Best Known For
Lord Lucan is best known for being in the suspect in the murder of his children's nanny, Sandra Rivett, and then disappearing.
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She usually had Thursday evenings off, but,on Thursday, November 7, 1974, she was at home in the house. She offered to make tea for Lady Lucan and her daughter, Frances, shortly before 9 p.m., going downstairs into the basement kitchen to prepare it.
When she had not returned 15 minutes later, Lady Lucan went downstairs to investigate. When she reached the ground floor level, she noticed that the lights in the basement weren't working, and called out Sandra Rivett's name,
at which point she was brutally attacked and hit over the head with a blunt object. When she screamed, her attacker forced his fingers into her mouth to silence her. In retaliation, she grabbed her assailant by the testicles, forcing him to retreat.
It is at this point that the account of the chain of events that followed diverges, according to whether one accepts Lady Lucan's version of events, or that of her husband, as told to various people, either in person, on the telephone or in letters which he left.
Lady Lucan claims that she identified her attacker as her husband, and that he had admitted to killing the nanny, which she surmised was a case of her husband having mistaken Rivett for herself, given the lack of light in the basement, their similar builds and the fact that she usually had Thursday nights off. Realizing this immediately, and recognizing the danger that she was in, she decided to play for time, allowing herself to be taken upstairs, where her husband went into the bathroom to get a cloth for her wounds. Seizing the opportunity to escape, she ran into the street and into a nearby pub, The Plumber's Arms, where she raised the alarm and the police were alerted.
Fearing for the safety of the children, the police broke into the house on arrival, and discovered them safely in bed, but found the body of Sandra Rivett in a bag in the basement, as well as a length of deformed lead pipe, wrapped in tape, near the front door. Lord Lucan had disappeared, and a search of his nearby flat revealed only that his wallet, passport, license and car keys were all still there.
Lucan had, in the meantime, tried unsuccessfully to summon the help of a nearby friend, Madeleine Floorman, and then called his mother to tell her that Lady Lucan had been injured and instructed her to collect the children from the house. She arrived to find the police already there, and she took the children home with her.
In the meantime Lucan took another car, which he had borrowed from a friend, and drove down to the Surrey home of Susan Maxwell-Scott, a close friend, where he told his own version of the story, which was in stark contrast to his wife's view of events: he had been passing the house that night when, looking inside, he had noticed his wife struggling with an unknown man, at which point he went to her assistance, letting himself in and going down into the basement, where he slipped in a pool of blood. The man then ran off, and his wife became hysterical, accusing him of hiring someone to murder her.
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