Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Disappearance of Lord Lucan

Thou Shall Not Kill

Lucan house at 46 Lower Belgrave Street
Lucan house at 46 Lower Belgrave
Something was amiss on the evening of Thursday, November 7, 1974, at the imposing, six-story brick house at 46 Lower Belgrave Street, one of Londons most fashionable neighborhoods. At about 8:55 p.m., 29-year-old nanny Sandra Rivett went downstairs to the basement kitchen to make some tea for her employer, Countess Veronica Lucan, wife of the Seventh Earl of Lucan. About 15 minutes later when Sandra had not returned, Lady Lucan became concerned. She left her three children upstairs and went down to the main level to look for Sandra.

The six stories of the house included a basement, where the breakfast room and kitchen were located. The ground floor held the dining and living areas of the house, as well as a cloakroom. Above the main level were four more upper floors with various other rooms, most of which were bedrooms.

While on the main floor, Lady Lucan noticed that the basement light was not on. When she tried the light switch, it did not work. Lady Lucan then called Sandras name. There was no reply.

Lady Lucan walked toward the cloakroom on the main floor, believing that the faint noises she heard coming from the small room were probably Sandras. Suddenly, she was brutally attacked and bludgeoned repeatedly on the head by a heavy object. When she screamed, a forceful voice commanded her to shut up.

Lady Lucan, barely 5 feet 2 and 100 pounds, struggled fiercely with the large menacing figure. Before she could make sense of what was happening, the attacker forced three gloved fingers down her throat. Then he tried to strangle her and gouge out one of her eyes, but the countess was not a woman easily defeated. She grabbed the mans testicles and squeezed them, temporarily incapacitating her attacker and making possible her eventual escape. The events that followed have created a mystery that spanned almost three decades and resulted in the disappearance of one of Britains most famous royal figures.

Murder, murder! I think my neck has been broken! Hes tried to kill me! Lady Lucan said as she burst through the doors of the local pub in her blood-soaked night dress. The Plumbers Arms was just 30 yards from the Lucans home. Ive just escaped from being murdered. Hes in the house. Hes murdered the nanny! The children were still in the house with the murderer, she managed to convey to her audience, but nobody rushed over to save them. Instead, someone at the pub called the police, who rushed to the Lucan home. Lady Lucan, who had collapsed unconscious on the floor, was taken to a nearby hospital.

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 childrens 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.

Sandra Rivett, the murdered nanny
Sandra Rivett, the murdered
Police also found in the basement a canvas mailbag, lying in a large pool of blood. Inside the bag they found the bloody body of the nanny, Sandra Rivett. She had severe skull injuries on the back of her head.

At about midnight, police went to Lord Lucans Elizabeth Street apartment, where he had lived since separating from his wife more than a year earlier. But investigators could not find him.



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