In Brief

Lord Lucan: the strangest theories about his disappearance

Peer vanished in 1974, shortly after the family's nanny was found bludgeoned to death in his basement

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The mysterious disappearance of Lord Lucan after the violent murder of the family's nanny, Sandra Rivett, in 1974, has left friends, family members and the police baffled for decades.

Yesterday, a High Court judge ruled the peer is now presumed to be dead – but despite the official verdict, conspiracy theories abound.

He jumped off a ferry

Lady Lucan, who claims she was the intended victim, remains convinced the aristocrat killed himself after murdering Rivett at their home in Belgravia, having, she says, mistaken the nanny for his wife in the dark.

In the days after the attack, Lucan's blood-stained car was found in Newhaven, East Sussex. His wife believes he abandoned it there before jumping to his death.

He ran away and started a new life in Africa

The aristocrat was reportedly spotted in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in the years after the murder. Jill Findlay, a former assistant to Lucan's close friend John Aspinall, claimed she had been asked to book his two eldest children on flights to Africa so their father could see them.

But Lady Lucan has rubbished the claims. "He was not the sort of Englishman to cope abroad," she told the Daily Telegraph in 2012. "He likes England; he couldn't speak foreign languages and preferred English food."

 Or in Australia… or Paraguay… 

The first reported sighting of Lucan was in Melbourne, in January 1975. He was later "seen" at an ex-Nazi colony in Paraguay, a hippy commune in India and in the New Zealand outback, alongside a pet possum and a goat named Camilla, says the Daily Mirror.

He was fed to tigers in Kent

Philippe Marcq, a wealthy stockbroker who knew Lucan well through their mutual love of gambling, claims the aristocrat travelled to a private zoo in Kent owned by Aspinall after the murder.

Following a frank discussion on what would be best for the family, "a pistol was offered to Lucan who took it, went into a room on his own and shot himself dead", reports the Daily Mail.

"Marcq says he was told that Lucan's body was then fed to one of John Aspinall's tigers – a grotesque but entirely effective means of disposing of the corpse."

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