Father of missing toddler Katrice Lee meets with defence minister to discuss the current investigation
THE father of a girl who went missing nearly 40 years ago says his voice '˜has finally been heard' after a meeting with a government minister about the current investigation.
Dad of Katrice Lee who vanished on her second birthday 36 years ago, Richie Lee, met with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson yesterday, who had pledged in the House of Commons to review the case.
Richie was serving as a Sergeant Major with the British Army in Germany when Katrice disappeared on a trip to a shopping complex in 1981.
Richie, 68, said: “I can honestly say that, I feel that for the first time in 36 years, my voice was truly heard.
‘The minister appears to be a man of integrity, very honest.
Katrice’s mother and sister Sharon and Natasha Lee from Gosport are in support of Richie’s appeal.
In 2012, the Government apologised to Katrice’s mother Sharon, and the Royal Military Police admitted failings in its initial inquiry.
A re-investigation, also by the Royal Military Police called Operation BUTE is, currently under way.
Richie added that he hopes sharing the story on social media will give the case a boost.
He said: ‘If Katrice is speaking another language, it will get the word out and she will know her roots.
‘I’m being realistic. I’m not expecting to take Katrice away from the life that she’s known. I just want to make sure she is safe.
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has supported the Lee family over the years.
Ms Dinenage said‘Today my office participated in an update with the Secretary of State for Defence and I am pleased that he acknowledged the flaws with the original investigation and has offered for the family of Katrice Lee to meet with the Lead Investigator to discuss the current lines of enquiry.’
Richie’s local MP Mike Hill also attended the meeting.
He said: ‘We got a commitment from the minister to have a meeting with the Royal Military Police at their headquarters to speak with the right people.
‘We also told him about a couple of leads and gave them a couple of possible suspects in the case.’
A second meeting is set to take place in the near future.