Lord Lucan: The Case Reviewed
The police forced open the door to the stately home and began a search. They noticed a lot of blood on the ground floor stairwell. Concerned about the children's safety, they immediately searched the upper floors. The three Lucan children were found unharmed. Two of the youngest children, Lord Bingham, 7, and Lady Camilla, 4, were asleep in their rooms. Lady Frances, 10, was watching television in a second-floor bedroom.
Police noticed on further inspection of the ground level that the basement door was open. Near the door they found on the floor a twisted, bloody 9-inch piece of lead pipe, wrapped with tape. As police continued their search, they found more blood in the basement breakfast room. Within the blood lay pieces of smashed china. There was an unscrewed light bulb on one of the chairs in the basement, which police suspected the intruder had taken out so that his victim could not see him.
She told them that she had been watching television with her daughter that evening in the second-floor bedroom. Sandra had put the two younger children to bed earlier. As she and her daughter Frances watched television, Sandra knocked at the door. It was shortly before 9 p.m.
Sandra asked if they would like some tea, to which the Countess agreed. After about 15 minutes, Lady Lucan said she began to wonder what was keeping Sandra so long. She told investigators that she went downstairs to find the nanny and it was there, near the stairs on the ground floor, that she was brutally attacked. She discussed the struggle in great detail. She was certain that the assailant was her husband, Lord Lucan.
Lady Lucan said that after she grabbed his testicles, she and her husband fell to the ground in a state of exhaustion. According to Lady Lucan, her husband admitted to accidentally killing the nanny. She said that Lord Lucan had mistaken Sandra for his wife since Lady Lucan typically made the evening tea and Sandra usually had Thursday evenings off.
Lady Lucan tried to calm her husband down by persuading him that Sandra would not be missed. Lady Lucan told her husband that they could hide the body, and she could tell the police that a burglar was responsible for the attack, according to Stratmann. Fearing for her own life, she agreed to do whatever he wanted. Lord Lucan asked if she had any sleeping pills and suggested that she take some. She agreed to take the pills only if she could lie down for a while in her bed upstairs. The two rose from the floor and went up to the second level, dripping blood along the way. They entered the bedroom where Frances was still absorbed in the television program. In her statement to police, Frances said she noticed that her mother had blood on her face when her parents entered the room. Frances said she was sent to her room.
Lady Lucan stated that they went into the bathroom, where her husband inspected her wounds. She told police that Lord Lucan laid a towel down on the bed for her to rest on. When her husband went to the bathroom for more towels to clean her wounds, she seized that moment to escape. She ran out of the house to the Plumber's Arms pub nearby.
The BackGround Check
TruTV: The Lucans, the Early years
In March 1973, Lord Lucan decided he could wait no longer to be with his children. He followed his children and their nanny in a park and convinced them to go back with him to his apartment on Elizabeth Street to live. For weeks, the children stayed with their father and awaited the custody hearing. Lord Lucan was convinced that if he could prove that his wife was mentally unfit, he could gain permanent custody of the children. He hired a private investigator to follow his wife, hoping to obtain information to secure a future with his children. He would also tape Lady Lucan's violent outbursts to demonstrate the severity of his wife's mental disability.
Lord Lucan paid for his wife to receive in-home nursing care for three months. At one point, Lady Lucan had even checked herself into a psychiatric clinic for a brief stint, according to Linda Stratmann. However, although Lady Lucan knew she had a problem with depression, she did not believe that it incapacitated her or made her unable to care for her children. She also believed that her husband was using her depression as a ploy to take the children from her permanently. She intended to fight him for custody.
The custody hearing ended in June 1973 and so did Lucky Lucan's fortune. The judge found his behavior to be "lawless" and granted custody of the children to the Countess of Lucan. Lord Lucan was stuck with a debt exceeding £40,000. Most of the money was spent maintaining the house and family, private detectives, medical and legal bills. Lord Lucan became an insomniac and also began to drink heavily, following the loss of his custody battle. His life began a downward spiral which he blamed on his wife.
On several occasions, Lord Lucan expressed his hatred for her. The Lucan Review claims that, in a conversation with his good friend John Aspinall in October 1974, Lord Lucan said that he wanted to kill his wife. Several weeks before the murder, Lord Lucan told another friend that he wanted to kill his wife and dump her into the waters of the Solent. His threats were taken as drunken ramblings and disregarded — until November 7, 1974.
The Psychological Analysis
Nearly half of the people who have problems with debt are experiencing symptoms of depression, according to a survey by Myvesta, a nonprofit financial crisis center. The survey found that 49.3 percent of people with problem debt can be classified as depressed, of those 39.7 percent report symptoms of severe depression. In comparison, studies have shown that 9.5 percent of the general population is clinically depressed.
TruTV: The Inquest
When investigators searched for clues into the death of Sandra Rivett and the attempted murder of Lady Lucan, they found that Lord Lucan's car keys, passport, driving license, wallet and three address books were still in his apartment. The police used the address books as a starting point and called on many of the names Lord Lucan had listed. Among the dozens of people interviewed was Susan Maxwell-Scott, a friend of Lord Lucan. Her account of events of November 7 differed from that of Lady Lucan.
Susan Maxwell-Scott said that Lord Lucan knocked on her door at about 11:30 p.m. He looked disheveled. His pants had been recently scrubbed clean and were still wet. She offered him a drink and asked what was wrong. Lord Lucan told her that he was walking past the house where his wife lived on his way to his apartment to change his clothes for dinner. He said he peered into the basement window and saw his wife struggling with a man. He let himself into the house and made his way down to the basement. He then said that he slipped and fell into a pool of blood as he was rushing to help his wife. The man she was struggling with ran off when he saw Lord Lucan approaching.
Lord Lucan told Susan that his wife became hysterical and blamed him for hiring someone to kill her, wrote Kirk Wilson. He told her that he helped clean his wife's wounds but, when he was getting fresh towels, she ran from the house. He feared she would go to the police and tell them he was responsible for her injuries. He decided to leave the house and lay low for a while.
According to Susan's account of the story, Lord Lucan said he had made three phone calls after he left his wife's house. The first call was made to his friend Madeleine Floorman, then one to his mother and the last to his friend and sister-in-law's husband, Bill Shand Kydd.
Linda Stratmann wrote that he may also have paid a visit to Madeleine Floorman before his arrival at Susan's house. At 10 p.m., someone had awakened her by knocking insistently at the door. She did not answer. Shortly afterward, she received a phone call from someone she believed to be Lord Lucan. In Madeleine Floorman's statement to police, she said he seemed distressed and became increasingly incoherent. She eventually hung up on him and went back to sleep.
The first phone call Lord Lucan made to his mother was between 10 and 10:30 p.m. He told her there had been a "catastrophe" at 46 Lower Belgrave Street. He asked his mother to pick up the children and take them to her house. He also told her that his wife and Sandra had been injured. Investigators learned that the story Lord Lucan told his mother matched what he had told Susan with the exception of his slipping in the pool of blood. Before arriving at Susan Maxwell-Scott's house, Lord Lucan tried unsuccessfully to call Bill Shand Kydd.
While Lord Lucan was at Susan's house, he tried to call his brother-in-law a second time. Once again, there was no answer, so he called his mother again. He asked her about the children, who were already asleep at her home. The police were also at his mother's house and she asked her son if he wanted to speak with them. He told his mother that he would call them early the next morning.
Shortly after his conversation with his mother, he wrote two letters, both of which were addressed to Bill Shand Kydd. In the first, he gave a brief description of the evening's events. He also suggested that his wife was suffering from paranoid delusions. The second letter focused primarily on financial matters. The two blood-stained envelopes containing the letters were mailed on November 8.
The most ghastly circumstances arose tonight, which I briefly described to my mother, when I interrupted the fight at Lower Belgrave St and the man left.
V. (Veronica, his wife) accused me of having hired him. I took her upstairs and sent Frances up to bed and tried to clean her up. She lay doggo for a bit. I went into the bathroom left the house.
The circumstantial evidence against me is strong in that V. will say it was all my doing and I will lie doggo for a while, but I am only concerned about the children. If you can manage it I want them to live with you- Coutts St Martins Lane will handle school fees.
V. has demonstrated her hatred of me in the past and would do anything to see me accused.
For George & Frances to go through life knowing their father had stood in the dock for attempted murder would be too much. When they are old enough to understand, explain to them the dream of paranoia and look after them.
There is a sale coming up at Christies Nov 27th, which will satisfy bank overdrafts. Please agree reserves with Tom Craig.
Proceeds to go to:
Lloyds, 6 Pall Mall
Coutts, 59 Strand
Nat West, Bloomsbury Branch
Who also hold an Eq. and Law Life Policy.The other creditors can get lost for the time being.
My dear Michael,
I have had a traumatic night of unbelievable coincidences. However I won't bore you with anything or involve you except to say that when you come across my children, which I hope you will, please tell them that you knew me and that all I cared about was them.
The fact that a crooked solicitor and a rotten psychiatrist destroyed me between them will be of no importance to the children.
I gave Bill Shand Kydd an account of what actually happened but judging by my last effort in court no one, let alone a 67-year-old judge, would believe- and I no longer care, except that my children should be protected.
Following her testimony, a statement by the Lucans' 10-year-old daughter Frances Bingham was read to the court. Frances said that at about 9 p.m. her mother went downstairs to see why Sandra was taking so long. She said that her mother left the door open and the hall light was not on. Shortly after her mother left, she said she heard her mother scream from what seemed to be far away. Frances was not afraid because she thought the cat had scratched her mother. When she called to her mother, there was no response. Frances said that later her parents walked into the bedroom together. She said that her mother's face was bloody and that her father was wearing an overcoat. Frances was sent to bed, and shortly afterward she heard her father calling for her mother. She then saw her father looking for her mother before he went downstairs.
Dr. Keith Simpson, a pathologist who performed the postmortem on Sandra Rivett's body, testified at the inquest that she had suffocated to death by choking on her own blood. He told the court of her wounds and said that she likely died minutes after the attack. According to Patrick Marnham in Trail of Havoc, Dr. Simpson's testimony conflicted with Dr. Michael Smith's, the police surgeon who certified Sandra's death. Dr. Smith stated that Sandra most likely died shortly before being discovered.
Lord Lucan's mother, Dowager Countess Lucan, testified that her son had called her twice that evening and was incoherent. She said he mentioned the words "blood" and "mess," but did not go into detail after that. She said her son requested that she pick up the children, which she did at 10:45 p.m. She said he later called a second time to ask about the children and refrained from speaking with police at the house. Soon after her testimony, the court heard evidence given by Susan Maxwell-Scott, Bill Shand Kydd and Michael Stoop.
Thirty-two witnesses testified at the inquest, the most compelling of whom were the police officers who delivered their forensic reports on the crime scene. The blood analyses were done before DNA techniques became a common forensic tool, but were quite revealing nonetheless.
Sandra Rivett's blood type B and Lady Lucan's blood type A were found in two main areas of the house. Sandra's blood type was concentrated mostly in the basement area, where police found her body. In contrast, Lady Lucan's blood was concentrated mostly in the hallway at the top of the basement stairs on the ground floor. Moreover, there were hairs found in that blood that matched Lady Lucan's, providing supporting evidence that she had been battered at the top of the stairs. However, there was no blood found in the area of the cloakroom.
Intriguingly, some of Lady Lucan's blood type was found on the canvas mailbag containing Sandra Rivett's body. One explanation is that the attacker could have had the same blood type as Lady Lucan. Lady Lucan's blood type was also found along with Sandra Rivett's blood type on the lead pipe and in the Ford Corsair found in Newhaven. The bent pipe, which was wrapped with tape and supposedly used to batter the women's heads, contained no hairs of the women. There were, however, hairs found in the Ford Corsair belonging to Lady Lucan.
More bloodstains matching Sandra Rivett's blood type were found in the garden behind Lady Lucan's home. A bloody footprint was also found in the basement of the house, leading out to the garden. The police discovered it was made by a man's shoe, but they were unable to identify the person who left the print. The blood type in which the shoe impression was made matched that of Sandra Rivett's, type B.
Fibers found at the crime scene and in the Ford Corsair became one of the main focuses of the inquest. Grayish-blue-colored woolen fibers were found in the Ford Corsair, the basement, Lady Lucan's bathroom sink, on a blood-stained bath towel and on the lead pipe supposedly used in the attack on Sandra and Lady Lucan. These fibers were believed to have come from the attacker. The fiber and bloodstain evidence presented during the inquest provided a critical link between the victims and their attacker. It became clear that whoever attacked the women had also been in the Ford Corsair, the car that Lord Lucan was seen driving the night of the murder.
According to the story Lord Lucan told to his friend Susan Maxwell-Scott, he saw his wife struggling with someone in the basement. He said that he ran down to help her and in doing so, slipped in blood. After the attacker ran away, he noticed that his wife was covered in blood. The forensic investigation conducted at the crime scene and blood analysis discounts this scenario.
There was no evidence pointing to Lady Lucan having been attacked in the basement. She testified that the attack occurred on the ground level of the house and not the basement. Blood splatter matching Lady Lucan's blood type and hairs in the blood matching hers further confirmed her account of events. Moreover, there was a man's footprint in the basement, but no indication that he or anyone had slipped.
Investigators held several experiments trying to recreate what Lord Lucan claimed to have seen from the basement _ Results from the experiments showed that it was difficult to see anything, let alone a struggle, from a standing position outside the _ Visibility into the basement was almost nonexistent, unless one stooped low to the pavement while peering in. Even then, only the bottom four stairs into the basement were visible. With the light unscrewed as it was on the evening of the murder, visibility into the basement would have been even less.
The timing of the events the night of the murder became a critical issue during the inquest. Investigators testified that Lord Lucan had made reservations for four people at the Clermont Club for 8:30 that evening. At about 8:45, the Clermont doorman, Billy Edgson, said that Lord Lucan had pulled up in his Mercedes and asked if his friends had arrived. Sally Moore in Lucan not Guilty wrote that Edgson stated that Lord Lucan, "was wearing casual clothes, the kind he wore when he went out golfing" and that he didn't seem "perturbed in any way." Edgson believed that Lord Lucan was on his way home to change his clothes. If the doorman's account of the time had been correct, it would have made it difficult to place Lord Lucan at the scene of the murder, which occurred at about 9 p.m.
Lord Lucan would have had only 10 minutes to drive through two miles of city traffic to his apartment, park his Mercedes and make it to number 46 Lower Belgrave Street a half mile away. Moreover, he would have had to let himself into the house within that short period of time, walk into the basement and unscrew the light bulb before Sandra came down the stairs. However, if Edgson's timing had been off by just 10 minutes, it would have been possible for Lord Lucan to have made it to the basement of the house on Lower Belgrave Street at the time of the murder.
During the 1990s Lucan was allegedly sighted in South Africa. In 2007, the Daily Mail suggested this was a mistaken identity of a man nicknamed Johannesburg Jeff
In August 2007, the Auckland-based New Zealand Herald reported that former Scotland Yard detective Sidney Ball was following up claims that Lord Lucan was living in an old Land Rover outside the township of Marton, apparently with a pet possum, cat and a goat. Mr Ball says neighbours of the man, Roger Woodgate, were convinced he was Lord Lucan but said he couldn't discuss the case further until his investigation was complete. The man is said to have an upper-class English accent and may be receiving income from property interests in the UK. Roger Woodgate denies being Lord Lucan, insisting he was a photographer working for the Ministry of Defence who had left the UK five months before Lord Lucan vanished. Mr Woodgate also claims to be 10 years younger than Lord Lucan and is five inches shorter
Shortly before his death in 2000, Aspinall gave an interview in which he re-stated his opinion that Lucan had committed suicide by scuttling a boat that he kept at Newhaven. Aspinall said he had no doubt that Lucan had mistakenly killed the nanny, having intended to kill his wife, and had then killed himself out of shame
Both Patrick Marnham and James Ruddick make strong cases for the more complicated scenario, that Lord Lucan hired a man to kill his wife, the hitman killed Sandra, then Lord Lucan, arriving to clear up and dispose of the body, discovered the mistake and attacked his wife. I will look at this in more detail later, but first there are some specific questions I would like to ask.
Published works on the case suggest three main scenarios. Sally Moore believes Lord Lucan’s story, and suggests that the murderer was an unknown assailant. Lord Lucan is cast as the hero saving his wife from an attacker then fleeing because he will not be believed. Ms Moore consulted with Lord Lucan’s family, (though not Lady Lucan) in her research for the book, and her brief appears to be to show Lord Lucan in the best possible light and Lady Lucan in the worst. It is a heavily slanted account which attaches considerable importance to the random blood drips. Patrick Marnham in "Trail of Havoc" and James Ruddick1 in "Lord Lucan" both suggest that although Lord Lucan did not murder Sandra Rivett, he hired a hit man to murder his wife. Arriving later to dispose of the body, he discovered the mistake and attacked his wife. Lady Lucan has never been of the opinion that her husband hired a hit-man to kill her, and contrary to what he wrote in his letters after the murder, never accused him of having done so. The simplest explanation, and the one most consistent with the facts is that Lord Lucan is guilty and no-one else was involved.
My Theory and Closing Statements