In 1963, Richard John Bingham, the 7th Earl of Lucan, attended a London golf event and met Veronica Duncan. The pair hit it off quickly and decided to tie the knot in November of that year.
Unfortunately, though, the couple’s nuptials were immediately put to the test by various challenges. Most notably, Lord Lucan lost a large portion of his family’s money due to a severe gambling problem– which sunk him into debt.
At the same time, Lady Lucan was experiencing severe depression. After she gave birth to her three children, she suffered from post-partum depression, too– forcing her to be treated with numerous anti-depressants.
At first, Lord Lucan reportedly understood his wife’s mental health struggles. Eventually, though, it all became too much for him.
So, faced with gambling problems and depression, the couple’s marriage started to fall apart. Lord Lucan even started lashing out in violent ways toward his wife, pushing their union to the brink in 1973.
At that point, Lord Lucan moved out of their family home, began living in a nearby apartment, and created a plan to murder his wife.
An Accidental Murder
In 1974, Sandra Rivett was the Lucan family’s nanny who looked after the Lord and Lady’s three children. The 29-year-old also usually had Thursday evenings off.
But, on Thursday, November 7, 1974, Sandra stayed at the Lucan home late and began preparing tea for the family at about 9:00 p.m.
She went into the basement to do so, soon realizing that the downstairs lights had not been working. Nonetheless, Sandra continued down the stairs to make the beverages.
After Sandra did not return immediately, Lady Lucan went downstairs to see what had been holding the nanny up. Then, she was attacked in the dark by a man.
Lady Lucan did manage to escape– running to a local bar for help. Sandra, though, did not get so lucky.
The nanny– who was about the same height and build as Lady Lucan– was beaten and killed with a lead pipe. And upon speaking with authorities, Lady Lucan claimed that her husband had been the man who both attacked her and murdered Sandra.
One of Lord Lucan’s friends, George Weiss, later corroborated these claims– revealing how the Lord had plotted his wife’s murder while playing a game of backgammon one day prior.
“He went to his house that day with his mind set on killing his wife. He saw no way back into family life and the life of his children,” George said.
The Disappearance Of Lord Lucan
After Lady Lucan contacted authorities, the police arrived at her home and found Sandra’s body– along with a pipe– in the basement. Lord Lucan was long gone, though– having fled to a friend’s, Susan Maxwell-Scott, home in a borrowed car.
He reportedly told Susan what happened from his perspective before leaving her home at about 1:15 a.m. This made Susan the last person to ever see Lord Lucan alive.
Upon searching his apartment, authorities discovered that the Lord’s passport, wallet, and car keys had all been left behind. The borrowed car he used to drive to Susan’s home was also abandoned a few days later. Inside the vehicle, police officers discovered another pipe as well as bloodstains.
Two Sides Of The Story
It soon became clear that both Lord and Lady Lucan had very different perspectives regarding what happened on the evening of Sandra’s murder.
Lord Lucan told his friend Susan that he had arrived home when he looked through a window and witnessed his wife struggling against a strange man. Then, he claimed to have run inside, slipped on blood, and scared off the man.
Lord Lucan also alleged that his wife had been hysterical– accusing him of contracting someone to murder her. So, once Lady Lucan fled to a local bar to get help, the Lord realized how damning the situation would look for him and decided to flee.
Late that night, he also penned multiple letters. One was sent to the borrowed car’s owner, and the other was sent to his brother-in-law. In both, Lord Lucan maintained that he was innocent; and in the note to his brother-in-law, he went into detail about his wife’s mental health struggles.
Today, though, Lady Lucan’s side of the story is what most people have accepted as true: that Lord Lucan attempted to kill his wife and wound up accidentally killing the nanny, Sandra. That version of the tale was ultimately shared in the trial, where Lord Lucan was found guilty of murder.
The murder trial of Sandra Rivett started on June 5, 1975. There were several witnesses who presented testimonies on the stand, including Lady Lucan.
Given spousal privilege, it would not have been legal to force Lady Lucan to testify against her husband. Regardless, she decided to willingly give evidence against him anyway.
And despite forensic science being significantly less advanced than it is today, blood samples and fibers were still included as evidence.
Afterward, the jury did not need much further convincing. Instead, the jurors only took a mere 30 minutes to deliberate– ultimately deciding that Lord Lucan was guilty of murder.
Where Is Lord Lucan?
In the 50 years since Sandra Rivett was murdered, Lord Lucan has remained missing. And to this day, there is still no clear answer whether he is alive or not and where he or his body lies.
However, there have been plenty of theories swirling throughout communities across the globe.
Some people believe that Lord Lucan died and his body is buried on his friend Susan Maxwell-Scott’s property; meanwhile, others are sure that he did not die following Sandra Rivett’s murder.
Among those who knew Lord Lucan, it is believed that his wealthy gambling friends would have had no problem helping him disappear. In line with this theory are also reported sightings of the Lord in over 70 countries throughout the world– including Ireland, South Africa, Peru, the Netherlands, and the United States.
One report maintained that Lord Lucan was using the name “Jungly Barry” and living as a hippy musician in Goa. Another man in New Zealand, who lived out of a Land Rover with a goat, was accused of being Lord Lucan in 2007. Neither of these strange reports turned out to be true.
In November 2022, yet another alleged report of Lord Lucan hit the press as well. At that time, he was believed to be an 87-year-old man living in an Australian Buddhist community.
Is Lord Lucan In Australia?
According to Professor Hassan Ugail– a facial recognition expert at Bradford University– Lord Lucan is definitely in the Land Down Under.
“It’s him. That isn’t opinion; that’s a fact,” Ugail told the Daily Mirror.
Neil Berriman, Sandra Rivett’s son, apparently asked Ugail to analyze photos of one 87-year-old man living in Australia using an artificial intelligence algorithm.
Berriman has continued the search for Lord Lucan in hopes of seeking justice for his mother. He has also published the details of his efforts on his website, LordLucanTheTruth.com.
“My mission is to keep my mother’s memory very much alive and to seek justice. She is not ‘just the nanny.’ She is a victim of violent crime who became secondary because her killer was a lord, a lord who was protected and who vanished abroad with the aid of his rich and powerful friends rather than face justice,” Berrmian states on his site.
Although after Ugail conducted the facial analysis and was contacted by journalists at the Guardian, he claimed that he could not “100% confirm” the Australian man was Lord Lucan.
“It looks remarkably like him– it’s worth investigating further,” he said.
The Metropolitan police have since revealed that in December 2020, they were made aware of an Australian citizen who may have been connected to Sandra Rivett’s case. But, nothing came of this theory.
“In April 2021, following extensive inquiries and investigations made by the Australian federal police on behalf of the Metropolitan police, the person was conclusively eliminated from the investigation.”
Lord Lucan has also been officially dead for over five years now. His death certificate was issued at the high court in 2016, which finally allowed George Bingham, his son, to inherit the family title.
Still, many are not convinced he is actually dead– with thousands of supposed sightings being reported over the years.