Missing Katrice Lee: Hartlepool MP hopes new arrest will bring closure for her family

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill says he hopes an arrest in the investigation into missing Katrice Lee will bring answers to her family.

Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 5:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 6:05 pm
Katrice Lee, who went missing in West Germany in 1981.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed it has made an arrest over the disappearance of Katrice from a NAAFI supermarket in West Germany on her second birthday in 1981 near to where her father Richie, from Hartlepool, was stationed as a soldier with the British Army at the time.

Military police are reported to have begun searching a terraced house in the Moredon, Swindon, on Monday, September 23.

Mr Hill, who has supported Richie since he became an MP, described the development as ‘significant’.

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Richard Lee, left, next to Hartlepool MP MIke Hill, listen to Warrant officer Richard O'Leary, centre, at a forensic investigation site of the Royal Military Police near the river Alme in Paderborn, Germany, in May last year. Picture: PA.

He said: “This is a significant and major development in the search for Katrice. I have spoken to both Richard and the RMP (Royal Military Police) investigation team and I sincerely hope it brings the answers Richard and the family have been looking for.

“It’s been almost 40 years since Katrice went missing, but the family have never given up on her.

“They deserve to have closure, and while we have to wait and see what emerges from this arrest, it is, nonetheless, an extremely important outcome.

“I know the whole town stands squarely behind Richard at this difficult time.”

A man enters a house in the Moredon area of Swindon, during a search in connection with the disappearance of Katrice Lee. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Mr Hill accompanied Richie on a difficult journey back to Germany in May 2018 when investigators carried out an excavation of a river bank near to where Katrice disappeared on November 28, 1981.

He also helped to arrange meetings between Richie and former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson in Whitehall.

Richie, 69, has previously praised Mr Hill for his help and support.

Speaking to the Mail on his return from Germany last year, he said he was also touched by the support he had received from people in the town.

He said: “I had always felt other than my extended family I was on my own.

“But coming back from that traumatic week I found there are thousands of people in Hartlepool, who I couldn’t even put a face to, supporting me.”