The distraught family of missing chef Claudia Lawrence have called in the police after a psychic bragged about knowing who killed her – and posting a sick sketch online of the moment he claims she was STRANGLED.
The pretty 35-year-old disappeared from her home in Heworth, York, on March 19, 2009 as she walked to her job in the city’s university kitchen.
North Yorkshire Police launched a massive investigation and later said they suspected Miss Lawrence had been murdered – but no arrests have ever been made.
She has never been found, in what has become one of the highest-profile unsolved crimes in Britain.
But now her family have been targeted by a Nottingham-based psychic who claims he knows who killed Miss Lawrence.
Warped Rodney Ballard, 66, even brags he has visions about what happened to the missing chef.
In one chilling post on his website he put a crude pencil drawing showing a man in his 50s strangling a woman in the passenger seat of a car.
Ballard writes: “Here we see the man who seems to be around fifty years (sic). He has grey hair to No2 cut.
“He has tanned appearance perhaps due to frequent vacations in the sun or regular outdoor work.”
On his Facebook page he also claims another ‘vision’ told him Claudia’s body was dumped in a shallow grave near York.
Family and friends of Miss Lawrence blasted Mr Ballard for causing “great distress” as the police were called to investigate whether Ballard’s claims amounted to harassment.
Martin Dales, a family friend and spokesman for Miss Lawrence’s father, Peter Lawrence, said: “It is worrying and distressing for all those involved.
“He seems to have become obsessed with the whole investigation. This has gone on and on and needs stopping.
“From all of Claudia’s family and friends, we do not want to hear from him again. It’s causing a great deal of distress.”
Jen King, 28, a close friend of Miss Lawrence, added: “He doesn’t understand the impact of the little things he puts on the internet – the psychological trauma it causes everyone.”
But when approached at his home in Carlton, Nottingham, retired coal industry electrical engineer Ballard insisted his visions were true.
He said: “I can see things and I can make contact with the lost souls and those that are no longer with us. I have a lot of conviction.
“People don’t believe you because they think you are mad, but I believe it.
“I’m not trolling them [the friends and family], I’m only putting it out in public.
“I’m fighting for Claudia and that’s it. That’s what I’m doing.
“I’ll just carry on and if the knowledge is given, I will release it.”
Ballard first began following the case in 2009 shortly after Miss Lawrence vanished.
He has spent years writing sick posts about the case online – even claiming Miss Lawrence has made contact with him.
The twisted psychic also admitted travelling to her home and laying two wreaths at the door before publishing photographs on the internet.
Miss Lawrence’s friend Jen added: “I think he knows he is upsetting and hurting people and frightening them and he still doesn’t seem to care.
“I don’t know what that makes him.
“But to me it makes him not a very nice person and a bully and I think he’s also a coward.
“Contrary to what he says, he doesn’t have his picture up there on the internet.”
“I genuinely believe there is more to what we see and experience, but on numerous occasions I think he’s said things that show him to be false.”
North Yorkshire Police launched a huge investigation in 2009 after Miss Lawrence’s disappearance.
A spokeswoman for the force confirmed they were looking into Ballard’s posts – calling them “unhelpful”.
She added: “We are aware of the posts and are looking into the matter.
“These types of messages are unhelpful and cause great distress to people close to Claudia who are already suffering due to her disappearance and not knowing what has happened to her.”