Pub landlord arrested in Claudia Lawrence inquiry describes his family's devastation

ARREST SHOCK: Paul Harris landlord of The Acomb pub in York

ARREST SHOCK: Paul Harris landlord of The Acomb pub in York

First published in News

A PUB landlord arrested as part of the Claudia Lawrence investigation has described how it has left his family in turmoil.

Paul Harris, 46, who runs The Acomb in Kingsway West, York, was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

Forensic experts spent most of the day searching the pub, removing items and digging up the cellar.

He was released on bail later that day to learn there had been rife speculation on social media sites over his arrest.

Mr Harris said the closure of the pub would have lost him upwards of £1,500 in trade, but he was more concerned about the effects on his two children.

“The worst thing about it was my kids were in tears. People are saying horrible things about me on social media and I know it will leave me, my reputation and my pub tainted.

He said that when the murder inquiry first started, he voluntarily gave his phone number to police as the chef used to drink in his pub, along with others in the area.

He said the police used a jackhammer to dig up six inches of concrete from his cellar floor, where there was a repair 20 years old. They also took two doors from upstairs.

Mr Harris said Claudia had been in The Acomb with a friend weeks before her disappearance, and he recalled speaking to her briefly.

He was one of many people in York questioned by police following Darlington-born Claudia’s 2009 disappearance and voluntarily gave over his phone and a DNA sample at the time.

In May, police arrested a 59-year-old man on suspicion of Claudia’s murder, and searched a house in Burnholme in connection with the investigation. He remains on bail.

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