Wednesday, 7 November 2012

On this Day: 7th November 1974 – Lord Lucan disappears after murder of his children’s nanny

On this Day: 7th November 1974 – Lord Lucan disappears after murder of his children’s nanny

Richard John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan (born 18 December 1934), popularly known as Lord Lucan, was a British peer, the elder son of George Bingham, 6th Earl of Lucan and Kaitlin Elizabeth Anne Dawson. Lucan developed a taste for gambling and, skilled at backgammon and bridge, became an early member of the Clermont gaming club. Although his losses often outweighed his winnings, he left his job at a London-based merchant bank and became a professional gambler.

Once considered for the role of James Bond, Lucan was a charismatic man with expensive tastes; he raced power boats and drove an Aston Martin. On the evening of 7 November 1974, his children's nanny, Sandra Rivett, was bludgeoned to death in the basement of the Lucan family home. His estranged wife Lady Lucan was also attacked; she later identified Lucan as her assailant. As the police began their murder investigation he telephoned his mother, asking her to collect the children, and then drove a borrowed Ford Corsair to a friend's house in Uckfield, Sussex. Hours later, he left the property and was never seen again. The Corsair was later found abandoned in Newhaven, its interior stained with blood and its boot containing a piece of bandaged lead pipe similar to one found at the crime scene. A warrant for his arrest was issued a few days later and in his absence, the inquest into Rivett's death named him as her murderer, the last occasion in Britain a coroner's court was allowed to do so.

Lucan's fate remains a fascinating mystery for the British public. Hundreds of reports of his presence in various countries around the world have been made following Rivett's murder, although none have been substantiated. Despite a police investigation and huge press interest, Lucan has not been found and is presumed dead.

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Image courtesy of the US National Archives under the Creative Commons Agreement on Flickr

Research courtesy of Wikipedia


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