Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Disappearance of Lord Lucan

The Investigation

When investigators searched for clues into the death of Sandra Rivett and the attempted murder of Lady Lucan, they found that Lord Lucans 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 wifes 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 Susans account of the story, Lord Lucan said he had made three phone calls after he left his wifes 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-laws husband, Bill Shand Kydd.

Linda Stratmann wrote that he may also have paid a visit to Madeleine Floorman before his arrival at Susans 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 Floormans statement to police, she said he seemed distressed and became increasingly incoherent. She eventually hung up on him and went back to sleep.

Bill Shand Kydd
Bill Shand Kydd
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-Scotts house, Lord Lucan tried unsuccessfully to call Bill Shand Kydd.

While Lord Lucan was at Susans 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 mothers 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 evenings 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.

Letter number 1:

Dear Bill,

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.


Yours ever,


Letter number 2:

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.


Police tried to recreate the events following Lord Lucans visit to Susans house. At about 1:15 a.m., Lord Lucan said his farewell to her and drove away in a Ford Corsair. She told police that he said he had to get back. On Sunday, November 10, police found the Ford Corsair abandoned some 16 miles away near the docks of Newhaven. The car was heavily stained with blood. Lord Lucan had borrowed the car several weeks earlier from his friend Michael Stoop because the battery of his Mercedes was not working properly.

In the trunk, investigators found a lead pipe resembling the one at the crime scene. They also found a notepad in the car, which was missing a page. Michael Stoop had received a letter from Lord Lucan following the discovery of the car. The paper on which the letter was written matched that of the notepad.

My dear Michael,

I have had a traumatic night of unbelievable coincidences. However I wont 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.

Yours ever,


Lord Lucan's passport photo  (The Countess of Lucan)
Lord Lucan's passport photo
(The Countess of Lucan)
Following the discovery of the car, police searched extensively for Lord Lucan. They followed leads fromfisherman who thought they saw someone near the docks matching Lord Lucans description in the early morning hours of November 8. However, the leads yielded no information into Lord Lucans whereabouts. He had simply disappeared.



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