Lord Lucan's top hat to be auctioned in Banbury

Media caption,
The property of Lord Lucan is going up for sale

Pre-bidding for a top hat which belonged to the notorious Lord Lucan has reached £550 ahead of an auction.

An ermine cloak and wine cooler are also among items from his wife's estate being sold in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Lord Lucan vanished after the body of Sandra Rivett, nanny to his three children, was found at the family home, in central London, on 7 November 1974.

Lady Lucan was also attacked but managed to escape. The items are being sold after her death last year.

Following the discovery of Ms Rivett's body, Lord Lucan's car was found abandoned and with blood inside in Newhaven, East Sussex.

He was never tracked down but an inquest jury declared the him to be nanny's killer in 1975.

Holloway's auctioneer James Lees said Lord Lucan had become "a bit of a cult figure" with his possessions attracting widespread interest - in particular the top hat.

As of Monday afternoon, pre-bids for the top hat were at £550, outstripping its £50-£80 estimate, and the wine cooler had reached £520.

Image source, Holloways Auctioneers
Image caption,
Bidding for Lord Lucan's top hat has already exceeded the initial estimate

The first was in 1975 when he was supposedly seen in Melbourne, Australia and there were even claims he lived in India as a hippy called Jungly Barry.

A death certificate was finally issued in 2016 after an application from his son George Bingham was approved by the High Court.

Speaking at the time, he said his "personal view" was that his father had been dead since 1974.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Sandra Rivett was bludgeoned to death in 1974

Lord Lucan timeline:

  • 18 December 1934 Richard John Bingham is born in London into an aristocratic Anglo-Irish family
  • 1963 Marries Veronica Duncan, with whom he has three children
  • 1964 Ascends to the earldom on the death of his father
  • 1972 Their marriage collapses and Lord Lucan moves out of the family home at 46 Lower Belgrave St, London. He loses a custody battle and accrues gambling losses
  • 7 November 1974 The children's nanny Sandra Rivett is found dead. Her attacker also beats Lady Lucan severely before she manages to escape and raise the alarm at a nearby pub
  • June 1975 Lord Lucan is named as Ms Rivett's killer at the inquest into her death. Lady Lucan identifies him as her attacker
  • 1999 His family is granted probate over Lord Lucan's estate, but no death certificate is issued and Lord Lucan's son Lord Bingham is refused permission to take his father's seat in the House of Lords.
  • 2014 The Presumption of Death Act enables Lord Bingham to apply to have Lord Lucan declared dead so he can inherit the family title
  • 2016 Lord Lucan's death certificate is issued after a High Court judge rules he is presumed to be dead
  • 2017 Lady Lucan dies aged 80