When police discovered the butchered body of playboy bunny Eve Stratford, one officer claimed he had never seen anything so horrific.
The 21-year-old was found in her flat in Leyton, east London, with her hands tied behind her and her throat slashed so violently that she was almost decapitated.
Eve, whose body was discovered in March 1975, worked as a waitress at the Playboy Club in central London and mingled with celebrities such as comedian Eric Morecambe, actor Sid James and boxer John Conteh.
The brutal murder shocked London’s nightlife and remains unsolved almost half a century later.
What is known is that her murderer killed again at least once.
The killer’s DNA was linked to the rape and murder of 16-year-old schoolgirl Lynne Weedon six months later in Hounslow, west London.
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And it is believed the same man also killed pregnant mother Lynda Farrow, 29, four years later in January 1979.
The unsolved murders are re-analyzed in new two-part ITV documentary The Playboy Bunny Murder, which airs tonight.
DCI Colin Sutton investigated the murders as unsolved cases in 2002 and was working on his own documentary, West End Girls.
He previously told The Sun that he had made a major breakthrough in the case.
He said: “We have actually found a new witness after almost 50 years who walked past when Lynne Weedon was murdered.
“She didn’t report back then because her parents forbade her to.
“But by speaking to her and re-examining the evidence, we were able to make connections to a potential suspect.”
Eve Stratford left her home in Warrington, Cheshire, at the age of 19 to move to London and became a waitress at the Playboy Club in 1973.
As one of the brand’s Bunny Girls, she was popular with the club’s regulars and proudly sent her family pictures of herself on the arms of celebrities.
But she really wanted to become a model and when her attempt to appear in the US magazine Playboy failed, she turned to its British rival Mayfair.
She was named Miss March in 1975 under the name Eva Von Borke and posed topless on the front page with the slogan “The Most Classic Blonde We’ve Ever Discovered.”
The nine-page photoshoot included a full-frontal centerfold and an interview in which she revealed she liked being dominated in bed but didn’t like being “whipped or tied up.”
Playboy Club boss Victor Aubrey Lownes III was furious that she had impersonated a rival and suspended her from her job for three months.
Former “Bunny Mother” Erin Morris, who gave her the job, said: “She wasn’t upset, she understood what she had done and why it had to happen.”
“She told me she did it because she wanted to start modeling.
“I said she could go back to work when the suspension was over.
However, she assumed that this would be her step up the career ladder and therefore she would not have to come back.
“She didn’t just want to wait tables, she wanted to do something with her life.”
Eve secured a modeling job for a top South African magazine and also modeled for the cover of a crime novel in which she was seen terrified as a knife came to her throat.
On March 17, 1975, just two weeks after her Mayfair issue hit the shelves, she had a meeting with her agent before arriving shortly after 4pm at the flat in Leyton, east London, which she shared with her musician friend Tony Priest shared.
About 20 minutes later, a neighbor downstairs heard Eve talking to a man and at 5:15 p.m. heard a thud that sounded like a chair falling over and then footsteps coming down the stairs.
When Tony arrived at the apartment ten minutes later with a friend, he was met with a gruesome scene.
The model, dressed in a thin negligee, had been tied up with her own stockings and raped.
Her face had been mutilated and her throat slit twelve times in a brutal attack.
Next to her body lay a blood-spattered bouquet of flowers that she had bought that afternoon.
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” may have led to that the murderer had targeted her.
Her boyfriend Tony, Mayfair magazine editor David Brenner and Playboy Club regular and Lebanese businessman Abdul Khawaja were among those questioned by police.
Six months after Eve’s death, on September 3, 1975, schoolgirl Lynne Weedon returned from an evening in Hounslow celebrating her A-level results. The 16-year-old decided to take a shortcut home through a dark alley.
But she was hit on the head with a heavy object, shattering her skull, before she was raped.
Her attacker then lifted her over a wall and threw her onto the grounds of a substation, where she was found by a caretaker the next morning.
She was taken to West Middlesex Hospital but never regained consciousness and died a week later.
A man was seen fleeing the scene, but the weapon was never recovered.
The murders were not linked until 30 years later, in 2004, when DNA evidence proved the two girls had been killed by the same man.
It is also believed that the killer struck again on January 19, 1979, just half a mile from Eve’s home.
Croupier and mother-of-two Lynda Farrow had gone shopping with her mother before heading home to Woodford Green, east London.
As she got closer, she heard her phone ringing and rushed inside to answer it, leaving her front door open.
Two girls walking by reported hearing a woman scream before the front door slammed shut.
Lynda, who was four months pregnant, was severely beaten and had her throat slit with a serrated carving knife.
Her daughters, then aged 11 and 8, found her 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 come to pick us up from school. I think we waited and waited until everyone went home.
“When something like that happens, you get a terrible sick feeling in your stomach.”
‘Lifelong prison sentence’
She remembers seeing footprints in the snow and her mother’s car outside. “I went straight to the front door and knocked and knocked,” she said.
“I have not heard anything. I decided to look through the mailbox 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?”
Although Lynda was not sexually abused and no DNA was found, Colin believes Eve’s killer is behind the crime.
He explained: “Given the circumstances, location and manner of the killing, it is very likely that it was the same killer.”
“Both women were attacked in their own homes and had their throats slit.
“We also discovered more in our investigation last summer while filming the documentary that suggests this is the same man.”
Colin, who has spoken to Lynda’s children as well as witnesses and friends of the victims, says there is no way to know whether these three cases are the killer’s only murders.
He added: “I can’t possibly say whether he has struck again. If it had been limited to Eve and Linda, I would probably say those were the only murders, but the murder of Lynne Weedon is a real wild card because this crime is so different in the way it was carried out .
“If there had been no DNA, she would never be linked to the other two.”
Despite previous theories linking the murders to known perpetrators, including Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, Colin says the DNA profile rules this out.
He said: “Following our investigations, we have a new suspect and we think that the person who, let’s say, needs to be excluded from the investigation is not known to either the police or the authorities.”
In 2015, on the 40th anniversary of Lynne Weedon’s death, mother Margaret said: “It has been 40 years since our beautiful little daughter Lynne was forcibly taken from us.
“We missed so much; she missed out on life, no relationship or marriage, no career or children or just traveling the world, everything was taken from her.”
“After 40 years, we always wonder what it would have been like – a real life sentence.”
In a speech in 2009, Eve’s late father Albert revealed that his wife Liza never recovered from their daughter’s death and visited her grave every day.
Tormented by what was going through her daughter’s mind before her death, she gave up the boutique she ran because she couldn’t stand the sight of the young, lively girls shopping there.
He added that she “died of a broken heart” in 1986.
Although nothing can ease the family’s pain over the brutal murders, Colin now hopes he can help solve the mystery before the next big anniversary approaches.
The Playboy Bunny Murder airs tonight and tomorrow at 9pm on ITV1.