Lord Lucan, with yet another twist in the tale
Since a frosty November morning in 1974,the unsolved mystery of Lord Lucan is one which has captured the imagination of Britain for decades.
John Bingham, the 7th Earl of Lucan or more commonly known as Lord Lucan, was a British Lord, a banker, and a famous professional gambler. Lucan was known for his expensive tastes – he raced power boats and drove an Aston Martin – but his legend was immortalised for entirely different, darker, reasons… He embodied the luxury of the British upper class – Lucan was apparently even considered for the role of James Bond, before it was given to Sean Connery.
Lord and Lady Lucan employed a young nanny to look after their children – Sandra Rivett. Who was 29 at the time, had only worked for the family for a few months.
Details on the events that unfolded on the night of November 7 are based on the testimony of Lady Lucan, and have never been heard at a trial, but her testimony is the most widely accepted version of events. At about 9pm that day, it is believed that Sandra went to the basement kitchen of the Lucan home in Belgravia to make tea.
It would be the last thing she ever did.
As she entered the basement, she was bludgeoned to death with a piece of bandaged lead pipe, and her killer placed her body into a canvas mailbag. Meanwhile, wondering why her nanny had been delayed making tea, Lady Lucan went downstairs to check on her. When she got to the basement, she too was set upon. Someone had removed the light bulb in the basement, and in the darkness she was attacked. She tried to shout out for Sandra, before she recognised her husband’s voice and knew that he was the assailant. She managed to stop his attack and escape from the basement.
At around 10pm, Lady Lucan burst into The Plumbers Arms in Belgravia, covered in blood and in a hysterical state. She screamed to the pub about the murder of her nanny, telling the occupants that she had barely escaped with her life, and naming her husband, Lord Lucan as the attacker. Police forced their way into the house and discovered Sandra Rivett’s body in the kitchen, stuffed inside a sack with head injuries, and a bent, bloody pipe nearby. Lady Lucan was taken to St. George’s Hospital.
Lord Lucan had vanished without a trace, all except for some letters he wrote to friends telling them of the “traumatic night of unbelievable coincidences”. In his letters, he told friends that he had walked past the house when he saw the murder through a window and intervened. Obviously none of these letters were ever confirmed or proved to be truthful, and they were, quite rightly, discarded as pathetic smokescreen tactics by everyone. Family, friends and police alike.
At this point, he turned his eyes south towards Sussex. Lord Lucan, now on the run, drove a Ford Corsair 42 miles down to a small village called Uckfield in East Sussex. This was in order to visit his friends the Maxwell Scott’s, who had a country residence there. Susan Maxwell Scott’s meeting with Lord Lucan proved to be the last official sighting of the man. The car has never been seen since.
At this time it was also widely rumoured that Lucan kept a mistress, a woman of ill repute, and of a dubious character, here on the coast in a piede-a-terre. We cannot reveal anymore, for legal reasons, other than that it was quite a comfortable situation for both parties, and everything that happens in Brighton, stays in Brighton. It was alleged that he begged her to go away with him but, in his hour of need, the bounder got well and truly ‘bounced’, she refused to join him, and so he fled along the coast in a very distraught and confused state of mind, catching the ferry to France, never to return to the love-nest on the coast.
The Ford Corsair he had been seen driving became the subject of a national hunt, with police across the country searching for his car. Days later, the car was found in Norman Road in Newhaven, a few miles away from Uckfield. The Ford was found blood-stained, and in its boot was a piece of lead pipe covered in surgical tape, and a full bottle of vodka. Later statements from two witnesses suggest that it was parked there sometime between 5:00 am and 8:00 am on the morning of Friday November 8.
A warrant was then issued for Lord Lucan’s arrest, but by that time he had already vanished.
A later inquest named Lord Lucan as the killer, but as he had disappeared, the case never went to trial. Quite atypical of English law and the high society similar cases usually find the offender guilty in their absence but this was not the case with Lord Lucan.
There have been many conspiracy theories regarding this case, not least of all in 2020 when Sandra Rivetts 52 year old son Neil, who had been searching since finding out who is real Mother was aged 12, claimed to have tracked down the rogue Lord to Australia, advising that he had originally made it to Perth, Western Australia but was currently somewhere else living as a Buddhist but now aged 85 and was seriously ill………Aaah diddums!!
Words by Stevie Martin