Killer suspected of Suzy Lamplugh's murder launches freedom bid

Suzy Lamplugh prime suspect launches bid to walk free: John Cannan, 68, has parole board hearing on MONDAY after spending 35 years in prison for battering newlywed to death

  • John Cannan, 68, will appear before a Parole Board panel on Monday in Yorkshire
  • He has served his minimum 35-year term for the 1987 murder of Shirley Banks
  • Cannan may face questions on new evidence on Suzy Lamplugh’s disappearance
  • His transfer to an open jail could pave the way for release in 18 months’ time

Suzy Lamplugh’s suspected murderer is making a bid for freedom next week, trying to convince a parole board to send him to an open jail.

John Cannan, 68, is looking to move out of his Full Sutton Prisoner in East Yorkshire after serving his minimum 35-year term for the 1987 murder of Shirley Banks in Bristol.

Cannan will appear before the board on Monday, according to The Sun, facing questions on any new evidence that has been collected since he was last spoken to in connection with Suzy’s murder.

His transfer to an open jail could pave the way for release in approximately 18 months’ time. 

Cannan, a former car salesman serving time for multiple sex offences, is the only suspect in the disappearance of estate agent Lamplugh, who went to meet a house buyer in London calling himself ‘Mr Kipper’ in 1986 and has not been seen since.

She was only 25 at the time, with the case remaining officially unsolved.

But in a rare move in November 2002, Scotland Yard said they believe Cannan was behind her disappearance, despite having insufficient evidence to charge him.

Cannan maintains he knows the real identity of the killer, and says the same person also killed Banks, the crime for which he himself was convicted.

John Cannan (left) is suspected by police of killing Suzy Lamplugh (right) but he has never been charged. He is looking to be moved out of his Full Sutton Prisoner in East Yorkshire after serving his minimum 35-year term

Newlywed Shirley Banks was abducted by Cannan during an evening shopping trip to Bristol

Newlywed Shirley Banks was abducted during an evening shopping trip to Bristol 1987.

She was held captive at Cannan’s flat and forced to phone in sick to the factory where she worked as a textiles manager. 

Cannan then murdered the 29-year-old by hitting her head with a rock before he dumped her naked body at Dead Women’s Ditch in the Quantock Hills in 1987.

He was given three life sentences for Shirley’s murder, the attempted kidnap of Julia Holman the previous night and the rape of a woman the previous year.

Cannan is serving three life terms at HMP Full Sutton, a top security prison in East Yorkshire.

Since he was incarcerated, he has suffered a stroke and serious subsequent health problems.

His parole hearing will determine whether he is fit and able to be moved to open conditions, where he would then be allowed home leave and visits into the community.

Cannan has always denied any involvement in the case and the absence of a body or forensic evidence means there has been little chance of linking him to Suzy.

But a Channel 5 documentary — The Vanishing Of Suzy Lamplugh, screened at the end of last year — pointed to intriguing evidence that was originally ignored by police.

A lorry driver called Dave had seen someone looking like Cannan on the towpath of the Grand Union Canal in Brentford, West London, carrying ‘a very heavy bag on wheels’. 

Moments later, the witness — who has since died — heard a loud splash and saw the man running away empty-handed. 

Investigators most recently carried out searches at a property in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, in 2018 and on land near Drakes Broughton in Worcestershire in 2019, but nothing was found.

A search of a wooded area by police in 2019 (pictured) is not believed to have found any significant new evidence in Suzy’s case 

Police officers search an area near Pershore in Worcestershire in 2019 as part of further investigations into Suzy’s disappearance 

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