Key events in Suzy Lamplugh’s disappearance and murder

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

Police confirmed on Tuesday that they were to excavate a garden in Sutton Coldfield which once belonged to the mother of prime suspect John Cannan in a bid to solve the mystery.

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.

POLICE Lamplugh/ diary
The page from the diary of missing estate agent Suzy Lamplugh, showing her appointment with ‘Mr Kipper’ (PA)

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.

Lamplugh – Stalker Leaflet
Diana Lamplugh and her husband Peter founded the Suzy Lamplugh Trust (Johnny Green/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.

– 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.

Suzy Lamplugh murder
John Cannan, prime suspect in the disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh, was jailed for the murder of Shirley Banks (Avon and Somerset Police/PA)

– 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 of the case because of the complex twists in the case.

POLICE Lamplugh/Barracks file
Suzy Lamplugh’s mother was told her daughter’s body could be in the grounds of the abandoned Army barracks in Norton, Worcestershire (Barry Batchelor/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 scene several times, but are not thought to have made significant developments.

Hunt for Suzy Lamplugh’s body
Metropolitan Police detectives conducting a search near Norton Barracks in Worcestershire in 2000 (David Jones/PA)

– 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” to 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.

Hunt for Suzy Lamplugh’s body
Police search a field next to the B4084 near Pershore, in Worcestershire (David Jones/PA)

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

Suzy Lamplugh case – Diana Lamplugh
Diana Lamplugh, who died in 2011, without ever seeing justice for her daughter (Chris Young/PA)

– 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 the 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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