november memories / 15

 

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

 

15th November, 1974 : In London’s gaming society he was known as “Lucky”, but luck seems to be running out for Richard John Bingham, the seventh Earl of Lucan, who is being sought by police in Britain and Europe for the alleged murder of his child’s nanny, Sandra Rivett, and an attack on his estranged wife. The nanny’s battered body was discovered after Lady Lucan, suffering from head wounds, staggered into a Belgravia public house near their home screaming: “He’s murdered my nanny! My children, my children!”

 

[By jane warren of the Express/november 2013: “And while the appalling events of the night of November 7, 1974, were being played out in a darkened basement kitchen in Belgravia, central London, the youngest daughter of Lord Lucan was asleep upstairs in the four-storey house she shared with her mother, her older sister and brother and their new nanny, 29-year-old mother-of-one, Sandra Rivett.

As she slept near her seven-year-old brother George, the little girl was unaware that she was about to awake to a murder scene following her father’s bid to do away with his estranged wife, Veronica, with whom he had recently lost a bitter child custody battle following a fraught nine-year marriage.

While there is still continued controversy about what happened to Lord Lucan following the brutal murder of Rivett after she popped downstairs to make a cup of tea – many of his friends and family believe he took his life; others maintain he escaped to a new life abroad as a fugitive – for decades it has been widely accepted that Lucan bludgeoned Rivett to death in a case of mistaken identity. But not so his youngest daughter.

Lady Camilla Bloch is now an eminent barrister. She has never before spoken publicly about the murder but has felt spurred to do so in a bid to defend her father’s name following the forthcoming broadcast of a new ITV drama about the case. …
“As a lawyer I hope it is not old-fashioned to point out that my father never stood trial,” says Lady Bloch. “It is unfortunate that he is regularly referred to as a murderer. The evidence is not conclusive. It was circumstantial.”
This may be the case but according to a leading authority on the Lucan case the circumstantial evidence is fairly damning.

“The facts don’t stack up,” says William Coles, author of Lord Lucan: My Story (£7.99, Legend Press). “He may not have carried out the actual murder but he was up to his neck in it. This is clear from a key piece of evidence, the murder weapon – a length of pipe with a piece of tape around it enabling the user to get a better grip. Coles says: “When Lucan’s car turned up in Newhaven a few days after the murder not only was it covered in his blood and fingerprints and the blood of his wife but in the back was a backup murder weapon; a slightly longer piece of pipe but with the same type of tape wrapped around it. It might just be possible to say he had arranged for someone else to do the murder but why was there a near-identical length of pipe in the back of his car?

“It’s understandable his daughter would want to believe the best of him but this one piece of evidence is very compelling.”

Camilla’s comments appear not only to contradict what her mother, Lady Lucan, 75, believes about her husband’s involvement but they also stand at odds with her brother George’s understanding of the circumstances of the case. Last year the former merchant banker said he had to believe his father was in some way responsible for the crime as it makes his sudden disappearance from his life at such a tender age easier to bear. “I am certain that he was not the prime mover in the situation,” George said. “Weirdly, however, I do hope he was partly culpable because it makes me feel better. I would rather that than have my father leaving us for no apparent reason.”

The new drama, written by the Bafta winner Jeff Pope, is based on John Pearson’s 2005 book Gamblers. The book explores the complex friendship between members of the notorious Clermont gambling club, who included Lord Lucan, John Aspinall and James Goldsmith. Although Lady Lucan has always maintained that her husband committed suicide by diving into the propeller of a ship in Newhaven harbour (a suicide method that would explain the lack of a corpse), many others believe that he was sent abroad with the support of these extremely powerful men. “They would have had no problem in getting him out,” says Coles.

“They were two very rich men who had been implicated in Lucan losing a fortune at the gambling tables, which is estimated to be worth £6-£7million in today’s money. Both Aspinall and Goldsmith had the means, the motives and the opportunity and they would have found it a complete pleasure to spook Lucan out.”

Coles believes that there has been a massive cover-up. “In the past 39 years every single family member and most of his friends all insist he killed himself. They give various reasons for his motivation but they are all singing from the same hymn sheet. “You have to consider that Lucan was a gambler who was particularly fond of backgammon and if you know anything about backgammon it is that you keep going until the end because anything can happen. This is a game where you see it through to the last because there can be a sudden reversal.”]

 

About Avadoro Worden

Iconoclast
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