Katrice fight will carry on

A DETERMINED dad whose daughter vanished in Germany three decades ago says he will explore other avenues to get answers about the circumstances surrounding her disappearance.

Richie Lee, from Hartlepool, was told earlier this week that the Government will not be releasing the case files relating to the disappearance of his daughter Katrice.

This was after Hartlepool MP Iain Wright joined a campaign for disclosure of the documents but was told by Peter Luff, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Defence, Support and Technology, that the family could not have access.

Mr Luff had said disclosure of the files, even to a family member, could have a prejudicial effect on the investigation or any subsequent trial and also said it could breach data protection laws.

Richie, 62, who was a Sergeant Major when Katrice went missing from a NAAFI supermarket in Paderborn in Germany on November 28, 1981, on her second birthday, told the Hartlepool Mail yesterday he was “saddened but not surprised” about the news.

Despite the lack of support from the Government, he said the family, including Katrice’s mother, Richie’s ex-wife Sharon, and his other daughter, Natasha, who both live in Gosport, in Hampshire, are determined as ever to carry on their campaign in the quest to get answers and ultimately find Katrice.

They are even looking at having an independent body review the handling of the case.

Retired postman Richie said: “We still want answers.

“We are now at the 30-year point - at what point do they turn around and say we will release the files?

“If I’m gone and dead and buried will Natasha ever get access to them? “I’m not prepared to let this go now.”

Richie revealed he has now refused to have any contact with the Royal Military Police, or its liaison officers, claiming it was a case of “one-way traffic” as “we are telling them information and they are telling us nothing”.

He added: “I will now pursue the avenue I’m moving down and rely on people like Iain Wright to point me in the right direction.

“I feel my human rights are being infringed upon.”

Richie said the family will now look at getting an independent body to review the handling of the case. “As we said from the very outset, it has been a catalogue of errors,” he added.

An online petition has been launched to pressurise the Government to release the files and has attracted almost 1,000 signatures since it was set up earlier this month.

It can be found at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/please-help-to-get-the-rmp-mod-to-release-the-case-fil.html