THE mother of a toddler who disappeared more than 30 years ago has hit out over the police’s refusal to make public a review of the case.
Katrice Lee vanished in 1981 from a Naafi store in Paderborn, Germany where her father, former Sergeant Major Richard Lee, was stationed.
Mr Lee, his former wife Sharon – who lives in Gosport – and people acting on their behalf have made five Freedom of Information requests asking South Wales Police to release their 12-year-old report into the original investigation by the Royal Military Police (RMP) and German police. All have been turned down.
The most recent request from Mr Lee’s MP in Hartlepool, Iain Wright, prompted another refusal and the response from South Wales Police that it could prejudice the ongoing investigation into Katrice’s appearance.
Mr Lee said the background to the response even mentions the case of Fred and Rose West, where it took 27 years to detect the murder of their first victim.
Mrs Lee, 60, said: ‘This is just a smoke screen. This was a review into how the case was dealt with in 1981. How could it impinge on today’s inquiries?
‘It is because there is obviously something in the original investigation, or something that was not done in the investigation years ago, and they don’t want us to know about.’
The RMP admitted publicly in 2012 that there had been failings in the original investigation.
The case was treated as an accident and the official line was that Katrice had fallen into a nearby river. It is only in recent years Mrs Lee and her daughter Natasha have managed to persuade police to reopen the file and it is being treated as a potential murder and kidnap case.