DID LORD LUCAN HOP IT TO THE CASTLE? Mystery of What Happened to 'Lucky' Goes on 40 Years after He Killed Nanny

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), November 2, 2014 | Go to article overview

DID LORD LUCAN HOP IT TO THE CASTLE? Mystery of What Happened to 'Lucky' Goes on 40 Years after He Killed Nanny


Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY Staff Reporter mike.lockley@trinitymirror.com

LORD "Lucky" Lucan, the blueblood whose disappearance spawned a cache of conspiracy theories, is alive, well and dossing down in a Land Rover in New Zealand with his pet goat Camilla.

That is one of the more bizarre theories surrounding the 7th Earl of Lucan, Richard John Bingham, who simply vanished after his children's nanny, Sandra Rivett, was found dead in his estranged wife's London home. She had been bludgeoned to death and her body bundled in a canvas mailbag.

Lady Lucan was savagely beaten but managed to stumble to a nearby pub. She later identified Lucan as her attack-attacker.

On November 8 it will be 40 years since the playboy, who raced power boats and drove an Aston Martin, was last seen.

And still the debate over whether he's alive or dead rages.

Still, sightings of the elusive earl, who would now be 79, from far flung corners of the former Empire flood in.

The manhunt for Lucan - declared a murderer at the 1975 inquest into Sandra's death - brought hard-nosed detectives close to Birmingham. After discovering the suave former Coldstream Guardsman was second cousin to 'Brookie' - The 8th Earl of Warwick - they searched Warwick Castle.

Lucan, once considered for the part of James Bond, was not there, which is hardly surprising, considering the 8th Earl's later recollections of his infamous distant relative. He told a writer tasked with ghosting his memoirs: "The first boy I met at Eton was my cousin Bingham who came to a bad end."

Many friends, and senior police officers, believe he didn't. Many believe Lucky's luck held out and he fled the country.

The blood-stained Ford Corsair Lucan was driving - a bandaged piece of lead piping in the boot - was found abandoned in Newhaven, Sussex. The murder suspect, or his body, remains out there, the mystery lighting a blue touchpaper of conspiracy theories.

He has allegedly been seen in: Botswana - Brits Lawrie Prebble and |Ian Meyrick claim to have encountered the Earl at the Cresta Botsalo Hotel in 2000. "His accent was so upper-class English that it cut the air and turned everyone's heads," said Mr Prebble.

Gabon - A personal assistant to one |of Lucan's friends claimed she arranged travel tickets to the West African state for the gambler's children. He would observe them from a distance, "just to see how they were growing up".

France - One Cherbourg hotel owner | reported a "continual guest", fluent in French, who matched Lucan's description. Staff, shown pictures of the missing earl, confirmed he had been seen at the hotel.

New Zealand - In 2007, Lucky was |allegedly roughing-it in Manton with a goat for company. Reporters who descended on the town discovered a mild-mannered Englishman called Roger Woodgate. He denied being Lucan and blamed a "set-up" by neighbours.

Lucan has also been 'spotted' waiting |on tables in San Francisco, at a help centre for alcoholics in Brisbane and in a Madagascar hotel. …

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