Missing Katrice’s family meet with defence secretary

Richard Lee, father of Katrice Lee, talks to the media at a forensic investigation site by the Royal Military Police near the river Alme in Paderborn, Germany, Thursday, May 3, 2018 in the case of missing Katrice Lee. The little two year old daughter of a based British soldier disappeared in the garrison town in front of a supermarket without a trace in 1981. New informations lead to further investigations after 36 years. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Richard Lee, father of Katrice Lee, talks to the media at a forensic investigation site by the Royal Military Police near the river Alme in Paderborn, Germany, Thursday, May 3, 2018 in the case of missing Katrice Lee. The little two year old daughter of a based British soldier disappeared in the garrison town in front of a supermarket without a trace in 1981. New informations lead to further investigations after 36 years. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
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THE father of Katrice Lee who disappeared in Germany on her second birthday has called for a public inquiry into the investigation.

The search for Katrice, who vanished almost 37 years ago from a NAAFI shopping complex in Paderborn, West Germany, has been led by the Royal Military Police.

Katrice Lee who went missing in 1981 in Germany

Katrice Lee who went missing in 1981 in Germany

Her father Richie Lee, 68, from Hartlepool, met with defence secretary Gavin Williamson when he urged the politician  to consider holding a public inquiry into the investigation.

Mr Lee – whose daughter Natasha lives in Gosport along with Katrice’s mother Sharon – said he has become frustrated at a lack of engagement by investigators.

Mr Lee said he learnt the results of DNA tests on bone fragments found during a major new dig in Germany in May from a member of the public. There was no link to Katrice.

Urging Mr Williamson to launch a public inquiry, Mr Lee said: ‘My hope is that you will agree to a public inquiry, I can assure you that I will not give up, no matter what doors are closed, or hurdles are put in my way.

'I will stay the course and I will get answers.'

He said the RMP has ‘failed' the family and they cannot ‘continue to have a positive dialogue with them’.

RMP chiefs admitted in 2012 that mistakes were made during the initial investigation and the case was reopened.

Mr Lee said border guards were not informed when Katrice disappeared, statements from shop workers were not taken until weeks later and details about her eye condition were not circulated.

In March, Mr Lee met current investigators at Bulford, in Surrey. He described the backroom staff as 'unsung heroes of mine’.

Of the RMP he said: 'They have had 37 years to follow up lines of enquiry, and it is time that someone from outside the realms of the police and Army communities takes an in-depth independent view on what they have been doing.’

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said liaison officers are in regular contact with Katrice’s family.