In Detail: Suzy Lamplugh #1
Suzy Lamplugh has not been seen since she left her office in Fulham at lunchtime on 28th July 1986. It seems highly unlikely now that she went to meet a buyer at 37 Shorrolds Road.
You might already know that I value maps and timelines as investigative tools. My Suzy timeline has been available for a while now, but I am currently working on a new version with added information after finding some new sources. This will be the first in a series of articles about Suzy Lamplugh.
This is the first time I have started to map her day-to-day places, including her home, the pub where her personal items including a chequebook were found, and her office in Fulham. All three locations are just 1.5 miles or so apart, with the pub around the corner from her flat, shown below.
The map below shows how close Suzy lived to her place of work, Sturgis estate agency at 654 Fulham Road. It would have been a thrilling lifestyle: selling property in an affluent part of London during the boom years of the yuppie 1980s, zipping over Putney Bridge each morning for the short drive to work in the company car. Suzy had lots of friends and a brilliant career ahead of her.
After Suzy left the estate agency at lunchtime on 28th July 1986, she most likely did not attempt to drive to 37 Shorrolds Road. This entry in her work diary is now believed to have been a smoke screen to give her a guarantee of being able to leave the office at the time she wanted to go.
Wherever she went next is a matter of intense investigation because the only 100% known fact subsequent to Suzy leaving her office is that her white Ford Fiesta B396GAN was found outside a garage on Stevenage Road shortly after 10pm. This location is opposite 123 Stevenage Road, a house owned by Wendy and Barry Jones, who were also Sturgis customers and who had a Sturgis sale board outside. Because this car was not Suzy’s personal property, it was likely returned to Sturgis and continued in use as a company car. I have found an online listing suggesting that it was taxed (and therefore in use) until 1st August 1990, when it would have been six years old.
So perhaps Suzy went straight from the office to either her flat in Disraeli Road, or the Prince of Wales pub to retrieve her chequebook and diary? David Videcette interviewed the couple who were managing the pub when Suzy disappeared. Clive Vole and Karen Furness were ‘relief cover’, and were only managing the pub for a week while the actual landlords went on a family trip to see a newborn baby. Clive claims that Suzy spoke to him on the phone on the day she disappeared, but was hazy about the timings and unclear what the arrangement was. Certainly, Suzy did not collect her chequebook and diary because they were later given to police. But had she arrived at the pub to collect them, only to suffer an accident? If so, what happened next, and who moved her car? And how did they know which car was hers and where it was parked?
A possible alternative scenario is that Suzy went back home at lunchtime instead of to the pub. Diana Lamplugh is recorded as saying she thought Suzy had tennis plans after work on Monday, but Suzy also had a 6pm viewing with Joanna Wright in 43 Waldemar Avenue. She must have forgotten her tennis clothes and racquet on the Monday morning (which would be out of keeping with my impression of an organised young professional, but everyone makes mistakes) and decided to dash home for them at lunchtime. But then if tennis really was her plan, why has nobody found the person or people she was planning to play with?
You can see all the locations mentioned in this article in my list on Google Maps here.
A Troubled History
Not only was the original police investigation bungled, but some of the re-investigations carried out years later were compromised too. Added to that official confusion, various writers have produced odd and inaccurate newspaper articles and books in the decades since. It seems that Suzy Lamplugh’s killer was extraordinarily lucky for two reasons: (1) Suzy herself has never been found, limiting the chance of a thorough forensic investigation and murder charge and (2) the various miscommunications mean that key evidence was misinterpreted and false assumptions made. There is one exception I have found: I can strongly recommend the work of David Videcette for its thoroughness. David is a former detective who has made it his private passion to find Suzy and bring her killer to justice. Although I do not quite feel able to endorse all of his conclusions yet, his recent work, Finding Suzy is by far the best written and is the biggest contribution to this case in decades, possibly even since 28th July 1986. I promise an in-depth review soon!
One semi-official account of Suzy’s last day can be found at the Suzy Lamplugh Trust website.