On 28 July 1986, a pretty 25-year-old estate agent went to meet a client to show him round a house in Fulham, southwest London.
The estate agent was called Suzy Lamplugh and, according to her diary, the client was a ‘Mr Kipper’. Suzy was never seen again. So, how could she vanish into thin air with no clue to her whereabouts nearly 30 years on?
When Suzy Lamplugh picked up her house keys, car keys and purse – but not her handbag – and left her office at 12.40pm on a bright summer’s day, she made her way to Shorrald’s Road, where witnesses saw her waiting to show a client around the property which had been on the market for just a week. At 1pm, she was joined by a man dressed in a smart suit. Presumably the person she had written in her diary, Mr Kipper.
By 6.45pm that evening, her worried manager had reported her missing to police, having phoned her mother, Diana Lamplugh, to see whether the family had heard from Suzy. Her manager felt it was totally out of keeping for the normally professional Suzy to not return to the office after a viewing, and he told Diana that he ‘felt something must have gone wrong’.
Just over three hours later, police found Suzy’s work car, about a mile from her office. There was no sign of a struggle and no fingerprints unaccounted for. The driver’s door was unlocked and Suzy’s purse was in the glove compartment. Her keys were nowhere to be found.
Despite widespread media attention and a police reconstruction, no information was forthcoming about Suzy’s fate. As her late mother, who became a tireless campaigner for personal safety, wrote five years after her daughter’s disappearance: ‘There has not been a single trace of her. Nothing. Just as though she has been erased by a rubber.’
The vanishing of Suzy Lamplugh remains a mystery which confounds the country and weighs heavy on her family and friends who have never had the sense of closure which can come with knowing what happened to a loved one, however dreadful the truth might be.