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Who was Playboy Bunny Murder victim Eve Stratford and what happened to her?

PLAYBOY Bunny Eve Stratford was the victim of an unsolved murder now nearly 50 years old.

Eve‘s murder in March 1975 sent shock waves through London’s nightlife scene, with a top shelf magazine editor and successful businessman both questioned by police.

Vic Singh
Playboy Bunny Eve Stratford was found horribly mutilated in 1975[/caption]
PA:Press Association
The murders of Eve Stratford (left) and Lynne Weedon are linked according to DNA evidence[/caption]
LNS: London News Service
Evidence points to Lynda Farrow’s unsolved murder being tied to Eve’s death[/caption]
Not known, clear with picture desk
Eve Stratford made the cover of Mayfair magazine in 1975[/caption]

The killer is suspected of being linked to two more grisly slayings in the same decade.

The unsolved killings are now the subject of a new two-part ITVX documentary The Playboy Bunny Murder.

Who was Eve Stratford?

Born in Germany, Eve grew up in Warrington before moving to London to try fulfil her dream of becoming a model.

The 19-year-old became a waitress at central London’s Playboy Club and mingled with celebrities including comic Eric Morecambe, actor Sid James and boxer John Conteh.

After she was rejected by Playboy’s US magazine she posed topless on the front cover its British rival, Mayfair.

The sizzling nine-page shoot included a full-frontal nude centrefold and a chat in which she revealed she liked to be dominated in the bedroom but didn’t like to be “whipped or tied up”.

Playboy Club boss Victor Aubrey Lownes III hit the roof when he saw the racy shoot in the rival publication, and suspended her from the club for three months.

But Eve viewed the suspension as an opportunity to crack on with her career as a model.

What happened to Eve Stratford

On March 17 1975, a fortnight after her controversial Mayfair shoot, her boyfriend Tony Priest returned to the East London flat they shared together to discover a blood bath.

Eve had suffered appalling injuries including several deep wounds to her throat. Detectives established she had been tied up, raped and then murdered.

Police, who described the scene as one of the worst they had ever seen, believed Eve’s cover shoot in Mayfair and the interview in which she said she “lived alone with my cat” could have led to the killer targeting her.

Her boyfriend Tony, Mayfair magazine editor David Brenner and Lebanese businessman Abdul Khawaja were among those questioned by police.

But no charges were brought and Eve’s death remains a cold case.

How was Eve Statford’s murder connected to the murders of Lynne Weedon and Lynda Farrow?

On September 3 1975, Lynne Weedon was returning from a night out celebrating her O-level results in Hounslow.

When the teenager took shortcut down an alleyway she was knocked unconscious and then raped.

Lynne was found slumped in the grounds of an electricity substation, and rushed to hospital.

The schoolgirl never regained consciousness and died a week later.
In 2004, DNA evidence established the two girls were murdered by the same man.

In January 1979 the killer was linked to another crime just a mile from Eve’s home, on January 19, 1979.

When Lynda Farrow did not turn up to collect her two daughters from school as normal, they realised something was wrong.

The two girls, aged 11 and 8, found their mum lying in a pool of blood when they returned from school.

During a 2009 reconstruction on BBC’s Crimewatch, daughter Justine said: “She didn’t arrive to pick us up from school. We waited and waited, I think until everyone had gone home.

“You do have that horrible sick feeling in your stomach when something like that happens.”

She remembers seeing footprints in the snow and her mum’s car outside. “I went straight to the front door and knocked and knocked,” she said.

“I didn’t hear anything. I decided to look through the letterbox and there she was. There was a knife next to her.

“I just didn’t know why or how someone could do that. What could she have done?”

DCI Colin Sutton investigated the killings as cold cases in 2002 and worked on his own documentary, West End Girls.

Despite previous theories linking the murders to known offenders, including Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, Colin says the DNA profile rules that out.

He said: “After our investigation we have a new suspect and we think the person that needs eliminating, shall we say, from the investigation is not known to police or to the authorities.”

Filmmaker Marcel Theroux is fronting the new series on the murders for ITVX. He said: “This is a story that has obsessed me for years. How could a serial killer kill multiple victims in 1970s London and remain unknown? What evidence was missed?

“What clues were the police of the time unable to make use of? As witnesses reach the ends of lives and memories fail, this might be the last chance to get justice for the three victims.”

News Group Newspapers Ltd
Eve, second right, with Sid James and fellow Playboy Club waitresses[/caption]
LNS: London News Service
Evidence points to Lynda Farrow’s unsolved murder being tied to Eve’s death[/caption]
Eve was a waitress in central London’s Playboy Club attended by comic Eric Morecambe

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