Police searching for the body of Suzy Lamplugh, who has been missing for 32 years, have started digging up the former back garden of the prime suspect
Police searching for the body of Suzy Lamplugh, who has been missing for 32 years, have started digging up the former back garden of the prime suspect’s mother.
Estate agent Miss Lamplugh, 25, disappeared in 1986, having left her west London offices to meet a mystery client known only as Mr Kipper.
When she didn’t return, a huge police search was launched but no trace of her was ever found – and in 1994 she was officially declared dead, presumed murdered. No-one was ever charged with her disappearance.
It is one of Britain’s most high profile murder mysteries, with prime suspect John Cannan questioned numerous times about the murder, but he has always denied involvement.
But police acting on a tip-off are now searching Cannan’s mother’s former house in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, hoping for a fresh breakthrough in the case.
They have set up a forensic tent in the garden and are examining an outbuilding, according to The Sun.
A team of a dozen officers armed with shovels and garden thoughts are thought to be conducting the search, with permission from the current home owners.
The search centres on the garage, amid fears Cannan but Suzy’s body in a car-inspection pit which was then filled in with concrete.
They have dismantled the flimsy garage building and are poised to dig into the concrete foundations.
The grim search for Suzy’s body took place only yards from a child’s trampoline and other play equipment.
Ground penetrating radar is also thought to have been used on the area and the search is expected to last for several days.
The police are thought to be conducting a full scale investigation into her abduction and murder after receiving new information.
It is believed his mother Sheila, thought to be in her 80s, now lives in a different part of the country.
There is no suggestion she is involved in or knew anything about his crimes.
At the time witnesses had seen a woman struggling with a man next to a BMW, which Cannan was believed to have had access to.
In a rare move in 2002, Scotland Yard named Cannan as the man they believed murdered Miss Lamplugh.
He was released from a hostel only days before she went missing.
Cannan, 64, is serving three life sentences for murder and a series of sex attacks, has denied any involvement.
In 1989, he was jailed for life for the murder of Bristol newlywed Shirley Banks and the rape of a woman in Reading.
The case against Cannan has always been undermined by a lack of forensic evidence and the location of the body.
The Met Police said last night: ‘The search follows information received in relation to a historical unsolved investigation.
‘We will not be commenting on speculation surrounding the search, or providing any further information at this time.’
Three major searches took place for Suzy in the early 2000s and in 2010.
A team of 12 officers spent two days digging next to a disused brickworks at Norton Barracks, near Worcester, in 2001.
Suzy’s parents Paul and Diane Lamplugh both died without ever finding out what happened to their daughter.
Paul Lamplugh, who had Parkinson’s disease, died with his three surviving children by his side earlier this year, having spent the rest of his life searching for his daughter’s body.
The 87-year-old was handed an OBE along with his wife Diana, who died in 2012 after suffering from a stroke.
The couple, from East Sheen, south west London, set up the Suzy Lamplugh Trust in 1986 to ‘campaign, educate and support people to help reduce the risk of violence and aggression for everyone’.
Mr Lamplugh, last spoke out about his daughter’s apparent murder in 2016.
He said: ‘The older I get the more I miss her’ – but also admitted he ‘had to accept’ the ‘awful’ realisation she was killed deliberately and he would probably never know who did it.
Out of the tragedy Suzy’s family fought to protect other women from violence through the foundation in her name.
Generations of freshers at universities were handed free rape alarms – known as ‘Suzy Lamplugh Alarms – and they fought for more street lights on the streets of Britain to protect women.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust would also launch Stalking Awareness Week in Britain.