October 30, 2018
Officers also dismantle garage at Birmingham property linked to unsolved case from 1986
Suzy Lamplugh murder: police dig up garden at suspects former home
Police investigating the cold case of Suzy Lamplugh, an estate agent who disappeared in 1986, have begun digging up a garden and dismantling a garage at a home previously owned by the prime suspect’s mother.
Lamplugh was 25 when she vanished after leaving her west London offices to meet a client known only as Mr Kipper.
She was officially declared dead, presumed murdered, in 1994, but no one has been convicted.42.jpgThe Metropolitan police confirmed on Tuesday that officers were searching premises in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham. They said the occupants of the property were not connected to the investigation.
The house was purchased from the mother of John Cannan, who was jailed for life in 1989 for the rape and murder of Shirley Banks. Police named him as the prime suspect in Lamplugh’s presumed murder in 2002 and have questioned him several times. He has denied the allegation.
The owner of the home, Phillip Carey, 52, said he bought it from Sheila Cannan about 26 years ago. Officers arrived at the property on Monday and had previously searched it in 2003, he told the Press Association.
Specialist forensic scientists from the private company Alecto attended the scene.
Three forensic tents were erected in the garden and blue sheeting covered what is believed to be the site of a garage built over a concrete base. The sound of an angle grinder could be heard as the search continued. Later, forensics officers could be seen pushing wheelbarrows of debris towards a skip at the rear of the property. Concrete covered in soil could be seen in the skip.
Jim Dickie, the detective who led the investigation at the time of Lamplugh’s disappearance, confirmed officers had previously visited the home but no thorough searches were conducted and the garden was not excavated.
“We had no evidence or intelligence to lead us to believe that John Cannan may have secreted Suzy’s body there,” he told the BBC.
Speaking to Sky News, Dickie insisted his officers left “no stone unturned” in the search for Lamplugh’s body.
“My best guess is that the police have received new information or intelligence which would lead them to believe that there’s a body maybe buried at that location. Hopefully they find her body, but my head tells me that is highly unlikely.”
A Met spokesman said: “The search follows information received in relation to a historical unsolved investigation being led by the Met’s homicide and major crime command.”
Officers from West Midlands police were supporting Scotland Yard.
On the day of her disappearance, witnesses reported seeing Lamplugh arguing with a man outside a property in Fulham, south-west London. Her white Ford Fiesta was later found just over a mile away.
Three days earlier, Cannan had been released from a hostel at Wormwood Scrubs prison, where he had been serving a six-year sentence for rape.
He bore a strong resemblance to an e-fit of the suspected abductor, according to Dickie.
“We eliminated all the other suspects and John Cannan was firmly in the frame for Suzy’s abduction and murder. And he still remains the main suspect to this day,” he told the BBC.
“There is no doubt that John Cannan was in Fulham on the day Suzy went missing. He was Mr Kipper. If you look at the photofit of Mr Kipper, that was John Cannan. He has raped a number of women … he has abducted a number of women. It all ties in with John Cannan.”
Cannan, now 64, has been questioned several times over the murder and has repeatedly denied the allegation.
He was ordered to serve a minimum of 35 years in prison, meaning he would be eligible to be considered for parole from 2024. But at the time of his sentencing, the then lord chief justice, Lord Lane, said he would “probably never be safe to release”.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, which her family set up to support victims of stalking, said: “The thoughts of everyone at Suzy Lamplugh Trust are with Suzy’s family today. We continue the work of [her parents] Paul and Diana to reduce violence and aggression in society, supporting workplaces to help their lone and frontline workers be safer and feel safer.
“Today’s news reminds us once again of the continuing tragedy of Suzy’s story and the importance of employers taking responsibility for the personal safety of their staff.”

Suzy Lamplugh murder: police dig up garden at suspects former home
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