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Son of vanished UK Lord Lucan petitions court for death certificate

world Updated: Dec 08, 2015 22:09 IST
Lord Lucan mystery

Richard John Bingham, the Seventh Earl of Lucan. Lord Lucan disappeared from the United Kingdom after the family nanny was found dead at the family’s London estate.(HT File Photo)

The son of English aristocrat Lord Lucan — who vanished under mysterious circumstance after his children’s nanny was bludgeoned to death four decades ago — has asked Britain’s high court to issue an official death certificate so he can inherit his father’s title.

The son, George Bingham, wants to become the Eighth Earl of Lucan.

His father, Richard John Bingham, the Seventh Earl, vanished after nanny Sandra Rivett was found dead at the family’s London home on November 7, 1974. Lucan’s wife, Veronica, was hit in the head repeatedly when she ran downstairs to investigate.

Lord Lucan’s bloodstained car was later found abandoned near England’s south coast.

In 1975, an inquest jury declared him Rivett’s killer. Detectives believe the aristocrat — who was heavily addicted to gambling, and given the sobriquet “Lucky Lucan” by the press — intended to murder his wife and killed the nanny by mistake.

George Bingham arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice in London for a hearing over his application to obtain a death certificate for his father, Lord Lucan. Bingham is seeking to inherit his father’s title. (AP Photo)

The mystery of Lord Lucan’s disappearance still intrigues Britain. Many believe he drowned himself in the English Channel soon after the killing, and the high court declared him dead for probate purposes in 1999.

But there have been scores of reported sightings around the world since his disappearence, in countries including Australia, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand.

Bingham says the 1999 ruling didn’t prove death “for all purposes.” His new application, which the court began considering on Tuesday, is opposed by Rivett’s son Neil Berriman.

Berriman says Lord Lucan, who would be 80 today, may still be alive and if so should be prosecuted for his mother’s murder.