Officers hunting missing Suzy Lamplugh find possible new clue as forensic review launched in 37-year-old case

6 July 2023, 07:16

Suzy Lamplugh disappeared in 1986, with John Cannan the prime suspect
Suzy Lamplugh disappeared in 1986, with John Cannan the prime suspect. Picture: Met Police/Alamy

By Kit Heren

Police looking for Suzy Lamplugh, an estate agent who went missing in 1986, have launched a forensic review into a possible new clue to her disappearance.

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Ms Lamplugh vanished aged 25 after going to show a client a flat in Fulham, west London, on July 28 that year.

She was never found and was declared dead in absentia in 1993, but the case has remained a mystery.

Police declared convicted murderer and rapist John Cannan their prime suspect, but there was insufficient evidence to charge him.

Now officers have launched a forensic review of hairs, fibres and body tissue samples found in Ms Lamplugh's abandoned car, the Mirror has reported.

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Suzy Lamplugh
Suzy Lamplugh. Picture: Met Police

Police also found a smudged fingerprint on the rear-view mirror of the car that they believe could belong to the killer.

They were able to extract a small amount of DNA from it in 2000, but not enough to give a profile of its owner.

Jim Dickie, a former detective on the case, said: "I am unaware if the DNA sample from the fingerprint has been progressed and whether there is sufficient to test it without destroying it.

"My advice from the experts was that scientific advances may improve some time in the future and DNA science may develop to enable testing without destroying it.

37 Shorrolds Road
37 Shorrolds Road. Picture: Alamy

"I am unaware if this is still the case or a review and test have taken place and if so what the result was. Certainly up to two to three years ago this had not taken place."

Scotland Yard declined to comment on specifics but said a review had taken place this year.

Ms Lamplugh's parents died before finding out what happened to their daughter.

Diana Lamplugh was diagnosed with dementia in 2003 and died in 2011. Suzy's father Paul, a retired solicitor, died in 2018.

Ms Lamplugh was due to show round a "Mr Kipper" round a flat in Shorrolds Road at 12.45pm, when she disappeared.

Diana Lamplugh, mother of Suzy Lamplugh
Diana Lamplugh, mother of Suzy Lamplugh. Picture: Alamy

Her car was found missing in Stevenage Road, with the seat further back than usual - suggesting a struggle, or that she was not the last person to drive it.

Eyewitnesses said they saw a woman who matched Suzy's description leaving the flat with a man at around 1pm and getting into the car.

A friend said she saw Suzy with a man she didn't recognise driving north up the Fulham Palace Road at 2.45pm.

She described the man as "extremely smart", between 25-30 years old and wearing a dark suit. She said the man had dark, swept back hair.

File of an artist's impression of 'Mr Kipper'
Artist's impression of 'Mr Kipper'. Picture: Alamy

Officers hunted in the River Thames for Suzy, but never found her body.

In 2002, they declared Cannan their prime suspect.

He was already in jail for the murder of Shirley Banks, which took place in Bristol in 1987. Cannan is up for parole in September.