A WOMAN is due in court in May accused of impersonating missing British toddler Katrice Lee, who vanished from a German Army base nearly 40 years ago.

Katrice's father Richard Lee, from Hartlepool, said the woman, from the Merseyside area, was expected to enter a plea to a charge of using communications maliciously, at Wirral Magistrates Court on May 1.

It is alleged that the woman posed as Katrice on social media.

Mr Lee said on Twitter: "After a lengthy process the individual will appear in court shortly.

"I unfortunately cannot say anymore but will update you as and when."

The 69-year-old told The Northern Echo that he did not want the case to detract from the family's search for Katrice and they were focused on running their social media page to find leads on her whereabouts.

Katrice disappeared while shopping with her family in the German Army base of Paderborn in November1981, on her second birthday. Her family believe she is still alive and Mr Lee has been critical of the Royal Military Police's investigation.

Last year, police searched the riverbank in Paderborn for any fresh clues but nothing was uncovered.

In 2013 a Spennymoor woman, Donna Wright, was handed a suspended jail sentence for sending offensive messages to Katrice's family.