`

Hartlepool MP to lobby government over Katrice Lee disappearance

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, Katrice Lee's dad Richie, and Hartlepool MP Mike Hill.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, Katrice Lee's dad Richie, and Hartlepool MP Mike Hill.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill is calling for the Government to look at the case of missing Katrice Lee “as a matter of urgency” - following reports more cash is being given to the Madeline McCann case.

Mr Hill said he will lobby Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd in an effort to give Katrice’s case greater public attention after the Home Office this week agreed to give more funding to the high profile Madeleine McCann case.

A picture of what Katrice Lee may look like now released by investigators for her 38th birthday

A picture of what Katrice Lee may look like now released by investigators for her 38th birthday

Katrice’s father Richie Lee, from Hartlepool, says it should be a “level playing field” for all missing people.

Mr Hill said the funding in addition to the £11m reportedly already spent on the Madeleine McCann case shows the government’s commitment to solving the case.

But he added: “I know that in the case of Katrice Lee it is the Military Police and not the Metropolitan Police who are investigating, but that should not make a difference.

“The search for Katrice, or for that matter any child who has disappeared at home or abroad, should be given equal treatment and the national publicity such cases deserve.

“The search for Katrice Lee must be given the profile it deserves by the Government and the relevant authorities in the national media in order to give the investigation fresh impetus and hopefully long awaited closure for Richard and the family.

“I will be raising this matter with the Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson, and the Home Secretary Amber Rudd as a matter of urgency.”

Katrice went missing on her second birthday on November 28, 1981 from a NAAFI shopping complex in Paderborn, Germany, where dad Richie was serving as a Sergeant Major in the Army.

Richie said he does not begrudge Madeleiene McCann’s family the money, but questioned why all cases were not treated the same way.

He said: “It should be a level playing field for all missing person cases.

“The system is unequal.

“Why are they throwing money at this case when there are thousands of other cases out there that get nothing?”

A dedicated team is leading a Royal Military Police investigation into Katrice’s case.

Richie and other members of the family visited them recently after meeting Gavin Williamson to review the case.

An MOD spokesperson said: “This is an extremely distressing case and our thoughts remain with the family of Katrice Lee. The Lee family have recently met with the Defence Secretary and are being assisted by the RMP who provide regular updates about the investigation.

“We can assure the family that the RMP have the appropriate resources to conduct a thorough investigation.”