Heslington area searched again as part of Claudia investigation

Police were today searching Heslington village and the surrounding area, in connection to the disappearance of University of York chef, Claudia Lawrence

Police were today searching Heslington village, in connection to the disappearance of University of York chef, Claudia Lawrence.

According to North Yorkshire Police, the fresh search comes in response to information received “in the last few days” and is not related to the recent Crimewatch appeal for information on Miss Lawrence.

A statement from North Yorkshire Police, released at 4.55pm today, said that the search is “expected to last up to three days.”

The search has focused heavily on the area surrounding Halifax College. A first-year Halifax student, who was away from University at the time of the police searches, commented: “It’s shocking to know that their investigation has extended [to near Halifax College]. I was quite frightened when I heard the news.”

Halifax President, Lydia Blundell, said that “the police have every right” and that she hopes “Halifax students are helpful.”

In April of last year, the University was condemned for allowing police to search student rooms without their permission. Blundell added: “Students have the right to be informed if they are going to be searched.”

The disappearance of Miss Lawrence, who failed to turn up for work on the morning of March 18 2009, is now being treated as a murder inquiry.

Blundell wished to reassure Halifax students, however, and said she hopes that “Halifax students feel safe.”

Ten officers and three police dogs were involved in today’s search of the University and a part of Heslington village known as The Outgang. Thus far the investigation has cost over £600,000 and is believed to be the largest investigation undertaken in the history of North Yorkshire Police.

Tim Ngwena, YUSU President, said: “We will continue to strongly oppose any repeat of last year’s invasion of privacy in entering student rooms without consent; students at York should have the same rights as any citizen. For searches that fall outside of students’ rooms we have contacted the police to ensure that they show appropriate sensitivity and respect for students privacy, but fully support their efforts to thoroughly consider all options in the search for Claudia.

“If anyone has any concerns about the way the investigation is being carried out, or is personally affected by the wider issues around the case, we encourage them to come to the advice and support centre in James college for help as soon as possible.”

4 comments

  1. 27 Mar ’10 at 12:15 am

    Tony Richards

    “the police do have every right”, student privacy is important but I think most people are willing to put up with what is quite frankly a minor inconvenience of police searches given the shocking gravity of this case.

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  2. No Tony (and Lydia), The police do not have *any* right to search without a warrant – its a basic principle enshrined in British Law. What they would do (and did) is ask the university to waive this right on behalf of their tenants, and its that part that is so shocking – the university refusing to ensure the basic rights of students are upheld.

    I wonder Tony if you’d be so flippant if they confiscated your laptop and arrested you for downloading illegal copies of books or films when they entered your room without your permission…

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  3. 27 Mar ’10 at 2:55 pm

    Tony Richards

    So you are comparing the (potentially illegal) use of the Police by corporations in a petty civil dispute (in your hypothetical case) to a full scale criminal murder investigation. You talk about ‘British Law’, but I wonder if you understand the difference between civil and criminal offence.

    Furthermore how do you know they don’t have a warrant? This is not even mentioned in the article yet you seem to assume that due process is not being followed.

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  4. “I wonder Tony if you’d be so flippant if they confiscated your laptop and arrested you for downloading illegal copies of books or films when they entered your room without your permission…”

    tbh, I really doubt that they’ll be looking on our laptops, external hard drives, or internet history considering how many rooms they have to search/how many police will be assigned to the case?

    Tbh I really have no idea what they’ll be looking for? Surely her (potentially dead, sorry to say) body wouldn’t just be left in a room?! :S Or the blood stained clothes etc etc. Sorry to be so gross I just clearly watch too much CSI? Like..what would be in rooms that would be of interest to the police?

    Also I’m pretty sure that if the police don’t have a warrant to take out the search, but they find something ‘bad’ in your room (e.g: weed) legally they cannot use what they’ve found in a court of law because it was ‘unlawfully obtained without a warrant’ so you really have no reason to worry.

    I wouldn’t care if my room got searched over easter. Accidentally left 2 potatoes in my room though so I can only hope I don’t repulse the policemen and that maybe one of them would take pity upon me and chuck them out..

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