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John Cannan denies murdering Suzy Lamplugh as police continue to dig garden

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The prime suspect in the murder of Suzy Lamplugh hopes the search of his mother’s former home will conclude swiftly to “end speculation” that he killed the estate agent.

In his first comments since excavations in Sutton Coldfield began earlier this week, John Cannan reiterated on Friday his denial that he killed Miss Lamplugh, who went missing 32 years ago.

Specialist forensics teams have been digging in the garden of the semi-detached home in the West Midlands for five days, with the search expected to continue into the weekend.

Cannan spoke to his solicitor, Matthew Claughton, on Friday from prison, where he is serving a life sentence for murdering Bristol newlywed Shirley Banks.

Mr Claughton said: “John Cannan continues to deny involvement in the 1986 disappearance of estate agent Suzy Lamplugh.

“Mr Cannan hopes that the search of his mother’s former home will conclude swiftly so as to bring to an end speculation as to his involvement in this matter.”

Specialist forensics teams have been digging for five days. Credit: PA

Miss Lamplugh was declared dead, presumed murdered, after going missing aged 25 in 1986, having left her west London offices to meet a mystery client known only as Mr Kipper.

Cannan, who is currently in jail for rape and murder, was named as prime suspect by police in 2002 and Miss Lamplugh's death has remained one of the UK's most notorious cold cases.

Three days before her disappearance, Cannan had been released from a hostel at Wormwood Scrubs Prison, where he served a six-year sentence for rape.

He was also connected to the case due to his strong resemblance to an e-fit of her abductor and, according to reports, he was nicknamed Kipper while serving his earlier sentence.

The Metropolitan Police are leading the search at the Shipton Road property that was formerly owned by Sheila Cannan.

An artist's impression of 'Mr Kipper'. Credit: PA

Officers have dismantled a car garage at the rear of the garden and used angle grinders to dig through its concrete base. Patio slabs have also been removed.

It is not the first time the garden has been the focus of officers investigating her murder, after searches were carried out in 2003, into early 2004.

Miss Lamplugh's brother, Richard, said he hoped her body would be found at the property in Sutton Coldfield so the family could say a "proper goodbye".

Cannan, now 64, has been questioned several times over the murder but continues to deny the allegation.

Miss Lamplugh's parents, Paul and Diana, set up the Suzy Lamplugh Trust to support victims of stalking. Both died before seeing their daughter's killer brought to justice.