SUZY Lamplugh's brother has revealed the heartbreaking moment he picked newspapers up off the floor at work, so people "wouldn't walk over his sister's picture".
For 35 years, Richard Lamplugh, now 61, has lived with the unsolved disappearance of his beloved sister, who was once on the front cover of every paper in Britain.
Aged just 25, the estate agent walked out of her Fulham office for a house viewing on July 28, 1986, and never returned.
Her car was later discovered abandoned in Stevenage Road – about a mile from the viewing in Shorrolds Road – unlocked, with the handbrake off and her purse in the door pocket.
Richard, who now lives in Aberdeen with his wife Christine and their daughters, was 26 and working on a fish farm in Hertfordshire when his sister disappeared.
Speaking to Fabulous ahead of his appearance on The Missing podcast, Richard says: "After deliveries at work, we would clean the floor of the shop and put newspaper down, to make sure it’s not slippery for people.
"As I was laying down the paper one day, I saw my sister’s photo and I was going ‘I’ll pick that photo up and put it somewhere and lay another piece down’.
"I know it’s just a paper but I thought ‘I don’t want people to be walking over my sister’s picture’."
The Lamplughs were a close family, made up of mum Diana, then 49, dad Paul, 55, Richard, Suzy, and younger sisters Tamsin, 24, and Lizzie, 16.
As I was laying down newspaper one day, I saw my sister’s photo and I was going ‘I’ll pick that photo up and put it somewhere and lay another piece down’. I know it’s just a paper but I thought ‘I don’t want people to be walking over my sister’s picture’
Richard says: "Suzy was a very thoughtful, kind girl.
"She really was a family person, she enjoyed family time and I think she was the one who brought us together.
"She was a really striking woman, very pretty.
"Sometimes I wonder what she would be doing now – but we’ll never know."
It was his mother Diana who called to tell Richard Suzy was missing, on the evening of July 28, but he refused to believe the worst at first.
He explains: "The big hope was that she’d hit her head or got amnesia.
"It was very strange because when you see a car which is unlocked with a purse, keys in it, hat in the back, you wouldn’t leave a car like that, I wouldn’t.
The big hope was that she’d hit her head or got amnesia. It was very strange because you wouldn't leave a car like that
"You wouldn’t leave it parked somewhere you had no reason to be. We were thinking ‘why has she done this? That’s not like her’.
"The difficulty I had with mourning Suze is that, after a month or two you start to think ‘something really bad might have happened to her’ but you don’t want to think of too negative thoughts.
"You want to keep your hopes up that she’ll come in and say ‘hi, we were on a two month holiday’.
"That didn’t sound like Suzy, I’m sure she wouldn’t have done that, but all those things go through your mind.
"After six months of trying to keep positive, you think ‘yeah she’s not coming back’.
"Though of course you don’t want to grieve for her because you’re hoping she has survived.
"It’s very difficult, then after a year you realise you're not thinking about her every day, then ‘I haven’t thought about her for a week’ and ‘I haven’t thought about her for a month’ as time goes on.
"They say time is a healer and I suppose that’s what time is. You sort of get on with your life and keep them in your memories and thoughts.
"But we’ve got pictures of Suzy around the house and when I look at them I do think of her."
Suzy's appointment book revealed she had been due to meet a 'Mr Kipper' when she vanished, sparking one of the biggest investigations in British history.
And witnesses shed some light on what may have happened next.
One Shorrolds Road resident saw a woman who looked like Suzy with a man in a suit and tie, his dark hair slicked back, carrying a bottle of champagne.
Another said they had seen the pair arguing in front of a black BMW.
It’s never going to bring Suze back, but if the police had arrested Cannan (when Suzy disappeared), then others wouldn’t have been in the same situation as my sister
Despite these clues, the police made no arrests. They had started winding down the case when, on October 8, 1987, another woman vanished.
Sales manager Shirley Banks, 29, had gone late-night shopping in Bristol, to buy a dress before meeting her new husband for a drink, but she never showed up.
Three weeks later, a man in a motorcycle helmet charged into a clothing shop in Leamington Spa and held a female assistant at knife-point.
The attacker, John Cannan, was arrested as he fled to his black BMW.
In his garage, police found Shirley’s car with a new licence plate: SLP 386 – which they believe could stand for Suzy's initials and the year she disappeared.
His BMW matched the description of the one seen by a witness on the day Suzy vanished.
The name 'Mr Kipper' was also linked to Cannan, who was discharged from a prison hostel just three days before Suzy's disappearance, after serving five years for rape.
Fellow prisoners at the hostel told police they called him “Kipper” because he loved fish for breakfast and spent much of the day asleep.
Cannan was eventually jailed for Shirley's murder in October 1987, the attempted kidnapping of Julia Holman on the previous night and the rape of a woman in Reading, Berkshire, in October 1986.
Although he has always denied any involvement in Suzy's disappearance, police made the unusual move of naming Cannan as the prime suspect in 2002.
Richard, who believes he likely is responsible, says: "It’s never going to bring Suze back, but if the police had arrested Cannan (when Suzy disappeared), then others wouldn’t have been in the same situation as my sister.
"They could have got him first, but you can never turn the clock back, it’s just ‘what if?’
"That’s the thing I’m very upset about, that he wasn’t caught after he abducted my sister and murdered her, if he did.
"If he’d been caught then, others wouldn’t have gone through the ordeals he put their families through, the crimes he’s inside for now."
Seven years after Suzy disappeared, she was declared dead, thought to be murdered – but her body has never been found.
Richard says: "When we had the memorial service, which was quite well publicised, I looked down the aisle, thinking ‘she might just walk in’.
"But when she didn’t, I knew she was never going to come back.
"You are powerless when you’ve lost someone like this. The person who has taken them away has you in their power.
"I’m sure they revel in the fact they haven’t been found out.
"The hardest part of it all was coming to terms with her death. Also that my mum and dad never saw closure."
Diana passed away in August 2011, following a battle with Alzheimer's and a stroke. Her husband Paul died in 2018.
Richard and his sisters still hope some of their questions will be answered.
He explains: "We’ve all moved on in our lives, we've had families and settled down. But it would be nice to have some sort of closure.
"Unfortunately we haven’t got enough information to say Cannan’s definitely done it, he won’t tell us he’s done it and that’s a big problem as far as charging him for her murder.
"It’s never going to bring Suze back, but I’d like him to be kept in jail so he’s never let out.
"If he says where Suzy’s body is that would be great, as a family we want to choose the place where she’s buried rather than him choosing it.
"But we have no body and we haven't got enough evidence to charge Cannan – even though the police have named him.
"I hope he is convicted eventually, because then he’ll stay in there for life."
The Lamplugh name is a rarity here in Britain and, although Richard admits it's been a difficult one to hold at times, he says he's proud to keep it going – especially thanks to the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, which Diana established in her daughter's memory.
The charity aims to help those in vulnerable positions live safely, with campaigning and support for victims of stalking.
Richard explains: "My sisters are slightly luckier because they’ve got married and use their partners’ names.
"But I'm not unlucky, I really love the name and I'm really proud of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, so having that linked to my name is wonderful.
"It's a fantastic legacy. The Lamplugh name does continue on, they’re doing a great job helping women and men affected by stalking."
The Missing is a Podimo podcast series produced by What’s The Story Sounds and made in association with specialists Locate International and Missing People. You can subscribe here.
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