Entertainment

BBC to apologise directly to Claudia Lawrence’s mother over licence fee letters

The 35-year-old disappeared almost 14 years ago on March 18 2009.
The 35-year-old disappeared almost 14 years ago on March 18 2009.

The BBC has said it is “very sorry” for the distress caused to the mother of missing university cook Claudia Lawrence after letters about licence fee payments were sent to her daughter’s property.

The broadcaster plans to apologise directly to Joan Lawrence after she told The Sun the letters, which she said had threatened up to £1,000 in fines, were causing her “untold heartache”.

It comes ahead of the 14th anniversary of Ms Lawrence’s disappearance on March 18 2009.

Missing chef
The 35-year-old university cook disappeared almost 14 years ago on March 18 2009 (North Yorkshire Police/PA)

Detectives believe the 35-year-old, who lived in the Heworth area of York and worked at York University, was murdered, although no body has ever been found.

A BBC spokesman said: “We’re very sorry for the distress caused to Mrs Lawrence and we will be apologising to her directly.

“We have taken steps to ensure no further letters are sent to the address.”

Automated letters were sent to the property in August last year.

They were not addressed directly to Ms Lawrence but were standard letters relating to an unlicensed property, the PA news agency understands.

Missing chef
Ms Lawrence’s father, Peter, died in 2021 without knowing what happened to his daughter (Danny Lawson/PA)

Ms Lawrence’s mother contacted the BBC in September 2022 but only a temporary pause was put in place and automated letters restarted in February this year.

Ms Lawrence’s disappearance, and a subsequent appeal from her mother, has previously featured on BBC’s Crimewatch.

Last year, on the 13th anniversary of her daughter’s disappearance, Joan Lawrence told BBC Radio York that she would never give up hope of finding her daughter.

North Yorkshire Police has conducted two investigations in relation to Ms Lawrence’s disappearance and suspected murder, but no charges have been brought.

Her father, Peter, died in 2021 without knowing what happened to his daughter.