The Lucan story began on the night of 7th November 1974 at 9.45pm with the murder of nanny Sandra Rivett, beaten to death in the basement of Lucan’s London home.
That night, a distressed and bloodstained woman burst into the bar of The Plumber’s Arms, Lower Belgrave Street, crying out for help. She said that she just escaped from being murdered and the murderer still in her house.
She was Veronica Duncan the Countess of Lucan, who had fled from her home at number 46, leaving behind her three children. She was obviously the victim of a serious assault, soon afterward the police and an ambulance were called to the scene.
The police officers who arrived to investigate found a substantial house with a ground floor, a basement and four upper floors. Forcing open the front door, they searched the premises, and found the children in their bedrooms, unharmed.
The door to the basement was open. There was no light in the hall, so they fetched a flashlight. They descended the stairs to the breakfast room, and found the walls splashed with blood, a pool of blood on the floor, with some male footprints in it, and, near the door connecting the breakfast room to the kitchen, a bloodstained sack.
The top of the sack was folded over but not fastened. Inside was the corpse of Sandra Rivett, the children’s’ nanny. She had been battered to death with a blunt instrument. In the hallway was a length of lead piping, covered in surgical tape, very bent out of shape and heavily bloodstained. The back door was unlocked.
When Lady Lucan was able to make a statement to the police she named her husband as her attacker and the murderer of Sandra Rivett. However there was no sign of Lord Lucan on the crime scene.
Lord Lucan or Richard John Bingham, (usually known as “John”) the future 7th Earl of Lucan was born on 18th December 1934. He went to Eton where he discovered the great passion of his life – gambling.
In 1953 he joined the Coldstream Guards, where he spent much of his off-duty time playing poker or visiting casinos. After leaving the Army he joined a Merchant Bank, but by now, gambling was his first priority. One night, after a substantial win at chemin-de-fer he decided to quit his job and become a professional gambler. His gambling nickname was “Lucky”.
In March 1963 he was introduced to Veronica Duncan, whose sister was the wife of Bill Shand Kydd. They were married the following November. Two months later, John Bingham’s father died, and the couple became the 7th Earl and Countess of Lucan. On 24th October 1964 their first child, Lady Frances, was born. By then, they were living at the Lower Belgrave St house.
Based on Mrs. Madelaine Floorman statement, who lived not far away from the Lucan’s residence. She said, shortly after 10 pm she was awoken by someone pressing her doorbell insistently, but she decided to ignore it.
Some time later, her phone rang. She was sure that the caller was Lord Lucan himself, he sounded distressed. After that, she went back to sleep. Next morning, some spots of what appeared to be blood were found on her doorstep.
According to Susan Maxwell-Scott (one of Lord Lucan’s friend), Lord Lucan had told her that he had been walking past the Lower Belgrave St house, and had peeped in through the basement window. He had seen someone struggling with his Lady Lucan in the basement kitchen.
He let himself in through the front door and ran down the stairs. He slipped and fell in a pool of blood, and the man had run off. He had calmed Lady Lucan down and taken her upstairs to try and clean her up, but while he was in the bathroom she had run out of the house shouting “Murder!”. He had panicked, realizing things looked very bad for him, and decided to get out.
Between that time and arriving at the Maxwell-Scotts he said had made three phone calls, one to Mrs. Floorman, one to his mother, and he had also tried to telephone Bill Shand Kydd, who was married to Lady Lucan’s sister but there was no reply.
Mrs. Maxell-Scott said that he did not tell her where he made these calls from, but she got the impression they had been made after he left the house. At 12.15 he rang his mother from the Maxwell-Scotts house to check that she had the children, and rang Bill Shand Kydd again, but there was no reply.
Lord Lucan then wrote two letters, both addressed to Bill Shand Kydd at his home in Bayswater. (They were posted the following day. The envelopes were found to have smears of blood on them. )
Mrs. Maxwell-Scott tried to persuade him to remain so they could go to the local police the next morning, but he said he had to “get back”. He drove away. There has been no validated sighting of him since.
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.
Three days after the murder, the Ford Corsair was found abandoned at Newhaven. Bloodstains were found inside of both type A and type B, also, a piece of bandaged lead piping, unstained, but very similar to the one found in the murder house.
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. However, since his disappearance there have been dozens of alleged sightings of the peer in countries around the world.
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