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Family of Claire Holland speak of their grief and loss

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Claire Holland
There are 3 related updates to this story

The family of Claire Holland have spoken of their grief, loss and fond memories at the conclusion of a trial which has seen her ex-partner convicted of her murder.

Claire’s body has never been found.

In extracts from their victim personal statements, they express relief that Claire’s story has finally been told, but anger and disgust at how her life was taken away from her.

Claire Holland
Claire Holland

Jacqueline Vaughan – Claire’s mum

“It was about a week after the 6th June 2012 when my daughter Claire was reported as a missing person. As there was no contact with her, plans that she made with myself and her sisters did not happen.

“Life changed for me then. Claire was so positive and happy – the future was looking good.

“As time passed it got a little easier, but it was always at the back of my mind. When I used to go into town, I could not help but to look out just in case Claire was around. Even when driving I would catch sight of someone that looked a bit like Claire. I would just slow down and look, drive past and then look in my rearview mirror to get a good look at that person.

“In 2019 I had the news that changed everything. We were told that someone had confessed to murdering Claire and they were opening up Claire’s case. It was hard to take on board. I felt numb, sick, sad and angry, but at the same time I was relieved thinking we could get closure and lay Claire to rest.

“I had to tell (her son), as he often asked if his mum would ever come and visit him. And now I have to tell him that he will never ever see his mummy. It was awful – all my emotions were all over the place it made me ill. I cannot put into words how it made me feel.

“In 2022 I was informed that they had charged Darren Osment with the murder of Claire. This was the news I/we were waiting for.

“I’m feeling sick, sad, angry, and disgusted at what names Claire has been called and referred to. There’s no words to explain how I really feel. There’s one thing I know for sure is that it has affected (us all) of not knowing what has happened to Claire then for somebody to hand themselves in, confess to murder and then deny all knowledge.

“Claire has four children and two grandchildren. Children she wanted in her life and was working hard to achieve. Two grandchildren Claire will never get to hold or know.”

Michaela Holland – Claire’s sister, on behalf of her family, including Claire’s dad David Holland, her step-mum Alison Holland, her sister Michelle and brothers Matthew and Michael

“Today, as I stand here, we got justice for Claire. I’m about to share with you some personal messages dad received from Claire before she was taken from us. My dad is unable to speak these words and has been unable to for the past 11 years. I have never seen my dad cry, but you Darren, have caused him unimaginable pain, as you have with us all.

“On the 6th of April 2012, Claire messaged him one word. “Dad”, followed by an apology, “I’m sorry for the mess I have made of my life. I’m putting it right. Love my dad, love my dad xx”. “Daddy I’m not perfect but love you”. From that moment, we thought we may get our daughter and sister back after many years of her being absent from our lives.

“Because of you, Claire has missed out on so much. Not only has she missed birthdays and Christmases, she has missed the birth of her nieces and nephews who have never got to meet her. Over the last four years Claire lost her grandma and her nan. They asked about her daily to find out if we have heard anything in the hope to see her again. They died not knowing the truth. We can only hope that Claire is up there with them now.

“Darren, I want you to know that you have destroyed our family. We have so many questions. What were her last words? Did she see it coming? Did she suffer? If you have got it in your heart, please, tell us where she is. After eleven years, we just want to lay her to rest.”

Rosie Holland-Hall – Claire’s daughter

“You (Darren) will never understand the pain you have caused to me and to never be able to have that mother and daughter relationship. My mum will forever be remembered for the good memories and not by this horrid event.

“My mum was never there for any of my adult life. I never had anyone to talk to and express how I felt. My mum only got to see me grow up until the age of four.

“I have found listening to the trial very upsetting, and hearing what has actually happened to my mum very distressing. Your attitude towards the evidence showed no remorse, and no respect for my family.

“I will never forgive you for what you’ve done and the damage you have caused me.”

Sarah Holland – Claire’s sister

“It doesn’t matter how many years pass – it never gets easier. Claire is missed and loved dearly and never far from my thoughts. The past eleven years have been filled with the unknowing of Claire’s whereabouts and not being able to fully grieve.

“It has been extremely hard to not have the chance to say goodbye to your sister, it’s like a hole that can never be filled. I will never get the chance to tell Claire that I love her or that I was proud of all the efforts she had made to change for her children.

“Claire never got a final resting place, this was something else that was stolen from her. Nowhere for the family to go to grieve or pay our respects.

“Claire has missed eleven Christmases. However, this Christmas, Claire will be right with us celebrating that her story has been heard and justice paid. The pain and grief of losing my sister will never leave me. I will just continue to learn new ways to live with it.”

Rachel Holland – Claire’s sister

“Since the disappearance of my sister Claire, I have always wondered where she is. Is she somewhere living a new life or is she on the other side? Deep down, locked in the back of my mind, I’ve known she wouldn’t be returning.

“I often wonder how Claire’s life would’ve turned out if only she’d had the opportunity to live it. I spoke to Claire the day she went missing she was all excitable.

“It’s saddening to know Claire will not get the chance to see her children grow up or meet any of her grandchildren.

“No-one has the right to take the law into their own hands and end their life because they have taken a dislike for Claire.

“I miss Claire dearly, a part of my life I, my mother and Sarah will never get back. It’s hard to put all your thoughts in writing; emotions run high when you start to dig in the back of your mind which you’ve had closed up for many years.

“Since the confessions by Darren Osment, this has brought it all back and re-opened the wound. This will offer closure to whether her existence is valid, but without the body we can’t officially say goodbye – something I’ve/we’ve not had a chance to do.”