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Dad’s anger as police chiefs refuse to reveal info on missing toddler case

Richard Lee with a copy of the response to the Freedom of Information request regarding a review into the handling of his daughter Katrice's disappearance

Richard Lee with a copy of the response to the Freedom of Information request regarding a review into the handling of his daughter Katrice's disappearance

POLICE chiefs reviewing a case about the disappearance of a toddler more than 30 years ago have refused to reveal what they found.

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright lodged a Freedom of Information (FOI) request with South Wales Police, the force independently reviewing how the 1981 disappearance of Katrice Lee was handled.

The review took place in 2002 – but 12 years on, Katrice’s father, Richard Lee, from Hartlepool, is no closer to finding answers.

Mr Wright asked for a summary of the findings and to confirm the scope and remit of the review.

But in weighing up factors for disclosure, South Wales Police said however unlikely a prosecution may seem in what is a potential murder or abduction case, the “potential prejudice from prior disclosure of the information would be very significant”.

Richard, 64, said: “South Wales Police did this review in 2002 and sat at my kitchen table and I said ‘will you let us know what your findings are?’

“They said they would let us have the results and here we are in 2014 and still pursuing getting answers.

“They haven’t answered what we wanted – what they have done is avoided it.

“The response is absolutely horrendous.”

Richard said the background to the response even mentions the case of Fred and Rose West, where it took 27 years to detect the murder of his first victim and Tony Dyce, who committed three murders in London in 1982 but was not arrested until 28 years later.

“They have got nothing to do with my case,” said Richard.

“To me that’s just an avoidance of dealing with questions that the family raised via the MP.”

Richard was serving as a Sergeant Major with the British Army when Katrice went missing from a Naafi store in Paderborn, Germany.

The Royal Military Police (RMP) admitted publicly in 2012 that there had been failings in the original investigation.

In the FOI Mr Wright asked what the scope and remit of the review was.

South Wales Police did answer this question, saying the scope was to look at family liason issues, media strategy at the time, identifying other lines of enquiry, lines of enquiry as determined by the senior investigation officer and any other aspect considered relevant by the reviewing officer.

Mr Wright also asked for confirmation on whether South Wales Police advised the RMP and/or the German Police to take further action as a result of the review.

South Wales Police said the review made a number of recommendations to the effect that further inquiries should be undertaken, which is ongoing.

South Wales Police did not respond when approached by the Mail, and the Ministry of Defence - which represents the RMP - said it was not for them to comment on a South Wales Police review.

 

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