Disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh

Susannah Jane Lamplugh (/ˈlæmpl/; born 3 May 1961)[1] was a British estate agent reported missing on 28 July 1986 (aged 25) in Fulham, London, England, United Kingdom. She was officially declared dead, presumed murdered, in 1993.[2][3]

Disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh
Suzylamplugh.jpg
Born(1961-05-03)3 May 1961
Cheltenham, England, UK
Disappeared28 July 1986 (aged 25)
Fulham, London, England, UK
StatusDeclared dead in absentia
27 July 1993

The last clue to Lamplugh's whereabouts was an appointment to show a house in Shorrolds Road to someone she referred to as "Mr Kipper". As of March 2022, the case remains unsolved.

John Cannan, a convicted criminal responsible for the murder of Shirley Banks in 1987 and many other rapes, abductions and attempted abductions since his release from prison three days before Lamplugh's disappearance, is the only suspect in the murder of Lamplugh. In November 2002, the Crown Prosecution Service decided that there was insufficient evidence to charge Cannan, but that month police announced at a press conference, in an extremely rare move, that they believed Cannan was the man who murdered Lamplugh. Cannan himself says he knows who killed Lamplugh, and states that this person is the same person responsible for the murder of Shirley Banks, which he himself was convicted of.[4] DNA evidence has also shown that Lamplugh had previously been in a car he owned at the time of her disappearance. He will be eligible for parole in 2022.

DisappearanceEdit

Lamplugh was an estate agent (Sturgis Estate Agents, 654 Fulham Road, SW6 5RU), who was reported missing after attending an appointment with someone calling himself "Mr Kipper", to show him round a house in Shorrolds Road, Fulham.[5] Her office diary recorded the details of the appointment as: "12.45 Mr. Kipper – 37 Shorrolds O/S". The "O/S" annotation means "outside the property". Witnesses reported seeing a woman, who resembled Lamplugh, talking to a man in Shorrolds Road and then getting into a car.[6]

Lamplugh's white Ford Fiesta (registration: B396 GAN) was found on the night of 28 July, outside a property for sale in Stevenage Road, Fulham, which is about 0.5 miles (0.8 km) away.[7] The handbrake was off and the car key was missing. Lamplugh's purse was found in the car.[8]

Police suggested that a black, left-hand drive BMW vehicle may have been involved, because of an eyewitness account of a car of that description seen at the same location as Lamplugh's car in Stevenage Road. For some time after her disappearance, it was believed that "Kipper" was her pronunciation of the Dutch name "Kuiper", but police investigations failed to identify anyone of that name in connection with Lamplugh.

In June 2019, a former police detective suggested that the 'Mr Kipper' diary entry might have been a cover story.[9]

Police searchesEdit

Following Lamplugh's disappearance, police tested the DNA of 800 unidentified bodies and skeletal remains that matched her description.[10] Lamplugh was officially declared dead, at her parents' behest, exactly seven years after her 1986 disappearance, on 27 July 1993;[3][11] she was presumed to have been murdered. Renewed police investigations in 1998 and 2000 failed to trace her.[12] The investigation was summarised in an ITV Real Crime programme in 2002.[13] In June 2021, criminologist David Wilson in Channel 4's In The Footsteps of a Killer hypothesised with presenter Emilia Fox that killer John Cannan had dumped Lamplugh's body in the River Brent.[14][15]

2000sEdit

In November 2002, it was reported that convicted rapist and murderer John Cannan could have killed Lamplugh. He was released from a prison hostel only days before she went missing, and it was claimed that his nickname in prison was "Kipper".[16] That month, Scotland Yard held a press conference at which officers named Cannan as the person they believed to have murdered Lamplugh.[17] Cannan denied any involvement.[18]

In April 2001, a previous girlfriend of Cannan, Gilly Paige, told police that he had suggested Lamplugh's body was buried at Norton Barracks, a former military base in Worcestershire.[19] However, in December 2002, one of Cannan's fellow prisoners told police that Cannan had buried Lamplugh under the patio of his mother's house in Sutton Coldfield, in the West Midlands.[20]

In 1982, Lamplugh had worked as a beautician on the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2. At the same time, Steve Wright, who was convicted in February 2008 of the murder of five women in Ipswich, was working as a steward on the QE2.[21] In 2008, the Metropolitan Police investigated whether Wright was connected with Lamplugh's disappearance,[22] but this was not a strong line of enquiry and a senior Met police officer described the link as "speculative".[23][24]

2010sEdit

In August 2010, police began searching a field off the B4084 between Pershore and Drakes Broughton, about three miles from the former Norton Barracks in Worcestershire, where a search had previously been carried out in December 2000 and February 2001.[10] In December 2000, police had also searched a nearby brickworks,[25] which had been mentioned in several of the original witness statements.[10] The 2010 search proved unsuccessful and Lamplugh's remains were not found.

In late October 2018, police began searching the former house of Cannan's mother in Sutton Coldfield, the same property that was searched in 2002.[26] They dismantled the garage and began removing its concrete floor, whilst also carrying out a search of the back garden.[27] On 12 November 2018, police announced that the search of the property had ended and no evidence had been found.[28]

In July 2019, a police search of land in Pershore, with the assistance of archaeologists, produced no relevant evidence.[29] In August 2019, the Specialist Investigation Team received a sighting from the time of the disappearance of a man resembling Cannan dumping a suitcase in the Grand Union Canal. However, this was a section of the canal previously searched in September 2014 for an unrelated inquiry.[30] This canal sighting was covered in The Vanishing of Suzy Lamplugh[31] and In the Footsteps of Killers[32]

John Cannan as the prime suspectEdit

Re-investigations of the case in the 2000s established that John Cannan was the prime suspect, although the media at the time of Lamplugh's disappearance speculated Cannan was responsible for her abduction and death.[33] Cannan was originally interviewed by police over her disappearance in 1988, 1989 and 1990.[34] Further interviews were carried out with Cannan during the re-investigation in the early 2000s.[35] He remains the prime suspect in the case.[34]

In 2007, a criminologist who had corresponded with Cannan revealed that the police re-investigations of 2000–2002 had discovered DNA evidence in a car previously owned by Cannan that showed Lamplugh had previously been inside the vehicle.[36] The criminologist had pointed out to police that Cannan had access to a red Ford Fiesta at the time Lamplugh disappeared, which police were previously unaware of.[36] Detectives subsequently attempted to find the car and discovered it in a scrap yard, before they conducted the DNA analysis on it.[37] Although these tests indicated Lamplugh had been in the car, as well as Cannan, the Crown Prosecution Service felt there was insufficient evidence to prove that they had been in the vehicle at the same time, meaning charges were unable to be brought against Cannan for her murder.[38]

Cannan bears a striking resemblance to the photofits of the man seen with Lamplugh on the day she vanished.[39] Cannan's nickname in prison was also "Mr Kipper" due to his preference for wearing kipper-style broad ties.[40] Cannan kidnapped and murdered 29-year-old Shirley Banks 15 months after Lamplugh's disappearance, and when he was arrested for this offence Banks' car was discovered hidden and repainted in his garage with a false number plate affixed reading "SLP 386".[4][35][41] Police believe this number plate could refer to Suzy Lamplugh (SLP) and 1986, the year of her murder.[35][4] Alternatively, police believed it could also be coordinates on a map, as this would give a location very close to Norton Barracks, which was a location a former girlfriend of Cannan told police he had joked about being the place where Lamplugh was buried (although she later withdrew this claim).[35] When Cannan was asked by detectives if he understood the significance of the number plate, he immediately replied that he did as it could be seen as a reference to Suzy Lamplugh, but claimed that he chose the letters on the plate at random.[4][42] He claimed that he had bought the car off a "Bristol businessman" who was responsible for "the murders of Shirley Banks, Suzy Lamplugh and another girl", and that this man was in a lot of trouble.[4] Cannan himself was known for masquerading as a Bristol businessman.[35] When asked if this man was him, Cannan replied "yes" but then immediately recanted and ended the interview.[4]

During the re-investigation in the early 2000s, a mass of circumstantial evidence was uncovered that pointed to Cannan.[35] Cannan had been released from an open prison three days before Lamplugh vanished, and the prison he was released from was three miles from the estate agent office Lamplugh worked in.[40] In the time leading up to disappearance, it was later disclosed that Lamplugh had a new boyfriend from the Bristol area, to which Cannan later moved and where his family were from, and Lamplugh had told a relative shortly before she vanished that she was concerned about this man and that she was getting scared of him.[35] Despite being in prison in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham before the disappearance, Cannan denied ever having been to Fulham, where Lamplugh vanished from.[35] Police disproved this as he was known to have had work experience in the area at the time while on day release from the open prison.[35] Witnesses came forward to tell police that they had seen a man and a woman resembling Lamplugh and Cannan having an argument in a car on the day of the disappearance, and that the car was a dark-coloured left-hand BMW.[35] This was significant as Cannan owned a dark-coloured left-hand drive BMW, which he used to commit crimes with a fellow inmate.[35] Cannan had also shown up uninvited to a house that was for sale in Fulham days before Lamplugh was last seen believing that the young female occupant was alone in the house, and started acting strangely until the woman's husband appeared, causing Cannan to quickly leave.[35] Witnesses also placed Cannan looking into Lamplugh's estate agent's window the day before she went missing.[35] Cannan did not have an alibi for the days after leaving prison and conveniently does not recall where he was, despite having an impeccable memory of other events at the time.[35][43]

The Crown Prosecution Service agreed that the police reinvestigation in the early 2000s had been excellent and thorough, but ultimately decided that there was insufficient evidence to charge Cannan with the murder of Lamplugh.[35][4] The police so strongly felt Cannan was responsible, however, that they announced in a press conference in November 2002, in an extremely rare move, that they believed Cannan was responsible.[35]

While in prison, Cannan told a psychiatrist that he might well "reveal all" about Lamplugh when his mother died.[35] He will be eligible for parole in 2022.[34]

Suzy Lamplugh TrustEdit

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust[44] is a charitable foundation established in December 1986 by Lamplugh's parents, Paul and Diana.[45] The mission of the Trust is to raise awareness of personal safety through training and various projects, to help people avoid becoming victims of aggression, and to offer counselling and support to relatives and friends of missing people. The Trust runs the UK's The National Stalking Helpline and organises National Personal Safety Day, an annual event that was first held in 2006.[46]

Paul and Diana Lamplugh were appointed to OBE, in 1992 and 2005 respectively, for their charitable work with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.[47][48] Diana Lamplugh died in August 2011 at the age of 75,[47][49] and Paul Lamplugh died aged 87 in June 2018.[48] Rachel Griffin, CEO of the Trust since 2012, died of cancer in August 2019.[50]

Commemorative windowEdit

Lamplugh and her family were members of the congregation at All Saints Church, East Sheen, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. She is commemorated there in a stained glass window which was installed in 1996.[51]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ McGredy-Hunt, Graham (January 2012). Searching for Suzy. Lulu.com. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-4478-0425-3.
  2. ^ Batty, David (22 February 2008). "Police investigate 'link' between Wright and Suzy Lamplugh". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 April 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Suzy Lamplugh 'declared dead' by her family: Seven years ago today an". The Independent. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Real Crime: Suzy Lamplugh. ITV (Television production). 12 September 2001.
  5. ^ "Fresh lead in Lamplugh case". BBC News (archive). 28 May 2000. Retrieved 2 April 2009.
  6. ^ Newton, Michael (October 2009). The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Crimes (Facts on File Crime Library) (2nd ed.). Infobase Publishing. pp. 213–214. ISBN 978-0-8160-7818-9.
  7. ^ Bennetto, Jason (27 July 2001). "Lamplugh police to re-examine unknown bodies". The Independent. London. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  8. ^ Bennetto, Jason (13 May 2000). "Suzy Lamplugh 'seized by more than one person'". The Independent. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  9. ^ Evans, Martin (23 June 2019). "Suzy Lamplugh may have used 'Mr Kipper' as a cover story". The Telegraph – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  10. ^ a b c "Suzy Lamplugh: New search in Worcestershire for body". BBC News. 10 August 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
  11. ^ "Suzy Lamplugh Cops Ponder Steve Wright Link". Daily Record. 22 February 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2009.
  12. ^ "Man quizzed over Suzy Lamplugh case". BBC News (archive). 5 December 2000. Retrieved 2 April 2009.
  13. ^ ITV. "Real Crime – Suzy Lamplugh". Archived from the original on 21 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  14. ^ "In the Footsteps of Killers: In the Footsteps of Killers - On Demand". Channel 4. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  15. ^ "In the Footsteps of Killers release date: Emilia Fox to present Channel 4 documentary". Radio Times. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  16. ^ Carter, Helen (16 November 2002). "Lamplugh suspect denies playing games with police". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 June 2008.
  17. ^ Laville, Sandra (6 November 2002). "Police name man who 'killed Suzy Lamplugh". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  18. ^ Orr, Deborah (7 December 1999). "False hopes that prey on every woman's fear". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2 April 2009.
  19. ^ Alderson, Andrew (29 April 2001). "Police switch search to barracks in West Country". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2 April 2009.
  20. ^ "Police study Lamplugh claims". BBC News (archive). 1 December 2002. Retrieved 4 June 2008.
  21. ^ Armstrong, Jeremy; McGurran, Aidan (22 February 2008). "Is Steve Wright Mr Kipper in Suzy Lamplugh murder case?". Daily Mirror. London. Retrieved 2 April 2009.
  22. ^ Addley, Esther; McVeigh, Karen (22 February 2008). "Motive still unknown as serial killer faces rest of life in prison". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 June 2008.
  23. ^ Alderson, Anderew [sic] (24 February 2008). "Steve Wright 'did not kill Suzy Lamplugh'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  24. ^ "Wright 'not linked to Suzy death'". BBC News. 14 May 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2008.
  25. ^ "Lamplugh police search for body". BBC News (archive). 11 December 2000. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
  26. ^ "Suzy Lamplugh: Police search Sutton Coldfield house". BBC News. 30 October 2018. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  27. ^ "Suzy Lamplugh: Search in Sutton Coldfield enters second week". BBC News. 5 November 2018. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  28. ^ Weaver, Matthew (12 November 2018). "Met finds no evidence in Suzy Lamplugh case after digging up garden". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  29. ^ "Suzy Lamplugh disappearance: 'No evidence' following Pershore search". BBC News. 17 July 2019.
  30. ^ "Investigation into disappearance and murder of Suzy Lamplugh continues - Metropolitan Police". 21 March 2021. Archived from the original on 21 March 2021.
  31. ^ "The Vanishing of Suzy Lamplugh". Channel 5. 16 December 2020.
  32. ^ "In the Footsteps of Killers". Channel 4. 16 June 2021.
  33. ^ Sue Cook (presenter) (16 August 1989). "Crimewatch File - August 1989 (16.08.89) - The Shirley Banks Murder" (TV Documentary). Crimewatch (BBC). Archived from the original on 21 December 2021.
  34. ^ a b c Parveen, Nazia (31 October 2018). "Suzy Lamplugh: police dig up patio of house linked to suspect". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Crimes that Shook Britain: Suzy Lamplugh. Crime+ Investigation (Television production). 25 October 2015.
  36. ^ a b Berry-Dee & Odell 2007, pp. 346–347.
  37. ^ Berry-Dee & Odell, pp. 346–347.
  38. ^ Berry-Dee 2007, pp. 346–347.
  39. ^ Berry-Dee & Odell 2007, p. 72.
  40. ^ a b Berry-Dee & Odell 2007, p. 77.
  41. ^ Johnstone, Neil (30 October 2018). "Who is John Cannan, the prime suspect in the Suzy Lamplugh case?". The Times. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  42. ^ Berry-Dee & Odell 2007, p. 79.
  43. ^ Berry-Dee & Odell 2007, pp. 78–79.
  44. ^ "The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, registered charity no. 802567". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
  45. ^ "Suzy Lamplugh: Father 'little hope left' after 30-year search". BBC News. 28 July 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  46. ^ "Suzy Lamplugh Trust – National Personal Safety Day 2018 – Stay Safe At Work". Suzy Lamplugh Trust. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  47. ^ a b "Suzy Lamplugh's mother Diana dies after having stroke". BBC News. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  48. ^ a b Blewett, Sam (12 June 2018). "Suzy Lamplugh: Murdered estate agent's father dies". The Independent. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  49. ^ Pilkington, Sue (18 August 2011). "Diana Lamplugh obituary". The Guardian. London.
  50. ^ "Rachel Griffin obituary". The Times. 30 September 2019. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  51. ^ "About All Saints". allsaintschurch.org.uk. Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2014.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit