Prime suspect in Suzy Lamplugh cold case murder is ‘on death bed’ as family plead for him to reveal what happened to her

THE prime suspect in the kidnap and murder of missing estate agent Suzy Lamplugh has just days to live, The Sun on Sunday can reveal.

Suspected serial killer John Cannan, 68, was rushed to hospital from his top security prison cell last month.

Suspected serial killer John Canna has just days to live


Suspected serial killer John Canna has just days to liveCredit: Rex
He is the prime suspect in the kidnap and murder of missing estate agent Suzy Lamplugh in 1986


He is the prime suspect in the kidnap and murder of missing estate agent Suzy Lamplugh in 1986Credit: Rex

But he is now receiving palliative care in a jail medical bed as his life slowly ebbs away.

Cannan’s death would end any chance of finally solving one of Britain’s biggest ever missing persons cases.

Scotland Yard named him as its only suspect in 2002 and Cannan has previously admitted: “There are one or two things I haven’t even been caught for.”

Last night the cop who led the hunt for Suzy urged him: “It’s time to cleanse your soul.”

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And Suzy’s brother Richard told the Mirror: “I would like Cannan, if he does know, to tell us what happened to Suze.

“After all these years, I would like him to finally let us know what happened. It would mean a lot to the family.”

Cannan, a convicted murderer and rapist, is thought to have terminal cancer.

Sources said his health had been “steadily failing” for weeks.
One told The Sun: “The fear is Cannan will now take the secret of Suzy’s fate to his grave.”

Cannan suffered a major stroke in 2019 but is believed to have been diagnosed with cancer soon after.

He was taken from maximum security Full Sutton jail, near York, to a local hospital under escort a fortnight ago.

Cannan underwent scans and multiple tests before being handcuffed to a bed in a private room away from other patients.

The source added: “He was largely bed-ridden. After a few days it was agreed that he’d return to prison for palliative care. He knows his end is near.”

Like any category A con on an escorted hospital visit, Cannan was watched 24/7 by two prison officers and was handcuffed at all times.

The source added: “If he moved the escort moved with him.”
Suzy, 25, vanished in July 1986 after going to meet a client called “Mr Kipper” at an address in Fulham, West London.

She was formally declared dead in 1993, with the Met naming Cannan as their only suspect nine years later.

He has always denied any involvement but has previously bragged to cops: “There are one or two things I haven’t even been caught for.”

That sickening boast came after he made an empty pledge to Suzy’s mother, Diana, adding: “I’ve always said I’ll help Mrs Lamplugh in any way I possibly can and I’ve given my word, I won’t break that words.”

Diana Lamplugh passed away in 2011, and husband Paul in 2018, without ever knowing their daughter’s fate.

Last night ex-Met Detective Superintendent Jim Dickie, who led the last major investigation into Suzy’s kidnap and murder, called for

Cannan to “cleanse his soul” and reveal where he disposed of her body.

Mr Dickie told The Sun: “The indications are that his time is limited.
“He has not got much quality of life.

“There is clearly not going to be any judicial process in the future whatever information he gives up before departing this world.

“This is an opportunity for Cannan to cleanse his soul and above all give solace to the Lamplugh family.

“It is a chance for him to give them closure and bury Suzy with dignity at a time and place of their choosing.”

He added: “By telling the truth there would be no sanction for Cannan on this earth now.

“But it could cleanse his conscience and allow him to make his peace with God.

“It can’t be easy to live with what he has done.”


Cannan is due a parole hearing when his 35-year minimum tariff expires in October.

He is currently serving three life sentences for the 1987 murder of newlywed Shirley Banks, the attempted kidnap of a businesswoman and a rape the year before.

In theory, a parole board could recommend a move to an open prison by the end of the year.

But his rapidly weakening health means it is likely he will now die in jail.

Cannan’s admission about the crimes he had got away with came during interviews at Full Sutton by Mr Dickie’s team in 2001.

Mr Dickie added: “There is no doubt in my mind that he is a serial killer and has also been responsible for serious sex attacks for which he has never been caught.

“But even someone like Cannan must have regrets and sorrow for what he has done and the lives he has taken and destroyed.

“He could make a dying declaration which could be used under English law for a trial of facts even if the offender is dead.

“The person would need to write out that they are in fear of imminent death and the statement is being made of their own free will.

“A doctor would have to confirm that the person is in fear of death.

“At this stage it would be the only judicial pathway available to bring justice to the surviving members of Suzy’s family.”

Despite a wealth of circumstantial evidence, the CPS ruled there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Cannan in 2002 following the re-investigation by Mr Dickie’s team.

However, police took the unusual decision to name Cannan as the prime suspect for Suzy’s abduction and murder of missing estate agent Suzy.

She vanished aged 25 in July 1986 after going to meet a client named ‘Mr Kipper’ at a house she was selling in Fulham, West London.

At least six major searches have been carried out for her remains in rural locations in Somerset, Worcestershire and at his mother’s former home in Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, but to no avail.

Mr Dickie said: “To have a homicide trial you need a body to pursue the case and that has undermined attempts to bring Cannan to justice.

“We were able to place Cannan in the Fulham area the day before and on the day Suzy went missing and witnesses saw him close to the house where she was going to meet Mr Kipper.”

Mr Dickie believes Cannan is also responsible for the death of Bournemouth insurance clerk Sandra Court, 26, whose body was found in a water-filled ditch on the Avon Causeway in May 1986.

Cannan is serving a life sentence for the murder of 29-year-old Bristol newlywed Shirley Banks, whose body was found in a stream perversely named Dead Woman’s Ditch in Somerset’s Quantock Hills.

“After all these years, I would like him to finally let us know what happened. It would mean a lot to the family.”

Suzy’s brother Richard

Mr Dickie said: “It is not just the murder of Suzy Lamplugh he was responsible for, there is Sandra Court and there may be others we don’t know about.

“We don’t know what is going on in Cannan’s mind and nobody can force him to confess now.

“If, as it seems, his illness is terminal then now is the time to set the record straight and get it off his conscience before he is longer with us.

“He told us during his interview ‘there are somethings I have never been caught for.’

“What did he mean by that? This is his last chance to say and I would urge him to come clean now.”

Mr Dickie believes Cannan deposited Suzy’s body in the Grand Union Canal at Brentford, West London.

A lorry driver, now deceased, saw a man strongly resembling Cannan tipping a large blue suitcase into the water early in the morning close to Gallows Bridge.

Mr Dickie has called for the Met Police to drain the canal and says: “Water has featured in the other murders. Both Shirley and Sandra’s bodies were found submerged.

“In addition, Cannan has also gone to the trouble to issue a denial when searches have been carried out elsewhere and say police are barking up the wrong tree.

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“But he has never made any comment on the suggestion he put Suzy in the Brentford canal.

“It is not too late now for him to finally give up Suzy’s body and give her family closure.”

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