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5 unanswered questions in the Suzy Lamplugh murder mystery – from the license plate clue to why the police ‘ignored’ key witnesses

Suzy Lamplugh’s family is running away from ZEIT for answers about her disappearance.

The prime suspect in her murder, alleged serial killer John Cannan, 68, is reportedly on his deathbed receiving end-of-life palliative care.

Suzy went missing in July 1986 and her disappearance was never solved

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Suzy went missing in July 1986 and her disappearance was never solvedPhoto credit: Shutterstock
John Cannan is the prime suspect in her murder, but he denies involvement

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John Cannan is the prime suspect in her murder, but he denies involvementPhoto credit: Rex

Estate agent Suzy, 25, went to show a mystery Mr Kipper a house in Fulham, west London, in July 1986 and was never seen again. Six years later she was pronounced dead.

Cannan was questioned about her disappearance in 1989 and arrested for murder in 2000 – but in 2002 the CPS ruled there was insufficient evidence to charge him.

To date, police have been unable to locate Suzy’s body or convict a murderer, resulting in Suzy’s parents Diana and Paul going to their graves without the answers they longed for.

Her disappearance is one of the UK’s most notorious unsolved crimes.

Suzy’s brother Richard, like the rest of her family, is convinced that Cannan is the man behind her murder.

He told the Mirror: “I want Cannan, if he knows, to tell us what happened to Suze. After all these years, I want him to finally tell us what happened. It would mean a lot to the family.”

Here we look at the unanswered questions that haunt the case.

Who is the mysterious Mr. Kipper?

On the day of her disappearance, the real estate agent was visiting a mysterious Mr. Kipper

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On the day of her disappearance, the real estate agent was visiting a mysterious Mr. KipperPhoto credit: Rex

For decades, police, family and friends were baffled by the identity of Suzy’s last date on July 28, a “Mr. Kipper” who was viewing a property on Shorrolds Road.

No one has ever come forward claiming they are the man she showed a house to, leading many to believe it was Cannan.

Adding to the theory is the fact that the convicted killer was nicknamed “Kipper” by residents of the bail hostel where he lived, due to his penchant for the fish, his habit of taking kips regularly, and tipper-style ties 1960s wear.

However, these aren’t the only theories about the bizarre mystery man. A sinister hypothesis has it that if you add DNA to the word Kipper, you get Kidnapper.

Some amateur detectives believe this demonstrates the sinister intentions of Suzy’s killer all along and that they always intended to hold her against her will.

Others have suggested that Kipper rhymes slang for Jack the Ripper.

There is another theory that Mr. Kipper didn’t exist at all. In 2019, former Scotland Yard investigator David Videcette claimed it was invented by Suzy to cover her tracks so she could leave the office.

David Videcette believes Suzy's appointment was faked in order to get unemployed

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David Videcette believes Suzy’s appointment was faked in order to get unemployedPhoto credit: YouTube

The former cop, who worked on the case for three years, believes Suzy never actually went to Sharrods Road, despite witnesses claiming they saw her with a man.

He told the Daily Telegraph: “I firmly believe Suzy put Mr Kipper’s entry in her diary because she needed to go out quickly to meet someone else and she shouldn’t leave the office unsupervised.

“I believe the answer to this mystery lies in another appointment that Suzy kept, but that has never been investigated.”

Videcette’s theory was adamantly rejected by Suzy’s mother, Diana, who insisted her daughter was unlikely to break the rules and regulations of her job.

The police suspected at the time that Suzy had known Mr Kipper. She had told her roommate and family that she had been on a few dates with a man from Bristol who had been harassing her with calls and sending her flowers ever since.

Once, after he took Suzy to the car race, she told her mother she was a bit scared of him and would stop at lunch.

Shortly after Suzy disappeared, Cannan moved to Bristol from west London and joined a dating agency posing as a businessman.

Who is the man in last sighting?

Suzy's parents died without knowing what happened to their daughter

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Suzy’s parents died without knowing what happened to their daughterPhoto credit: Shutterstock

The last known sighting of Suzy was her getting into a black BMW with a man carrying a bottle of champagne decorated with ribbons and balloons.

For Daphne Sargent, one of Cannan’s exes, that was enough to worry that the convicted killer had gotten his hands on the real estate agent.

“When I heard about Suzy … I knew it was John,” she said. “It had all the hallmarks – right down to the champagne.”

She described the criminal as “smooth-speaking, attractive, well-dressed and irresistible” before turning violent in 1980.

She changed her name to escape him and said she was scared of “the murderous look in his eyes” as he attacked her in bed.

Despite Daphne’s claims, Cannon remained stoic in his denial of the murder.

Did Cannan dump the body in the canal?

A witness claimed he saw Cannan throw a bag into the Grand Union Canal in Brentford

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A witness claimed he saw Cannan throw a bag into the Grand Union Canal in BrentfordCredit: The Sun

In 2020, The Sun revealed that a suspected witness had gone to police three times and claimed to have seen Cannan throwing a suitcase into the Grand Union Canal in Brentford days after Suzy was reported missing.

The man said he spotted a man fitting the suspect’s description on a wheeled cart around 5am with a large holdall – but the information was never shared with the investigative team.

The witness, known only as Dave, recognized Cannan from newspaper articles and told a pal that “his eyes were staring.”

The lorry driver was so convinced it was Cannan that he attended his subsequent trial at Exeter Crown Court for another murder in 1989 to see him in person.

Speaking on the Sky documentary The Mystery of Suzy Lamplugh, former Detective Superintendent Jim Dickie, who led a re-investigation into the case, said someone at Brentford Police Department “screwed it up”.

“There should be an officer’s information in the major incident room with the information he gave,” he said. “And that should have been investigated.”

By the time the tip was passed, Dave had died of a heart attack. Dickie says if it had been followed up at the time it could have resulted in a body being recovered.

It also meant the police never dredged the canal.

Cannan has the form of throwing bodies into water. He is serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of newlywed Shirley Banks. Her body was found in a Somerset stream six months after she was abducted from a Bristol city center car park in October 1987.

License plate puzzle

Suzy's car was found with the doors unlocked and her purse inside

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Suzy’s car was found with the doors unlocked and her purse insidePhoto credit: Shutterstock

After Suzy’s disappearance, Cannan kidnapped and killed Shirley and then attempted to kidnap a saleswoman in Leamington Spa with a knife.

He was arrested while fleeing the scene of the crime. Police found Shirley’s car in his garage with a new number plate: SLP 386.

Jim Dickie previously said, “I would suggest that SLP are Suzy Lamplugh’s initials, with 86 representing the year she disappeared.”

Cannan had been released from prison just three days before Suzy’s disappearance after serving five years for rape.

He claimed he bought the car, a Mini, at auction and didn’t change the license plates.

In 2000, a criminologist also uncovered DNA evidence linking Suzy to a Ford Sierra Cannan that was once used with the false SLP 386S license plate.

Meanwhile, Suzy’s own white Ford Fiesta was unlocked, her seat pushed back, the handbrake released, and Suzy’s purse and straw hat found still inside after she disappeared.

The car was about a mile from their appointment at Shorrolds Road.

Why did he make two claims to burial sites?

Police officers excavated Cannan's mother's former home, believing Suzy may be buried there

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Police officers excavated Cannan’s mother’s former home, believing Suzy may be buried therePhoto credit: Dan Charity – The Sun
Suzy's brother Richard hopes to find out what happened to his sister

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Suzy’s brother Richard hopes to find out what happened to his sisterPhoto credit: Channel 5

An ex-girlfriend and former cellmate of Cannan both claimed he told them where he buried Suzy’s body.

His former lover told police he boasted about raping and then burying the estate agent’s body at Norton Barracks in Worcestershire – but she retracted her statement shortly afterwards.

Police conducted a search of the site in December 2010 and later returned with a special ground-penetrating radar.

They returned to the site for a third time after a witness came forward who claimed he remembered a mound of earth that appeared around the time Suzy disappeared. But nothing was found.

Police raided a second location after a former cellmate of Cannan’s claimed the killer told him he buried Suzy under the patio of his mother’s house in 2001.

In 2018, police officers went to Sutton Coldfield’s property and dug up the garden.

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Around 15 officers from the Metropolitan Police and West Midlands Police were involved in the search.

Once again, the two-week dig proved unsuccessful, leaving Suzy’s family disappointed.

https://www.the-sun.com/news/5549534/suzy-lamplugh-murder-john-cannan-suspect-mystery/ 5 unanswered questions in the Suzy Lamplugh murder mystery – from the license plate clue to why the police ‘ignored’ key witnesses

DevanCole

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