For the young daughters of Lynda Farrow, their excitement at having their school day cut short by a snow storm in 1979 would quickly turn to horror. The two girls would return home to discover their mum lying in a pool of blood, having been brutally beaten after returning home from work.
The murder of the pregnant mum, who was stabbed to death at her home in Woodford, has baffled detectives for over three decades. Despite extensive public appeals and a £20,000 reward offered by the Metropolitan Police, they have come no closer to solving what happened to Lynda. Her death has been linked to notorious killers such as Peter Sutcliffe as well as the unexplained murders of two other young women.
The deaths of Lynda, Eve Stratford and Lynne Weedon all showed striking similarities, with a former detective chief inspector saying in 2022 that he thought the same man committed the crimes. Nicknamed the Playboy Bunny killer, he attacked Eve in her flat in Stratford, with her neck slashed in a similar fashion. Six months later, schoolgirl Lynne was hit over the head with an object in Hounslow and brutally raped.
Lynda’s murder has never officially been linked to the two other cold cases, but former DCI Sutton told The Sun that the similarities were “too much of a coincidence”.
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Found by her daughters
On January 19, 1979, the 29-year-old mum finished her shift at the International Sporting Club and decided to head home to Woodford Green in east London. She met with her mum briefly in Hackney for a short shopping trip, but then travelled back to the home she shared with her two daughters and her new partner.
Four months pregnant at the time, detectives believe she heard the phone ringing and rushed inside, leaving her front door open. Two girls walking by reported hearing a woman shriek before they saw the front door slammed shut.
She was later found lying in a pool of blood by her own children, aged eight and 11, who had arrived home early from school due to a snow storm. During a 2009 reconstruction on BBC Crimewatch, her 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.”
“I remember seeing these massive footprints in the snow. I saw her car so I knew she was in. I went straight to the front door and knocked and knocked. 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?”
Whilst she had been badly beaten, she had not been sexually assaulted. Police found the blood-stained serrated carving knife in the house, and footprints leading to the front door. The imprints came from a size seven, with the detectives believing them to be Wellington boots.
Witnesses had described seeing a man lingering in the area, wearing a lumber jacket and a cowboy hat, but he was never traced. There were also four unidentified palm prints around the door frame and a witness had seen a man running up the road during that time period.
Lynda had recently had an acrimonious split from her husband, and had moved to a new property in Woodford with a new partner. However no motive could be found for her murder, and he was ruled out of the investigation.
At one point it was suggested that her murder could be linked to Peter Sutcliffe, known as the Yorkshire Ripper. The serial killer served a life sentence for killing 13 women and attempting to murder seven during the 1970s, often by slitting their throats. During that period, he frequently travelled to London to visit his future wife, and lived in Wembley during the early 1970s.
Following a 2012 review by Scotland Yard into unsolved murders in London dating back to the 1960s, two women, including Lynda, were considered as potential Ripper victims. This theory however, has never been proven.
Playboy Bunny killer
Former detective Colin Sutton said that he believed Lynda’s murder could be connected to Eve Stratford and Lynne Weedon, who were killed four years previously. At the time of her death, Eve was working at the Playboy Club Bunny in Park Lane, leading a glamorous lifestyle amongst high-profile figures whilst living with her boyfriend in Stratford.
In March 1975, she appeared on the front cover of an adult magazine for men, named as “the girl of the month”, which detectives believe caught the eye of her murderer. On March 18, she was found dead in her flat by her partner, with her throat cut between eight and twelve times from ear to ear.
She was found partially unclothed with a nylon stocking tied around one ankle and her hands bound with a scarf, suggesting that she had been sexually assaulted. As there were no defence wounds and nobody had heard any screams, it was suggested that she knew her attacker or had been terrified enough to comply. Despite featuring prominently in the press, the investigation failed to find a suspect and her murder remains unsolved.
Six months later, 16-year-old schoolgirl Lynne Weedon was hit over the head with a blunt object whilst walking home on the opposite side of London. After celebrating her O-level results with friends in Hounslow, she had taken a shortcut through an alleyway shortly after 11pm. She was attacked with an object similar to a lead pipe and her skull was fractured.
Her killer then lifted her over the gates and into the grounds of a power substation before raping her. She was found unconscious the following day, but sadly died in hospital a week later.
In 2004, the Weedon case was re-opened and new DNA technology found that both murders were committed by the same person. They featured on a BBC Crimewatch investigation and detectives stated it was “very unlikely” that the killer never committed another crime again.
Speaking to The Sun, former detective Colin Sutton said: “I have no doubt the same man committed all three. I was quickly struck by the similarities with that of Eve Stratford.
“A woman killed in her own home by having her throat slit? That is rare enough today — in the 1970s it was almost unheard of. For this to have happened twice, with identical wounds, within a few miles of each other was just too much of a coincidence.”
He added: ‘My gut feeling tells me he (the killer) is still out there somewhere and still nervous about a knock on his door.”
A family’s grief
For Lynda’s two daughters and wider family, they have never received the answers as to why she was killed. In 2009, Lynda’s elderly mother made an emotional appeal for witnesses to come forward to help solve the cold case, as the Met Police offered a £20,000 reward.
Gladys Hayes said: “I wasn’t there to help her when she needed me and that awful thought has haunted me since the day it happened. I’m not getting any younger and it is my greatest wish that I find out what happened to my daughter before I pass away.”
If you have any information, please contact the Met Police on 101 or you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111
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