On this Day:

In 1974, The Great Lord Lucan Mystery occurred.  Lord Lucan vanished Nov. 8 after his wife was attacked and their nanny murdered on Nov. 7, 1974. But where did he go?

Richard John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan (born 18 December 1934 – disappeared 8 November 1974, declared dead 3 February 2016), commonly known as Lord Lucan, was a British peer who disappeared after being suspected of murder. He was an Anglo-Irish aristocrat, the eldest son of George Bingham, 6th Earl of Lucan by his mother Kaitlin Dawson. Lucan was an evacuee during the Second World War but returned to attend Eton College, and served with the Coldstream Guards in West Germany from 1953 to 1955. He developed a taste for gambling and became skilled at backgammon and bridge, and was an early member of the Clermont Club. Lucan’s losses often exceeded his winnings, yet he left his job at a London-based merchant bank and became a professional gambler. He was known as Lord Bingham from April 1949 until January 1964, during his father’s lifetime.

Lucan was considered for the role of James Bond in the cinematic adaptations of Ian Fleming’s novels. He was known for his expensive tastes; he raced power boats and drove an Aston Martin. In 1963, Lucan married Veronica Duncan, with whom he had three children. The couple moved home to 46 Lower Belgrave Street in Belgravia in 1967 paying £17,500 for the property. The marriage collapsed in late 1972 and he moved out to a nearby property. A bitter custody battle ensued which Lucan eventually lost, and he began to spy on his wife and record their telephone conversations, apparently obsessed with regaining custody of the children. This fixation and Lucan’s mounting legal and gambling losses had a dramatic effect on his life and personal finances.

On the evening of 7 November 1974, Sandra Rivett, the nanny of Lucan’s children, was bludgeoned to death in the basement kitchen of the Lucan family home. Lady Lucan was also attacked when she went to investigate Rivett’s whereabouts, a little after 9pm; escaping to the local Public House, the Plumbers Arms, she identified Lucan as her assailant. Police immediately opened a murder investigation; Lucan, by then, had driven his borrowed Ford Corsair to visit a friend at Susan Maxwell-Scott’s home, in Uckfield, East Sussex. Lucan telephoned his mother from there asking her to collect his children as there had been an incident at the family home, he also penned a letter. Hours later, he left the Uckfield property and posted an unstamped letter to his children. The car 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. Lucan had vanished by the time the police issued a warrant for his arrest a few days later. The subsequent inquest in June 1975 into Ms Rivett’s death named Lucan in the verdict as her killer.

There has been continuing interest in Lucan’s fate, and hundreds of alleged sightings have been reported in various countries around the world, none of which has been substantiated. Lucan has not been found, despite a police investigation and widespread press coverage. He was presumed dead in chambers on 11 December 1992 and he was declared legally dead in October 1999. A death certificate was finally issued in 2016 which allowed the Barony of Bingham title to be inherited by his son George, on the 7 June 2016. (per Wikipedia). 

Of all of life’s mysteries, big or small, that of Lord Lucan occupies a peculiar place in the public imagination.

We remain, of course, fascinated by it; remain eager to speculate and pontificate, now almost certainly safe in the knowledge that no-one is ever going to come forward and spoil the mystery by actually solving the thing.

Is he dead? Is he living in Africa? Did he throw himself off a cross-Channel ferry? Did John Aspinall feed him to the lions? Do we really, honestly, care?

After all, this is a man who brutally murdered his nanny. His only defence, and hold on to your hats as it’s a pretty dire one, being that he thought she was his estranged wife. But then he spoiled that by viciously attacking her too – she potentially only saved her life by fleeing to a local pub and raising the alarm while he hot footed it out of swanky Belgravia in London never to be seen again.

And all the while, his young children slept quietly in their beds just above the scenes of savagery.

He then did the gentlemanly thing by running away and not facing up to the justice he so richly deserved.

Yet, we remain, collectively, fascinated by him. He was, after all, one of the upper, privileged class. A man who mingled with the movers and shakers, and who had enough money to be able to live a life which was dominated by high stakes gambling.

In short, he lived a life-style many would, excuse the poor-taste line, kill for, yet he still managed to so spectacularly balls it up.

And should you be left still perhaps feeling a twang of misplaced sympathy for him, his closest friends were happy not to tell him to face justice, but potentially assist his passage to somewhere other than the UK and evade capture.

Or, of course, they didn’t.

But you cannot help thinking the mystique which grew around Lucan and his disappearance did no harm at all to their reputations and managed to keep them in the national public eye for many a decade.

And there’s nothing more alluring than a mystery which could potentially be solved should someone – preferably a famous person – open their mouth and spill the proverbial beans.

No, Lord Lucan and his disappearance will forever remain one of those stories we never get to the bottom of.

The chances are he topped himself one way or the other on that fateful night in November 1974. But that wouldn’t be very exciting. Papers would not be sold as a result.

Far more intriguing is the prospect he disappeared to deepest darkest Africa and lived a secret life a long way from the allegedly long arm of the law.

We can assume the Freddie Mercury moustache left his upper lip pretty sharpish if indeed he did, and that after a catalogue of quite staggeringly stupid actions, he did at least switch on the brain cells and decide to keep out of sight for the remainder of his life.

Nearly 40 years on, the story has recently taken a slightly new twist. A BBC report – presented in a manner which suggested a mystery which had alluded police, private investigators and the media – had indeed been solved.

The proof was a woman who was once a secretary at John Aspinall and James Goldsmiths’ London casino. Despite both men carrying the secret – again, if indeed there was one – of Lucan’s whereabouts to their graves, they apparently confided vital information to this woman (per https://coolinterestingstuff.com/lord-lucan-mystery).

First, a Story:

Jokes about murders aren’t funny
Unless they’re properly executed, that is…

Second, a Song:

Here is a BBC News clip on “Lord Lucan’s mysterious disappearance”.  I hope you enjoy this!


Thought for the Day:

“I can make a lord, but only God can make a gentleman.” – King James I

Have a great day!

Dave & Colleen

© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky

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