This much is known: The seventh earl of Lucan vanished in 1974 shortly after the body of the nanny to his three young children was found bludgeoned to death at his family home at 46 Lower Belgrave Street, in London’s posh Belgravia neighborhood.
He and his wife, Veronica Duncan, had been estranged, and were in the midst of a bitter custody battle over their children. Lucan had moved out of the family home and was living nearby. According to news reports of the time, Duncan told a coroner’s court that Lucan tried to strangle her on November 7, 1974, the same night the nanny, Sandra Rivett, was found in the basement of the home beaten to death with lead pipe. Duncan ran bleeding into a nearby pub and shouted: “Help me, help me. I have just escaped from a murderer. He’s in my house. He’s murdered the nanny.”
Lucan’s bloodstained car was found three days later near the English coast, and police began a years-long manhunt. He was never seen again—though in 1975 an inquest declared him to be Rivett’s killer.
That’s where the facts end and speculation begins: For four decades, rumors swirled about the fate of the man born Richard John Bingham, a playboy and peer whose penchant for powerboats, vodka martinis, and Aston Martins had captivated Britain’s tabloids. He became the center of conspiracy theories, news articles, books, and documentaries, and was “spotted” as far afield as South Africa, India, South America, Australia, and France, as authorities continued their search for him in connection with Rivett’s death. Until today.