that linked both cases to the same unidentified perpetrator. But when searching about this it seems as though this was a case of misreporting on the media’s part.

Apparently there was never any confirmation about the DNA found on both bodies belonging to the same person. I found a request for information regarding this detail online, however it was rejected by the Cheshire Constabulary and the original asker was referred to a previous question that was similar in nature.



The entire exchange can be viewed HERE<<

Check back for part 2 very soon.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Who murdered Ann Ballantine?



Beautiful, dark haired, 20 year old Ann Ballantine was unemployed, but used her free time to contribute to the local community, helping handicapped children and volunteering at a youth charity for disadvantaged local kids. She was a warm hearted and charitable young woman, who wanted to benefit the lives of those in need. According to this article Ann loved children and aspired to have kids of her own one day.


Ann’s mother, Isobel, was only 18 years old when she gave birth to Ann, but describes her first child fondly, commenting on how happy the child was.

Ann was single and was living independently in her own flat on Dalry road. She would visit the family home on a weekly basis, usually with armfuls of laundry. She’d use the washing facilities and sit down and chat with her family before leaving with food and snacks to take back to her flat.
Ann and her boyfriend, a man named Joe Burden, had recently separated on amicable terms, and she had no known enemies in the area. In fact, Anne was a popular young woman who loved heavy metal and would watch bands at the local venues and hang out with bikers around Edinburgh. She was very sociable and was always meeting up with friends in the city.

This is why, when she failed to show up to a pre-planned get-together with a friend just a few days after the 20 year old visited her parents’ home on the 18th of November 1986, her parents were contacted.
The friend alerted them and explained how Ann had failed to show up to the meeting they had arranged, and expressed worry. Her parents called in at their daughter’s apartment but she neglected to answer. They left a note and went home, returning several times to check again and post notes and money through the letter box, encouraging Ann to get in contact.

Ann never did contact them.

When she neglected to show up to the family home for the Christmas holidays as they had arranged they reported her missing on the 26th.

Ann’s friends were interviewed; her flat was searched by police who determined there was no sign of a struggle. There were various items missing from the residence, however, including a sleeveless black leather jacket, a brass lighter with her initials engraved into it, her black shoulder bag, a photo album, a camera and keys. To me these all seem like items you’d take for a day out somewhere, but the photo album throws me off. I feel as though a photo album is something you’d take to a meet up with a friend. I mean it doesn’t say anywhere (as far as I can see) what the content of the album was (for example was it childhood photographs, school pictures, pictures from concerts, pictures of friends?) but maybe she was talking it to show someone she hadn’t seen in a while (For example an old school friend maybe) and wanted to take a stroll down memory lane with the aid of the photo album?


Tragically, Ann Ballantine’s bound and naked body was discovered wrapped in a carpet, floating in the icy water of Union Canal on the 21st of January in 1987. Her hands and feet were bound and she appeared to have been strangled by a ligature and photographs were discovered splayed out nearby.
Due to the state of decomposition, it was estimated that she had been dead for a few weeks and probably kept somewhere else before being callously dumped into the canal. Her body was so badly decayed that police advised the family not to view it. She was finally identified by dental records and a scar. Family friends viewed the body for confirmation to spare Ann’s parents of the pain. Although they were not allowed to see their child one last time they were given a lock of her hair, a memento that they treasure till this day. (source)


Her apartment was only 90 meters away from where her body was discovered.
Apparently Ann kept a diary, which her parents read in search of clues. 

One entry read: “There’s somebody knocking at my door, I think I recognize the knock, I think it could be XXX”

In reports her parents insist that they know who their daughter’s killer is, and that they even have a photograph of the two together at a family event. Apparently they aren’t allowed to expose the suspect due to insufficient evidence, but they are adamant that they know who killed their first born.
“He looks pure evil” Isobel commented.

Although advances in DNA have contributed significantly to solving decades old cold cases, the state of decay and the wet conditions Ballantine’s body was found in could render new technologies irrelevant in this case. Investigators may have to turn to other methods to find the killer.

Ann Ballantine never got the chance to marry and have her own children as she dreamed. She never got to go to the Alice Cooper concert she had bought tickets for weeks in advance. The case remains officially unsolved and her killer still walks the streets freely.

 If you have any information please do not hesitate to contact the authorities

Monday, 11 December 2017

Tampa serial killer caught, Takahiro Shiraishi, Jemma Lilley and the "play zone", Kim Wall? The Italian Josef Fritzl

Hey everyone, hows it going? 
Just stopping by to share some updates on cases as well as this months blogs that I wrote for the Generation why podcast this month.

JAMES BOYD CASE FINALLY SOLVED 
So first of all, remember the unsolved case of James Albert Boyd? He was the eccentric antiques collector who went missing from his fortress of a home back in the  late eighties. 
He was last seen at a bank withdrawing $1500 in travelers checks for his upcoming business trip to South Africa. He and his car completely vanished off the face of the earth and for years the case was unsolved. 
Recently there has been an update and his killer has confessed.  Read the case and update HERE <<

TAMPA SERIAL KILLER CAUGHT
Now for a very important update on the Tampa serial killer- he's finally been caught. 
If you haven't been following this case in the news you might want to check out the first three posts on it first: 


"@HANGINGPRO"
Do you ever feel lonely or sad and turn to online friends to be consoled? Hopefully you don't run into someone like Takahiro Shiraishi, or "hanging pro" as he was known online.
Shiraishi was a 27 year old man from Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. He claimed to be a professional in the art of suicide by hanging and offered his expertise to vulnerable suicidal people online. In reality, he had his own reasons to lure victims to his apartment. (READ THE CASE HERE<<)

PLAY ZONE
Next up we have the case of 26 year old British murderer Jemma Lilley. 
Lilley was writing a book about a serial killer called "play zone"- a work that she had been penning since her teenage years. The main character was named "SOS" or "Son of Sam" after one of her favorite killers David Berkowitz. "Play zone" would eventually become a reality. (READ THIS CASE HERE<<)

THE DEATH OF KILL WALL
I'm sure you've all seen this one in the news. 
Journalist Kim Wall died while taking a tour in a mini submarine belonging to an inventor and engineer in his mid-forties named Peter Langkjær Madsen. Parts of her dismembered body later washed up on shore... What happened that night on the submarine?

THE ITALIAN JOSEF FRITZL 
Warning- this post is very disturbing and contains mentions of torture, rape and abuse. 
I wrote about this very recent case today. It's about a woman who was held captive for 10 years and the ordeal she suffered through. (READ HERE<<)

Something else I wanted to share is the attention the Emma Fillipoff case is receiving from various podcasts recently.

If you're not familiar with it my original post is HERE<<

There is also a whole series from "The night time podcast" dedicated to the case.
All the episodes are HERE <<

Monday, 20 November 2017

What really happened to Lars Mittank?




Lars Mittank was 28 years old when he went missing from Varna Airport in Bulgaria in the summer of 2014.

He was  a worker at the Wilhelmshaven Power Station in a small coastal town in lower Saxony, in northwest Germany and was on vacation when in a seemingly paranoid state, he disappeared without a trace.


Mittank was on vacation with four friends at Golden sands, a sea side resort on the coast of the black sea in Bulgaria, a popular and relatively low cost holiday destination for those in nearby European countries who want to take a break and soak up the sun.  They arrived at their destination on the 30th of June 2014, after a 2 hour plane ride, and checked into their hotel (Hotel "Viva Club"), which was all inclusive, with food and drinks provided.   The place is described as a sort of party resort popular amongst Germans- think Ibiza.


On July 6th the trip was disturbed by an altercation between the group of German tourists and a group of locals when they had a dispute over football at a local bar named “the rock bar”.
Although there was no violence inside the bar at the time Lars went missing later that night when he was waiting for his friends to purchase food from a nearby McDonald’s fast food restaurant on the way back to the hotel. 
They looked for him to no avail, and eventually decided to go back to the hotel expecting him to be there. Unfortunately he was not, but he returned the next morning claiming to have been accosted by a group of men that he believed were sent for him by the group they had an altercation with earlier in the night. He claimed that the group had hired a bunch ofeither locals or Russians to rough him up.
Apparently his friends weren’t convinced by the story, but let it go.
He had walked away from the beating with a ruptured ear drum and injured jaw.  

Where exactly was Lars Mittank between waiting outside of McDonalds for his friends to order and returning to the hotel in the morning?
Was he unconscious? If so for how long?

Now I’ve read conflicting reports on the severity of the ear injury. Some reports say that he was actually good to fly, but didn’t want to.
Other reports state that the ruptured ear drum was an injury that wouldn’t allow him to fly back to Germany on schedule with his friends.
Although they wanted to stay with him until he was fit to fly, Lars Mittank insisted that he was fine and would find a hotel to stay at until he was well enough to return home.


On July 7th his friends left the hotel in one taxi, and he left in another in search of medical attention. After refusing surgery (he did not want to get surgery outside of Germany), which the local doctor insisted Mittank needed, he was instead prescribed 500mg of  Cefuroxime / “cefzil”- a type of cephalosporin  antibiotic sold under the name of “Ceftin / Zinacef” by Glaxo smith Kline in the UK, commonly used to treat bacterial infections.

The antibiotics were prescribed by a Dr. Boris Najdenow and Mittank obtained the medication from a local pharmacy. He walked around the local area looking for a new place to stay and eventually decided on a place named “The hotel color” in Varna, which costs around $25 a night and is reviewed as average on trip advisor.  One user comments that the hotel is just a 15 minute walk from the bus stop, and another describes it as a “friendly, family run hotel”. Some complained of outdated interior and stained sheets.

The following day Lars started acting strangely.

At 10 minutes to mid-midnight Lars called his mother using his cell phone and told her that he felt scared. He asked her if she would contact his bank and freeze his credit card. He also called her again at 3am and told her in a low whisper that he was hiding from a group of men who had been following him.

Lars had left thehotel with his things in the middle of the night, staff said.
He texted his mother asking her what “CFC 500” was. CFC500 is the abbreviation for the anti-biotics he had been prescribed earlier for his ruptured eardrum. He would have most likely been prescribed this to prevent an ear infection.

At 6am Lars was dropped off at the airport in a taxi. He had apparently shared the cab with another passenger after waving it down in the street. They supposedly described him as having Mydriasis. Although most peoples first though when they hear someone has “large” or “dilated” pupils is drug use (such as amphetamines) mydriasis can also be caused by trauma, including head injuries although the trauma usually has to be quite severe.

I was wondering, what type of surgery did Dr. Boris Najdenow suggest that Mittank needed? There are surgeries with low risk to repair ruptured ear drums, but it can also heal on its own given time (usually a month or so). Surgery would have allowed Mittank to leave the hospital within a couple of days and be on his way, so maybe it was offered so he could get back to Germany more quickly?

Once at the airport he called his mother who booked him a flight home and advised himn to drop in on the airport doctor before boarding. He still believed that the group of men (four individuals) were chasing him and would refuse to let him leave Bulgaria by bus or plane.

Who were these 4 men? Did they actually exist?
Did Lars possibly attempt to get back to Germany by another method of transport? It’s possible to drive from Bulgaria to Germany. It would take you a full day but maybe Lars thought he could hitchhike back home if he was afraid of being found by these 4 mystery men on the scheduled buses and trains.

Lars managed to locate the airport doctor who examined him and would later describe him as being emotionally depleted.
 The examination was momentarily disturbed by an airport employee who wanted to chat to the doctor about doing some work on her office. 


This set Lars off and he jumped up, fleeing the airport. Eventually he found his way out and witness’ say he managed to climb over a fence and jump into a field  on the other side. The barbed wire wrapped around the top of fence did little to prevent his escape. (This is not shown on the CCTV footage, however)



No one would ever see Lars Mittank again.
A truck driver claimed to have given him a ride around April 2015, but this sighting was never officially confirmed. 

If you have any information regarding Lars, please do not hesitate to contact the numbers below. 

Charles Manson dead

If you haven't heard already, infamous cult leader Charles Manson died today of natural causes at 83 years old.
I was going to write a post but there are so many reports out there already and I'm sure most you know who he is. 


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Amy Caroline brown, Killer clown Florida, Russian cannibal couple, is there a serial killer in Tampa?

Hey everyone! These are last months posts I wrote over at the Generation Why podcast blog. All recent cases, including a couple of old cold cases that have finally been solved! I love a good solved case.


Amy Caroline Brown
Amy Brown responded to an advert she found posted on craigslist- "“Good Evening! Let’s go zombie hunting!” it said.
The young man who posted the advert did so in reaction to his therapist telling him to be "get out there" and try to be more social.
The pair went briefly to a bar and since things were going well decided to go to a hotel...
(Continue reading HERE)



Killer clown shoots woman on her doorstep
Remember this unsolved case from 1990?
Well it's recently been put to rest.
A woman was eating breakfast with her son when she heard a knock on the door.
She answered it to see a clown with an orange wig and painted face holding a balloon and a bunch of flowers in one hand, and a gun in the other....
(Read this story by clicking HERE)

Russian Cannibal couple
(Warning for images) 
Road workers in Russia find a cell phone on the ground. when they look through the photos they see a series of disturbing images of a cannibal with a human hand in his mouth.
Investigation leads the police to the home of a cannibal couple. (Continue)

Three murdered in Tampa, Florida, police fear possible serial killer
Benjamin Mitchell (left), Monica Hoffa and Anthony Naiboa are all shot along the same bus route. Their killer has not been caught and the only suspect is an individual walking alone at night caught on CCTV footage.  Is there an active serial killer in Tampa? (Continue)

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Creepy compilation

It's getting closer to all Hallows Eve. 
I put together a short video for you to enjoy when you're in bed tonight looking at your phone, with the lights out and your feet hanging outside of the blanket. 


Thursday, 26 October 2017

Creepiest Reddit posts


Thought you guys might be interested in this link to a "Collection of Scary/spooky/creepy Askreddit threads."

Paranormal / unnerving Halloween warm up post

Hey everyone! I've made a quick roundup of some previous creepy / paranormal / unnerving posts that might inspire some Halloween spirit. My mega post is on its way. Enjoy for now. 




In Odessa, Ukraine, there are networks of underground tunnels, formed as a result of coal mining, that reach 60 feet below sea level, making it an unimaginably massive underground maze. Needless to say, the tunnels attract the type of tourists who like to dabble in danger, and since it’s common knowledge that the Odessa tunnels have not been completely mapped out, and that the foundations itself is unstable, the Ukrainian catacombs are on the to-do lists of extreme tourists everywhere...sometimes those excursions go wrong (READ HERE)


12 year old Eleonore Zugun was delighted when she discovered coins in the street near her home in Bukovina. She picked them up and purchased some candy at the local store, eating it on her way home. When she cheerfully told her grandmother about her good fortune, an atmosphere fell over the room. The old woman grimaced and scolded the child, “Those were the devils coins” she said “Now the devil is in you”. It was at that moment that little Elanore’s life changed forever. (READ HERE



This is a list of GIFs made from videos of allegedly real supernatural sightings and clips of paranormal TV shows. Some look convincing, some are entertaining. 
Links to the original videos are included in the post.




The elevator game is a game from South Korea (Japan too, so I read) that involves getting into an elevator and pushing the buttons in a particular order. If you successfully complete the steps in the correct order when you exit the lift you'll find yourself alone in another dimension or world. (PLAY HERE)

This post is a collection of what I consider to be some of the most unnerving audio clips online with back stories.
This post will forever be a work in progress that I plan to keep adding to whenever new appropriate clips.


This was the first horror movie marathon I posted last year.
I will be doing an updated version of the list this week, including a post of recommended short horror movies for you to enjoy. 
This post includes both indie and mainstream horror films from the US, Japan and South Korea. 



I've skipped "horror movie marathon 2" on this post because my 2nd list concentrated on Christmas themed horror films (if you're interested in that click here
This list however is once again a suggestion of horror movies old and new which you'll hopefully enjoy.




This is a personal post that documents my sleep paralysis experiences over the years. 

I've tried to remember every episode I've ever had since childhood. 
I also explore the possible reasons for it and describe in the detail the types of characters I've encountered during episodes. (READ HERE)

Monday, 9 October 2017

What really happened to Claudia Lawrence?

9th November 2017: I x-posted this case to Reddit /unresolvedmysteries for discussion. You can read people comments HERE it's pretty interesting. 


Hello everyone. I'm back with yet another unsolved case.
I've badly sprained my right ankle so I'm stuck on bed rest, which means I have some free time to regularly post again.
Also, it's October, so we might have to do several creepy posts in the run up to Halloween!
If you want me to write about anything in particular, just drop a comment. If you want to receive email alerts when I make a new post just submit your email address in the box on the right (desktop view) 


It’s been over eight years since anyone has seen Claudia Lawrence.

(Claudia. Source)

Lawrence was 35 years old and working as a chef at Goodricke College in the University of York at the time she went missing. She disappeared from the small town of Heworth in York, England, on the 18th of March 2009.

The last contact she had with her family was via two phone calls with her mother on the evening of March 18th. The conversation revolved around what they would do together to celebrate the coming mother’s day. 

In a documentary about the case, “Donald McIntyre’s unsolved”, Claudia’s mother talks in detail about the last phone call. Apparently Claudia was in her bedroom, it was between 8pm – 8.30pm and the two of them were watching the same TV show. She states that she could hear the show in the background of the call.
The following day, however, Claudia neglected to show up for work.

A missing persons report was filed by her father on the 20th of March and an investigation was underway.
When investigators entered her house they discovered her bank cards and passport were left behind, indicating that if she had disappeared of her own accord, it would have been difficult to get very far or survive for an extended time without cash or the documents to do so.
There was no sign of a disturbance or struggle and nothing of value had been taken. In fact, Lawrence’s bed had been made and there were unwashed dishes in the sink that suggested she had eaten breakfast that morning. It was also evident that she had brushed her teeth.
Her work bag, which was a rucksack containing her uniform for work, was missing.

(The brand of bag she used. Source)

 Her hair irons were also missing- could she have usually taken these to work generally as its hot working in a kitchen and flat ironed hair tends to lose its straightness in humid atmospheres.
Could the absence of her work gear suggest that she had left for work and met foul play on her early morning walk there?

Police found a home hair dye kit in the house and at first entertained the idea that Claudia had dyed someone’s hair, as she was a known to be a blonde. However Claudia’s mother informed them that her daughter had recently became a brunette and the hair dye kit was most likely hers. The brand and colour was “Clairol herbal essences fearless” in the colour “62” which is a good match for the last hair colour Lawrence was seen sporting. Dying over blonde hair with a brown box dye will often result in fading so it’s not suspicious (to me at least) that she would have to dye it again in order to make the pigment hold. 


Strangely, from this image, it seems as though she also bleached her hair. Maybe she had naturally darker roots and wanted to lift them? Maybe she was doing some late 2000’s highlights? Who knows?

Hair colour became an issue in the case when misleading missing posters went to print. Claudia’s mother claims that she did not provide the photograph for the poster, which was an older picture portraying the missing woman as a blonde. She fears this may have negatively impacted the search.
Apparently Claudia she left for work around 5am. She started at 6am, and would usually drive there, which would take around 6 minutes. However on the day she went missing, her Vauxhall Corsa was in a local garage, so she went by foot, which would take about half an hour via “Melrosegate”.


It was probably quite dark that early in the morning in March and there is one strip of shady area she had to pass by, which includes a small bridge and a road. As you can see on the map it’s around “Hull road”.


This is a picture of it from around 10 years ago that I found here<<
The website even pins down the exact location for us: “Ton the edge of SE6151, where Melrosegate crosses the Sustrans route 66


Someone who knew her would most likely know her plans so it would be easy to lay in wait. Could she have been abducted or met foul play at the hands of a passing opportunistic criminal? Could they have seen her walking alone in an isolated area at such an early hour and taken advantage of the situation?

The CCTV around Lawrence’s home was checked for any suspicious looking individuals on the night or morning of the woman’s disappearance. Around 7:15pm that night a surveillance camera captured footage of a man clad in dark clothes entering the alley way behind Claudia’s house. He disappears out of frame for around 1 minute and re-emerges with what looks like a rucksack or another type of bag over his shoulder. Suddenly another man passes by. The man with the bag stops in his tracks and is seen looking in the direction of the passer-by.

(Side note: I feel as though the “bag” was there when he walked into the alley, only it was over his right shoulder and so was obscured by his body. When he walks out again his right side is facing the camera so it’s easy to see. I also feel like maybe it’s not a bag at all, perhaps what we’re seeing is his elbows and he has his hands in his pockets so his elbows are protruding out of his silhouette.
Also if he had no bag, then 1 minute and 8 seconds later he suddenly does, maybe it was dropped in the alley for him to pick up which makes me think it would contain something illegal, most likely drugs and that’s why he gets sketched out when the older guy walks past, paranoid that he might be a cop or whatever. Could Claudia Lawrence have been involved in something drug related that got her mixed up with the wrong people?
Maybe the man in dark clothes was innocently relieving himself and has nothing to do with the case?
Do you agree or disagree? Let me know your opinion in the comments)

(Source: York police)

Then, around 5am Thursday morning we see a man clad in dark clothes again. He repeats the same action and walks into the alleyway only to re-emerge a minute or so later.
Although the men on the separate clips have never officially been confirmed to be the same individual, I personally believe that they are. They look similar in build and height and repeat the same action. What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Investigators later checked her phone records and found out that the final text message sent to her phone was from a male acquaintance on the small Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where Lawrence had holidayed several times and knew local bar and restaurant owners well. The text went unanswered and the content of the message was never revealed.

This lead was later followed up, when despite large rewards and media coverage, no tipsters or witnesses came forward. The police branched out their search to the holiday destination and interviewed the several individuals connected to Lawrence who denied any part in her disappearance. One man stated since he considered her a good friend, he would do whatever he could to aid authorities in the search. Some did not want to talk to authorities for one reason or another.

One of the men, all of whom were British, was on record as being in the UK on the day of Claudia’s disappearance. Coincidence?

The investigation then returned to the UK.
The more investigators interviewed the people who knew Claudia Lawrence, the more they began to realise that each set of people had a completely different description of her as a person. Work colleagues described her in a very different way than her close friend did, and her father, a local solicitor, claimed that he barely recognised the character his daughter was being portrayed as in the media.

Newspapers described the missing woman in a negative light, publicly writing about the secret affairs she’d had with older, married men. They printed photographs from her enjoying herself at parties and presented her as a wild and reckless seductress.
Although it was true that Lawrence had been in relationships with older married men and enjoyed an active social life that included drinking with friends at her local pub “The nags head”, she was still a victim. The negative attitude towards her in the newspapers that lined the shelves of supermarkets and newsagents while the case was ongoing likely made readers feel less sympathetic towards her.
Friends and family remembered her as a warm and friendly girl, a hard worker who had a lot of friends and liked to have fun and enjoy her days off.
Claudia’s landlord described her as a warm and friendly vegetarian who “wouldn’t say boo to a goose.”

None of the men she’d had secret relationships with came forward with information, and were not prepared to even admit they knew Claudia Lawrence for fear of being exposed for their extramarital affairs.

According to the “unsolved” documentary, Lawrence was involved with some pretty shady characters that were known to the police. They are unnamed in the show but described as “a rogue gallery”, hinting that they are probably locally known criminals- what level of activity they may have been involved in is not implied. This was a piece of information investigating authorities were apprehensive to put out publically, as they thought it would further hurt the case and deter interest from members of the public who could possibly help solve it.

In 2013 the case was looked at again, this time with the benefit of modern forensic science.
The 2013 findings following the full forensic review of the residence and vehicle include:
-DNA on an “Embassy Regal” cigarette butt recovered from Lawrence’s car. The DNA is thought to belong to a left handed male smoker. A set of partial finger prints (to this day unidentified) were found in the house but nothing came of it.
-Cell phone activity not previously known, including evidence that she had been in or around the area of Acomb, York, a month or so before she went missing. (Another secret boyfriend unknown to friends and family perhaps?)
-Confirmation that her phone was powered off deliberately at 12:10 the day after she went missing. According to those who knew her, when Claudia was not at work she was glued to her phone (a Samsung D900) and rarely if ever let it run out of battery.

CCTV footage from that night was also reviewed and surveillance from a public bus that passed Claudia’s residence showed a white Astra Van parked opposite her street on the last night she was heard from.



Another vehicle of interest is a light coloured hatchback thought to be a Ford Focus. It drives past Claudia’s property at around 5:42am. The brake lights illuminate indicating a sudden halt.
Police want to know why the car suddenly hit the brakes. Did they pick up Claudia; possibly offer her a ride to work?
Did she know the people / person in the car? Were they a stranger?
Or again is the vehicle completely unconnected to the case?
Could they be a potential witness?



You can watch the footage here << on the crime stoppers episode from 2014 featuring Claudia Lawrence’s case (which is where I took these stills from.)

Now how about Witness accounts?
-This news report mentions a witness that saw a woman talking to a man wearing a dark hoody and black combat trousers at around 5:35am. He was smoking with his left hand. This was apparently at the Melrose Bridge, which was along Claudia’s normal route to work.

-Apparently (as mentioned in the same news segment) another witness saw a couple arguing near a vehicle with an open door near the university. The man was wearing a dark hooded sweater. (I’m guessing that’s an implication he’s possibly the same man mentioned above?)
When police relayed the information to Claudia’s father, he did not connect the description of his daughters physical attributes to that of the woman in the witness’ account.

-The third witness account I found was regarding the sighting of a 55 – 65 year old male with mid length grey hair, dressed in a three quarter length sand coloured mac.

-Another sketchy individual worth mentioning is a man several people saw hanging around the area a few days before Claudia went missing. Apparently a man in “Rusty white van” was loitering around attempting to talk with women. Could this be the same van as the white Astra I mentioned earlier?

-“co-op man” is an unidentified male who, on April 1st 2009, told staff at the Co-op in Tang hall that he knew / was an ex-colleague of Lawrence. Although there is a still of him from the stores CCTV footage, he has never been identified or questioned.

(Mr. Co-op. Source)

Search
This case is probably one of, if not the, most expensive investigation in York police history. The surrounding area was searched extensively, including the university and the land surrounding it and rural areas around Heworth. Statements were taken down from hundreds of people and every witness and phone call tip was followed up.

Arrests
The first arrest made in the case was that of a 59 year old man in May 2014. He was outed locally as a man named Michael Snelling. Snelling was arrested by local authorities under the suspicion of murder. He had previously worked in the biology department at the York University, but at the time of his arrest was working for a York branch of the “mind” mental health charity.
He too was a regular at Claudia’s usual haunt “The nags head” pub, her local drinking spot. The two had been seen there hugging before.
He was out on bail not long after.

Another man, also in his 50’s, was arrested two years later in 2016 following a forensic search of the alleyway behind Lawrence’s house. However 4 men in total were released due to lack of evidence supporting the claims made against them.

Lack of cooperation from those who knew the missing woman are responsible in the eyes of the head of the investigation.

Every Christmas even for several consecutive years an unknown person hung a wreath decorated with white feathers on the door of Claudia’s home. When her parents publicly displayed emotional distress at the gesture and asked the anonymous person to stop, they did. This person was never identified.

EDIT: Thanks to u/popejohn2 on R/Unresolvedmysteries where I x-posted this for discussion, I now know that the man's name was Rodney Ballard. u/NeilJung5 also added that this man believed he was a psychic and was recieving messages from Claudia. His Twitter profile is still active and was last updated in 2014.


(source)


2017
So there’s been some new buzz surrounding the case this year.
Recently articles in UK newspapers have been posing the question “Was ‘killer Cabbie’ Christopher Halliwell involved in the disappearance of Claudia Lawrence?”
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll recall we actually discussed Christopher Halliwell (who is currently serving life in prison) several months ago and even asked ourselves if we believed he was responsible for the deaths of other women? (Click HERE << to read the post.)
This article states that Halliwell’s father lived just an hour away from York. Not too far to go to pick off a victim.

The mother of a victim of Halliwell’s (Sian O’Callaghan) encouraged the public to look at the description of the killer “a left-handed smoker, 5ft 8-10in, with slightly receding hair and a skinny build.” Remember how the suspicious man witnesses saw talking to a woman on the morning of Lawrence’s disappearance was described as a “left handed smoker”? Quite a specific detail.
Now remember the police officer (Steven Fulcher, now retired) who believed he was in a race against time to save a young girl from Halliwell and actually got the murderer to lead him to two bodies by having an ‘unofficial chat’ with him?

Well Fulcher pointed out that the date on which Halliwell killed Sian O’ Callaghan (19th March 2011) was relevant to the date Halliwell was ditched by an ex-lover. Apparently that date was significant to Christopher Halliwell as it was the date his girlfriend broke up with him while he was serving time in prison in the eighties.

Is it just a coincidence that Claudia Lawrence went missing (technically as they believe she left for work) on that same anniversary of March 19th? Or does this fit into Halliwell’s pattern perfectly?
I know sometimes with these type of cases we so badly want to make connections when there isn’t any, but that was an eerie detail that is.