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Key moments in the unsolved disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh

The murder of the 25-year-old estate agent is one of the most notorious cold cases in recent criminal history.

Suzy Lamplugh (Handout/PA)
Suzy Lamplugh (Handout/PA)
Suzy Lamplugh disappeared at the age of 25 in Fulham, south-west London, in 1986. (PA)

The murder of 25-year-old Suzy Lamplugh is one of the most notorious cold cases in recent criminal history.

Here is a timeline of events:

– July 28 1986: Miss Lamplugh leaves her estate agency office in Fulham, west London, at 12.40pm to meet a client called Mr Kipper.

At 10pm, her white Ford Fiesta is discovered in Stevenage Road, Fulham. The doors are unlocked, the handbrake is off and the ignition keys are gone. Her purse, still containing £15, is in the pocket of the driver’s door.

A massive police hunt is launched.

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Suzy Lamplugh disappeared at the age of 25 in Fulham, south-west London, in 1986. (PA)

– December 1986: The Suzy Lamplugh Trust is set up by Suzy’s parents, Paul and Diana Lamplugh, to tackle violence and support stalking victims.

– October 1987: With few leads, the police inquiry into the disappearance is closed. The file remains open.


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John Cannan denies any involvement in the death.(PA)

– April 1989: John Cannan is jailed for life with a minimum of 35 years for the murder of newlywed Shirley Banks in Bristol. He is also sentenced for a rape and an attempted kidnap.

– February 1994: Miss Lamplugh is officially declared dead, presumed murdered.

– December 1999: Her mother receives new information from a secret source claiming her daughter’s body could be within the grounds of abandoned Army barracks at Norton, Worcestershire.

Scotland Yard says the information is not new but orders a review because of the complex twists in the case.

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Diana Lamplugh, mother of Suzy, before her death in 2011. (Sam Pearce/PA)

– December 4 2000: Cannan is questioned in prison in connection with the kidnap and murder of Miss Lamplugh. No charges are brought.

– December 11 2000: Officers begin a fingertip search of a disused brickworks and a surrounding copse and lake near Norton Barracks in Worcestershire.

Investigators return to the scene several times but are not thought to have made significant developments.

– June 14 2002: Police submit a new file to the CPS to examine if there is enough evidence to prosecute a suspect.

– November 5 2002: Mr Lamplugh speaks of his “anger and frustration” at news the CPS will not charge Cannan, citing insufficient evidence.

– December 2002: Reports first surface that Miss Lamplugh may be buried in the garden of the West Midlands home previously owned by the suspect’s mother, Sheila.

There is talk of excavating the garden in Sutton Coldfield but Jim Dickie, the detective superintendent leading the investigation at the time, later confirmed his officers did not dig or perform an “extensive” search of the home.

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A street sign on Shipton Road in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, where detectives searched for clues. (Pete Byrne/PA)

– August 2010: Police end their search in a meadow between Pershore and Drakes Broughton in Worcestershire with no remains found.

– August 18 2011: Mrs Lamplugh dies aged 75 after suffering a stroke.

– June 12 2018: At the age of 87, Mr Lamplugh dies after living with Parkinson’s disease. His death ends hopes that the parents may see justice for their daughter.

– October 29 2018: Investigators led by the Metropolitan Police return to Cannan’s mother’s former home in Shipton Road, Sutton Coldfield, to prepare to excavate its garden in the hope of ending the 32-year mystery.

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Police forensics tents in a back garden on Shipton Road in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands. (Pete Byrne/PA)

– November 2 2018: Cannan reiterates his innocence in the case, saying through his solicitor that he hopes the search of the property will conclude swiftly to “end speculation” that he was responsible.

– November 12 2018: The “painstaking” two-week search of the garden finds no evidence. Police insist the case remains open.

– July 3 2019: Police begin searching land in Pershore, Worcestershire following new information about the disappearance.

PA

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