THE family of a missing Hartlepool toddler descended on Downing Street to demand answers on the handling of the 31-year-old disappearance of the town youngster.
Relatives of Katrice Lee, including mother Sharon and sister Natasha, along with Hartlepool MP Iain Wright and other supporters, marched on Number 10 yesterday to seek support from Prime Minister David Cameron as to why they have suffered what they have dubbed a “catalogue of errors”, including not being allowed access to case files, since Katrice vanished.
The emotional procession, from London’s St James’ Park to Downing Street coincided with Katrice’s 33rd birthday and the 31st anniversary of her disappearance from a NAAFI store in Paderborn, Germany, where her father Richard, from Hartlepool, was serving as a sergeant major.
Sharon and Natasha, now living in Gosport, Hampshire, were joined on the march by veteran soldiers who served with Richard in the 15th/19th Royal Hussars, including some who travelled to the capital from East Durham and Newcastle, as well as MP for Gosport Caroline Dinenage and Leeds MP Greg Mullholand.
Retired postman Richard, 62, who lives off Stockton Road, said: “I think it’s too early to say what good the march has done.
“This will be like throwing a stone into a pond and getting waves - we are waiting to see what that ripple effect will bring.
“The march saw the support that was shown, we now realise as a family we are not alone.”
Natasha, 39, approached Labour leader Ed Miliband on the march and Richard is hopeful he will get involved in their campaign.
A letter written by 10-year-old Sian Jebb, a friend of the Lee family, was delivered to Number 10.
In it, the youngster’s heartfelt plea described how she would feel if she was taken from her parents and asks why Mr Cameron has met with missing Madeleine McCann’s parents but not Katrice’s.
She adds: “We need to tell the whole world about Katrice.
“I will never vote ever when I am older if you cannot help one family out.”
Richard said: “She was very critical of the lack of intervention - it says a lot that a 10-year-old can see how shoddy the whole thing has been dealt with.”
Mr Wright said the march was another opportunity to keep the family’s plight in the public eye and he hoped the Prime Minister would take into account the letter from Sian.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The Royal Military Police is working closely with German authorities as part of their investigation into the disappearance of Katrice Lee.
“It is normal police practice to review significant unsolved cases and it is hoped that by applying modern investigative techniques the RMP will be able to identify lines of enquiry that will shed light on Katrice’s disappearance.
“However, as this is ongoing it would be inappropriate for us to comment in any detail on the case.
“The Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, Mark Francois, has offered to meet with the Lee family, their MPs, and the investigation team to discuss the family’s concerns.
“It is hoped that all parties will be able to meet before Christmas.”
Last week an appeal and reconstruction on the BBC1 programme Crimewatch led to new calls to the RMP from people who believe they can help with the inquiry.
Mr Wright also spoke in the House of Commons earlier this month about the case.
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