I did not kill Suzy, says sus­pect as dig goes on

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - News - SAM BLEWETT news@west­erndai­ly­press.co.uk

SUS­PECT John Can­nan hopes the search of his mother’s for­mer home will con­clude swiftly to “end spec­u­la­tion” that he mur­dered Suzy Lam­plugh, his solic­i­tor has said.

Can­nan is cur­rently serv­ing three life sen­tences for killing Bris­tol woman Shirley Banks, whose body was found in a stream on the Quan­tock hills in Som­er­set.

In his first com­ments since ex­ca­va­tions in Sut­ton Cold­field be­gan ear­lier this week, Can­nan re­it­er­ated yes­ter­day his de­nial that he killed es­tate agent Miss Lam­plugh who went miss­ing 32 years ago.

Spe­cial­ist foren­sics teams have been digging in the gar­den of the semide­tached home in the West Mid­lands for five days, with the search ex­pected to con­tinue into the week­end.

Solic­i­tor Matthew Claughton re­ceived a let­ter on Fri­day from his client in Full Sut­ton prison.

Mr Claughton said: “John Can­nan con­tin­ues to deny in­volve­ment in the 1986 dis­ap­pear­ance of es­tate agent Suzy Lam­plugh.

“Mr Can­nan hopes that the search of his mother’s for­mer home will con­clude swiftly so as to bring to an end spec­u­la­tion as to his in­volve­ment in this mat­ter.”

Can­nan has no idea why the search has come now, with the de­vel­op­ment coming “out of the blue”, the solic­i­tor added.

Chel­tenham-born Miss Lam­plugh was de­clared dead, pre­sumed mur­dered, af­ter go­ing miss­ing at the age of 25, hav­ing left her west London of­fices to meet a mys­tery client known only as Mr Kip­per.

Can­nan was named by po­lice as their prime sus­pect in 2002 and Miss Lam­plugh’s death has re­mained one of the UK’s most no­to­ri­ous cold cases.

Three days be­fore her dis­ap­pear­ance, Can­nan had been re­leased from a hos­tel at Worm­wood Scrubs Prison, where he served a six-year sen­tence for rape.

He was also con­nected to the case due to his strong re­sem­blance to an e-fit of her ab­duc­tor and, ac­cord­ing to reports, he was nick­named Kip­per while serv­ing his ear­lier sen­tence.

The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice are lead­ing the search at the Shipton Road prop­erty that was formerly owned by Sheila Can­nan.

Of­fi­cers have dis­man­tled a garage at the rear of the gar­den and used an­gle grinders to dig through its con­crete base. Pa­tio slabs have also been re­moved.

The home was pur­chased in 1992 from Mrs Can­nan by the Carey fam­ily, who the Met stressed are in no way di­rectly con­nected to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Phillip Carey, an in­sur­ance mar­keter and fa­ther of two, has said the search has been “sur­real”.

“Ei­ther (the prop­erty) is elim­i­nated from it en­tirely or, if there is some­thing found, it’s clo­sure for the fam­ily, and this tragic story can come to an end,” the 52-year-old added.

Po­lice car­ried out in­ves­ti­ga­tions at the ad­dress in 2003, fol­low­ing a case re­view in 2000, but did not dig up the gar­den.

Jim Dickie, the de­tec­tive su­per­in­ten­dent who led the in­quiry be­tween 2000 and 2006, con­firmed that his of­fi­cers did not ex­ca­vate or per­form an “ex­ten­sive” search of the home.

“We had no ev­i­dence or in­tel­li­gence to lead us to be­lieve that John Can­nan may have se­creted Suzy’s body there,” he told the BBC.

Scot­land Yard would not com­ment yes­ter­day on whether in­ves­ti­ga­tors have dis­cov­ered any­thing dur­ing the lat­est searches.

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