England

Lord Lucan: The theories surrounding his disappearance

Lord Lucan
Image caption An inquest found that Lord Lucan murdered the family nanny

The issuing of Lord Lucan's death certificate 42 years after he disappeared has done nothing to solve the mystery of what happened to him.

Lord Lucan vanished from his family home in London in 1974 following the death of family nanny Sandra Rivett. An inquest found he murdered her.

Since then there has been a string of theories explaining his disappearance.

Lord Lucan's car was found abandoned and soaked in blood in Newhaven, East Sussex, but what happened next?

If he were still alive, Lord Lucan would now be 81.

The theories

Lady Lucan said at the time of her husband's disappearance he had admitted killing the nanny and that it had been an accident. She said she believed he had jumped off a ferry leaving Newhaven.

The first reported sighting of Lucan was in January 1975 when he was supposedly spotted in Melbourne, Australia. Five months later he was apparently seen in Cherbourg and St Malo, both in France.

Police in South Africa examined fingerprints, supposedly left on a beer glass by Lord Lucan in Cape Town.

Sightings were reported in Mozambique and then Bulawayo, and there were even claims he lived in India as a hippy called "Jungly Barry".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lord Lucan would now be 81

In 1978, Barbados Police were asked by Scotland Yard to investigate reports that a British resident was sending money to Lord Lucan in South America.

An ITV drama claimed the missing peer had been spirited out of the country by his wealthy friends, including Sir James Goldsmith and John Aspinall.

In 2007 the search switched to New Zealand after claims he had been living in a car, while in 2012, his brother Hugh Bingham said he was "sure" Lord Lucan had fled to Africa after the murder.

Other theories suggest that Lord Lucan was held to ransom by the IRA, or that he had shot himself and asked for his remains to be fed to the tigers at Kent zoo owned by his friend Mr Aspinall.

An investigation by BBC South East in 2009 opened up the possibility that Lord Lucan had had plastic surgery after the murder.

Loss of a mother

Now his death certificate has been issued, his son, Lord Bingham, can inherit the family title.

He said: "My own personal view, and it was one I took as an eight-year-old boy, is that he has unfortunately been dead since that time."

He said he hoped it was time to find "another Loch Ness monster out there".

However, Ms Rivett's son, Neil Berriman said he was still unable to move on with his life.

He said: "We have to get to the truth and justice for Sandra. A horrible death, a young woman beaten - my mother."

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