Husband of Shirley Banks says police ‘covered-up failings’

Husband of Shirley Banks who was murdered by John Cannan says police ‘covered-up failings’ in Suzy Lamplugh probe meaning her killer never faced justice

  • Richard Banks, husband of Shirley Banks, accused police of covering up failings
  • Ms Banks was murdered after being held captive at John Cannon’s flat in Bristol
  • Her husband now wants to see officers brought to justice for their mistakes

Richard Banks had just turned 30 when his wife Shirley Banks was abducted in Bristol

The husband of murdered Shirley Banks has accused police of covering up their failings in the John Cannan case. 

Richard Banks was just 30 years old when his wife Shirley was abducted during an evening shopping trip to Bristol.

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.

Speaking on Friday, Mr Banks said it was the police’s fault that Cannan had not been convicted of Suzy Lamplugh’s murder as there had been cover ups from the beginning.

He said officers at the time were more interested in covering up for one another than supporting the victims of Cannan’s heinous crimes. 

Ms Banks’ murder came just a year after 25-year-old estate agent Suzy Lamplugh went missing after showing a man around a flat in Fulham, West London.


Ms Banks’  (right) murder came just a year after 25-year-old estate agent Suzy Lamplugh (left) went missing after showing a man around a flat in Fulham, West London

Police did not investigate Cannan at the time despite evidence linking him to her disappearance. This left the killer free to prey on his next victim.

Mr Banks said: ‘I met with Suzy’s mother in the days after Shirley first went missing as it was so painfully obvious what had gone on and who was behind it but police were clueless.’ 


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‘The way Suzy’s mother was treated by police was atrocious. She was called interfering and a busybody.’ 

Mr Banks said the police were more concerned with ‘covering up for one another’ than supporting any of the relatives of Cannan’s victims.

Police forensics at work on Saturday to dig in the garden of a house once owned by the mother of John Cannon in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, in the search for Suzy Lamplugh

The body of Ms Lamplugh, who went missing July 1986 aged 25, was never found and she was declared dead presumed murder

He said: ‘They were very good at supporting one another in covering up for each other than they were interested in helping us.

‘There were countless mistakes and errors at the start of the investigation. It’s entirely the police’s fault that Cannan wasn’t convicted of Suzy’s murder before.’ 

Cannan (pictured) then hit her head with a rock before he dumped her naked body at Dead Women’s Ditch in the Quantock Hills

Mr Banks said he did not know what was going on in terms of the renewed search for Ms Lamplugh.

He said: ‘I have no idea what’s going on. The police haven’t been in touch. Experience tells me that this will come and disappear again as it has done for the last thirty years and nothing further will happen.’ 

But Mr Banks said he thought it would mean a lot for Ms Lamplugh’s loved ones if Cannan was one day convicted of Suzy’s murder.

He said: ‘I think it would be very important to her family.’ 

Mr Banks now would like to see officers brought to justice for their significant failings in properly convicting Cannan. 

He said: ‘It would be very rewarding to see some of those police officers in the dock charged with criminal conspiracy at some stage.’ 

Mr Banks, now 61, said he had managed to move on with his life in the three decades since Shirley’s murder but didn’t wish to comment further. 

He has since remarried and is a company director of a successful recruitment firm in Berkshire. 

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