Claudia Lawrence’s mother was “stunned” by the disappearance of Nicola Bulley

The Nicola Bulley case brings fresh heartache to the mother of missing York chef Claudia Lawrence PA

Joan Lawrence says Claudia Lawrence and Nicola Bulley’s cases share heartbreaking similarities (Image: PA)

The mother of the missing Claudia Lawrence speaks of the disappearance Nicola Bulley left her feeling “stunned”.

Both women disappeared without a trace.

Claudia, a cook who worked at York University, lived in the Hemsworth area.

The 35-year-old was last seen on March 18, 2009.

Police believe Claudia was murdered, but despite extensive investigations, a body has never been found.

Her mother Joan says Nicola’s disappearance “brought everything back”.

She knows exactly how the mother of two’s family in St Michaels on Wyre in Lancashire will feel.

She told ITV News: “When it first came out on the news I was very, very upset. I cried for my family, for myself, for Claudia.

Claudia Lawrence, 35, went missing in 2009 and was never found (Image: PA)
In 2021, police drained a lake at Sand Hutton Gravel Pits, near York, while searching for the missing cook (Credits: Tom Maddick SWNS)

“The similarities – it was very painful, it brought everything back.

“I have tried to message the family to say if they would like to contact me to speak to me – specifically the mother – that I fully understand what they are going through.

“As the days go by they will not eat, they will not sleep.”

Joan still lights a candle for Claudia every night and says a prayer every morning to wish her return.

The case of Nicola Bulley has brought fresh heartache to the mother of missing York chef Claudia Lawrence (Image: ITV)

Initially, her daughter’s disappearance was treated as a missing persons case. Only later was a murder investigation announced.

Arrests and re-appeals have been numerous over the years, but she has never been found.

Joan, 79, says there are similar unanswered questions between Claudia and Nicola’s disappearance.

She continued, “As someone told me, someone doesn’t just disappear into thin air – they’re there somewhere and someone knows where they are. I think that was it – [Ms Bulley] just suddenly disappeared and there was no trace and that’s what happened to Claudia.’

Undated family photo issued by Lancashire Police, of missing wife Nicola Bulley, 45, who was last seen on the morning of January 27 walking her dog on a footpath by the nearby River Wyre. Ms Bulley, a mortgage adviser from Inskip, Lancashire, disappeared while walking her dog after dropping her daughters, aged six and nine, from school. Her mobile phone and the leash and harness for her dog, Springer Spaniel Willow, were found on a bench near the River Wyre in the Lancashire countryside.Issue date: Friday February 3, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLICE Bulley. Photo credit should read: Family Handout/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This Handout photo may be used for editorial reporting purposes only to simultaneously illustrate events, things or people in the photo or facts mentioned in the photo caption. Reuse of the image may require further permission from the copyright owner.

Nicola Bulley was last seen on the morning of January 27 (Image: PA)
Two weeks later there is still no trace of the missing mother (Image: Paul Greenwood/Shutterstock)

Joan’s interview with ITV comes as Nicola’s partner, who was at home when she disappeared, revealed that “nothing had been different” before her disappearance.

Paul Ansell sat down with Channel 5’s Dan Walker to explain the couple’s “perfectly normal” morning routine on Friday January 27.

He and Nicola sat down and watched TV before going to bed separately, he explained.

Dan asked if she mentioned any “fight” or if “something was wrong,” to which Paul replied “no.”

Nicola’s family and friends have questioned the police theory that she probably fell in the water while walking her dog after taking her children to school on January 27.

And the underwater search expert who was brought in to look for her said the case was a “complete mystery” after finding no sign of her.

The focus of the search for missing mother Bulley has now expanded further downriver, near where the River Wyre meets the Irish Sea at Morecambe Bay.

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Justin Scaccy

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