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An aristocratic murder mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes has been resolved after 40 years

Getty Images/Justin Tallis
The spotlight just won’t dim.
By Aamna Mohdin
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

In 1974, Richard John Bingham, also known as Lord Lucan, vanished shortly after Sandra Rivett, nanny to his three children, was bludgeoned to death in ritzy Mayfair in London. Her attacker had also beat Lucan’s estranged wife, Lady Lucan, but she managed to escape. She reportedly ran to a local pub, covered in blood, screaming:

Help me, help me. I have just escaped from a murderer. He’s in my house. He’s murdered the nanny.

Lucan is thought to have driven to a friend’s house in a borrowed car. The car was found abandoned days later, with bloodstains. No one is sure what happened to him. There’s been no confirmed sighting of Lord Lucan for over 40 years.

It still remains unclear as to why Lucan might have murdered Rivett. Many assume he mistook her for his wife in the unlit basement. Lady Lucan named her husband as the attacker at an inquest into Rivett’s death in 1975. At the time of her husband’s disappearance, Lady Lucan claimed her husband admitted to committing the crime. The inquest concluded that Lord Lucan was, in fact, the killer.

But the mystery of the accused murderer’s whereabouts still captures the imagination of the British people—there are sightings of the man all the time. So what happened?

  • The family’s assistant claimed that Lucan asked her to fly his children to Africa, so he could watch them from a distance. A claim his son vehemently denies. 

The mystery has finally been put to bed—in a way. A British judge finally issued a death certificate for the lord. George Bingham, his only son, is now able inherit the family title.

Rivett’s son, 49-year-old Neil Berriman, is now good friends with Lucan’s son, who said outside the court after the ruling: “It has been a very long time coming.”

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