Saturday, 21 November 2020

Lord Bingham's Theory

The Daily Telegraph published an interview given by George, Lord Bingham, only son and heir of the 7th Earl of Lucan, in September, 2012.

Lord Lucan likely committed suicide by drowning himself following the murder of family nanny Sandra Rivett, his son has said.

George Bingham said he was certain his father wished to "vanish for ever" and died in a small boat which sank to the bottom of the English Channel after drinking whisky and taking sleeping pills.

Lord Bingham spoke for the first time about the mysterious disappearance of his father in 1974. He has been unable to succeed to the titles because a death certificate has not been issued.

In his first in-depth interview about the murder, he insisted he was certain his father was not the killer, though he said that he did hope his father had been involved in some way as it would make him "feel better" about his disappearance.

Sandra Rivett, 29, was found dead at the Lucan home in Belgravia, London, in 1974, after being bludgeoned with a lead pipe.

The nanny's attacker turned on the Countess of Lucan, beating her severely before she managed to escape and raise the alarm at a nearby pub.

Lord Lucan's car was later found abandoned and soaked in blood in Newhaven, East Sussex, and an inquest jury declared that the nobleman was the killer a year later.

What happened to Lucan remains a mystery and he was officially declared dead by the High Court in 1999.

George Bingham, who was in the house with his siblings at the time of the attack, said it was "extraordinarily unlikely" that his father was the killer or paid somebody else to carry out the atrocity.

He believes his father lost all sense of perspective as he became increasingly worried about being blamed for the nanny's death:
"I think Dad felt backed into a terrible corner. I think he chose almost immediately to take his own life. He had such a huge sense of pride and couldn't bear to consider the horrendous storm that was coming. It was his intention, therefore, to vanish ... and vanish for ever."
Lord Bingham added:
"Dad adored boats. He even built a powerboat. As a seaman, he would have known that if you jump from a boat in the English Channel, you will bloat, float and be washed up with the tides. It seems very likely he would have had access to a small motor boat somewhere in Newhaven harbour.
He would have got on board with a bottle of whisky and some pills and taken it out to the 50 metre mark, the point where if you go down you're not going to come back up again, but not so far out that you are in the shipping lane."
The former merchant banker has said he would prefer that to trying to understand why his father had left the family for "no apparent reason".

Lord Bingham continued,
"I've always thought it extraordinarily unlikely my father went into our family home, wandered down and killed anybody with a piece of lead piping for the love of his children, while those very children might well have come downstairs and witnessed this appalling carnage."
He also dismissed the possibility of a contract killer being involved, but added he had no idea of the extent of his father's involvement or his guilt.

First published in September, 2012.


Historic House Crawler said...

It is understandable that George Bingham does not want to contemplate the possibility of his father being a murderer, but he offers no evidence (of which I am aware) to support his hypothesis... I have just watched the ITV drama 'Lucan' and I have to say that it made me (albeit only for the duration of the programme) regard tumbrils and guillotines in a favourable light...

Timothy Belmont said...

I've read Patrick Marnham's book, Trail of Havoc, several times. It's well written and Marnham researched the story brilliantly. I find this book both compelling and cogent.

I was fascinated by the drama, Lucan, by the way. Though, as they stressed, it was speculative, parts of it were quite true.

The front door of 46 Lower Belgrave Street had to be forced opn by the police, by the way; and the two policemen stayed together, rather than the sergeant going alone to the basement, and the constable going upstairs.

It's also curious that the drama didn't mention Lord Lucan's passion for power-boats and that he'd even built one. Lucan knew the English Channel very well, its hidden depths, ferry routes, etc.