Hartlepool man Richard Lee finally meets PM Boris Johnson over missing daughter Katrice

After over four decades of campaigning, Hartlepool father Richard Lee finally got to put his case before a British Prime Minister over what he believes were the “incompetent actions” of the Royal Military Police following the disappearance of his daughter.

By Neil Fatkin
Monday, 2nd May 2022, 5:36 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd May 2022, 5:38 pm

Katrice Lee vanished on her second birthday on November 28, 1981, from a British military base in Paderborn, in what was then West Germany, where Richard was serving as a sergeant in the Army.

Richard, 72, remains convinced Katrice is still alive but has long campaigned for clarity and answers over what he believes were mistakes made by both the Royal Military Police and German Police while carrying out the initial investigation.

After “asking every Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher”, Boris Johnson was on Monday the first Prime Minister to meet with Richard after he stood firm on a promise made in November 2021 during Prime Minister’s Questions following a request by Hartlepool MP Jill Mortimer.

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Richard said: “Boris Johnson said before Parliament he would meet me father to father and this is something which really touched me.

"He is the only Prime Minister who said he would meet me and has followed through with his word.

"I didn’t know I was going to meet with him as they had kept it quiet for security reasons. I was asked to take some information to Jill Mortimer’s office and it was when I got there I was told I would be meeting with the Prime Minister."

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Hartlepool dad Richard Lee confirms meeting with PM Boris Johnson over 40-year i...
After four decades of campaigning, Richard Lee finally got to put his case for an independent inquiry into the disappearance of his daughter Katrice before a British Prime Minister - in this case Boris Johnson. Photo of Boris Johnson: Andrew Parsons CCHQ / Parsons Media

As well as speaking to the Prime Minister direct, he also read out a letter, which he always keeps on his phone, citing his concerns with the investigation.

Richard’s concerns focus on three key areas of the investigation, including why it took six weeks for staff at the camp to be interviewed, the delay in the family’s DNA being put on an international database and a 36 year wait before a photo-fit of a suspect was released.

Richard said: “The Prime Minister was quite astonished by what he heard about the investigation. At the end of the meeting, I asked for his help in bringing about an independent inquiry, that Katrice’s case is handed into the hands of the civilian police, and that the Government make a £1m donation to the Missing People Charity.”

Richard Lee with a photograph of his daughter Katrice. Picture by FRANK REID

Richard now hopes the Prime Minister remains true to his word to “follow up” on their initial meeting.

He said: “He listened to me and said he would look at helping in anyway he could. He said he would be back in touch. Hopefully this will be the case, but at the end of the day actions speak louder than words.”

Speaking before his meeting with Richard, the Prime Minister said: “This is a very sad case and I’m going to meet with Mr Lee this afternoon. As a father I can recognise what Mr Lee is going through and will listen to him with great sympathy.

"I will endeavour to help him in any way I can although clearly after 41 years we have to accept it may be difficult to change the outcome.”