Suzy Lamplugh: Inside mysterious disappearance of woman who vanished after meeting stranger

Suzy Lamplugh: Inside mysterious disappearance of woman who vanished after meeting stranger

Estate agent Susannah Jane Lamplugh went missing in broad daylight, during a working day in 1986, sparking one of the UK's largest missing person enquiries before being declared dead in 1994.

The disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh is one of the largest missing person cases in the UK, which became a murder case when she was declared dead in 1994 - even though her body was never found.

25-year-old estate agent Suzy disappeared after leaving her office, Sturgis and Sons, to show a man known only as "Mr Kipper" around a house for her 12.45pm appointment with him in Fulham, southwest London in 1986.

She had taken her house and car keys and a purse with £15 and credit cards, but left her handbag behind.

Suzy Lamplugh was reported missing on 28 July 1986.

Around 10 minutes later she was seen waiting outside an empty property, 37 Shorrald’s Road, which had only been on the market for one week, and was joined by a man who was presumed to be "Kipper" at around 1pm.

They were seen walking away from the house just minutes later - and that was the last confirmed sighting of her before her manager reported her disappearance to the police at around 6.45 pm.

The case is now the subject of a Channel 4 documentary, In the Footsteps of Killers.

According to the Trust made in Suzy's name, her mother, the late Diana Lamplugh recalled the phone call she received from Suzy’s manager. He said to her: '‘Do you have any idea where your daughter might be, Mrs Lamplugh? We wondered whether she could have called into home for lunch.

"I don’t want to worry you, Mrs Lamplugh …. but Susannah left to show a house to a client just before lunch and she has not returned. We just wanted to check anywhere we could."

Diana claimed that it was unlike her daughter to not stick to the rules of her job and check-in.

The disappearance sparked Britain’s biggest-ever missing person’s inquiry, but detectives were never able to trace her body and failed to gather enough evidence to charge their prime suspect.

Her Ford Fiesta car was recovered on the day she went missing, about a mile away.

The late Diana Lamplugh (Suzy's mum) recalled the moment she found out her daughter was missing.

But even without a body, she was declared dead, presumably murdered, in 1994, eight years after her disappearance.

Convicted sex killer John Cannan, who has been interviewed several times in connection with the case, remains a prime suspect in the investigation as three days before she vanished Cannan was released from a hostel at Wormwood Scrubs Prison.

He had been serving a six-year sentence for the rape and murder of newlywed Shirley Banks in Bristol in 1989.

The spotlight was shone most recently on Cannan in October last year when detectives pulled up a patio at his mother's former home in Sutton Coldfield.

But despite a two-week search of the property, no evidence was recovered.

The suspect cannot face trial for Suzy's murder while her body is still missing - but Brits are still fascinated with the case.

Journalist, Nick Ross, who covered the story on Crimewatch at the time, appeared on Sky's documentary of the case The Mystery of Suzy Lamplugh, discussing why there was such an interest.

Family album … Suzy, right, with brother Richard and sisters Lizzie and Tamsin.

Ross explained that people are more interested in her disappearance because she was a young, attractive, middle-class woman.

He said: "It’s the cliches of crime which fascinate. Suzy Lamplugh was attractive, female, young, and middle class.

"It would have been very different if she hadn’t been good-looking or had come from a tenement somewhere, from a disrupted, dysfunctional background. It’s Midsomer Murders.

"People tend to be more interested in the murders of people from privileged backgrounds than underprivileged ones."