Police to look for Suzy Lamplugh on SAS site

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The Independent Online

Scotland Yard confirmed yesterday that it was investigating new evidence that suggests the body of Suzy Lamplugh, the estate agent who disappeared 13 years ago, may be buried on the site of a former army barracks.

Scotland Yard confirmed yesterday that it was investigating new evidence that suggests the body of Suzy Lamplugh, the estate agent who disappeared 13 years ago, may be buried on the site of a former army barracks.

Detectives from Scotland Yard are evaluating information that claims Ms Lamplugh is buried on former Ministry of Defence land at Norton, Hereford and Worcestershire - a site The Independent has learnt was secretly used for training by the SAS.

The information was passed to the police a month ago by Ms Lamplugh's mother, Diana. While police sources were being cautious yesterday, suggesting that the information was neither "new or significant", Mrs Lamplugh said it was the best lead since her daughter disappeared in 1986.

"It is the most interesting piece of information in regard to finding her body that we have had in 13 years," she said. "The information is precise. It corroborates certain things that we had previously been told. I don't want to say who the person is or the exact whereabouts of the location but I think this is the closest we have been to finding my daughter."

Ms Lamplugh disappeared in July 1986, after she left her office in Fulham, west London. An entry later discovered in her diary showed that the estate agent had been due to show a property to a "Mr Kipper".

The 25-year-old was later seen getting into a black BMW car driven by a man she had met at the £130,000 Victorian property. Neighbours were able to draw up a photofit likeness of a man seen at the house with her. She has not been seen since.

Mrs Lamplugh remains convinced her daughter was killed by John Cannan, who was convicted in 1989 of the murder of Shirley Banks, 29, a sales manager from Bristol. Her battered body was found in the Quantock Hills in Somerset. She had been held captive, repeatedly raped and bludgeoned to death.

During the investigation into Ms Banks' murder, a number of links emerged between Cannan and Ms Lamplugh.

Cannan was known to former fellow prisoners as Kipper; he bore a strong resemblance to the photofit suspect; and he had been released from prison, after serving six years for rape, just three days before Ms Lamplugh vanished. A former girlfriend, Gilly Paige, also claimed Cannan had once driven her to the barracks.

Ms Paige denied yesterday that Cannan had ever confessed to Ms Lamplugh's murder. "I am not prepared to discuss the circumstances surrounding it," she said. "I told the police all I knew at the time. I do not want to drag up stuff from years ago." Although it is understood Cannan has been questioned about Ms Lamplugh several times, he has insisted he was not responsible. His solicitor, James Moriarty, who has repeatedly denied his client's involvement, was unavailable for comment yesterday .

A new officer, Detective Superindent Sean Sawyer, hasbeen appointed to oversee the Lamplugh case. A spokesman for Scotland Yard said Detective Chief Superintendent Brian Edwards had retired and MrSawyer was now in charge of the case. The spokesman said Det Supt Sawyer, who has not yet met Mrs Lamplugh to discuss the case, had not been appointed as a result of the new information.

"We are always receptive to new information and any fresh information will be evaluated," he said. "From time to time information is passed to the inquiry team and it is considered and followed up appropriately."

A spokesman for West Mercia Police said the force had not been contacted by Scotland Yard about plans to search the former army barracks.

Mrs Lamplugh said that while she was hopeful the new information would lead to the discovery of her daughter's body, she was trying not to raise her expectations. "We would all like to find her but we are aware that we have had lots of other leads in the past," she said.

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