Claudia Lawrence suspect released on bail

Michael Snelling has been released on conditional bail by police after more than 24 hours of questioning following his arrest on Tuesday


Claudia Lawrence murder suspect Michael Snelling has been released on conditional bail by police.

The 59-year-old, from North Shields, underwent more than 24 hours of questioning following his arrest on Tuesday by detectives probing the chef’s disappearance five years ago.

He was released this evening, police have confirmed.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Forensic searches at relevant properties are expected to continue for a number of days.”

Police sniffer dogs were yesterday taken into Mr Snelling’s childhood home on Hollywell Road.

Ronnie Robinson, who lives next door, told of his disbelief at learning his neighbour had been arrested on suspicion of murder.

The 81-year-old retired plumber said: “He’s a lovely lad. He’s very friendly and would do anything for you. I still can’t believe he’s been arrested.”

Mr Snelling’s arrest marks the biggest development in the Claudia Lawrence case since the 35-year-old vanished.

Ross Parry/SWNS Group Michael Snelling
Michael Snelling

She was as last seen at around 3.05pm on March 18, 2009, after leaving her work at York University, and was reported missing by her father after she failed to turn up for a shift the next day.

Police swooped on Hollywell Road in the Billy Mill area early on Tuesday. As forensics officers searched the Snelling house, a car was uplifted from outside the well-maintained semi.

Meanwhile, searches were going on at Mr Snelling’s home in York, where police are understood to have been digging.

Terry Ellis, who lives nearby in York, said Mr Snelling used to drink in the same pub as Claudia.

The 74-year-old said: “He was a pleasant sort of chap.”

Another elderly neighbour said: “He used to go in the Nags Head three or four doors down from where Claudia lived.

“He kept himself to himself. It is his own house.

“He has lived there quite a while, he’s not married. The houses either side of him are student bedsits.

“He never used to do anything to the house.

“He even got the bloke across the road to cut the grass for him.”

Mr Snelling is believed to have been a lab technician at the York University college where Claudia worked before becoming project coordinator at the mental health charity Mind in the city.

His neighbour explained how Mr Snelling travelled back to Tyneside every weekend to visit his mother and take her out.

It is understood his elderly mother is now in a care home.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer