Court to hear application for Lord Lucan death certificate
Court to hear application for Lord Lucan death certificate | UK news | The Guardian
Legal move by will be considered by high court on Wednesday and if successful will allow Lucan’s only son to inherit title
Lord Lucan vanished in 1974 after his children’s nanny was found murdered at the family home in London. Photograph: PA/PA Wire
Owen Bowcott Legal affairs correspondent
Wednesday 3 February 2016 06.00 GMT
Last modified on Wednesday 3 February 2016 06.02 GMT
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A formal application to obtain a death certificate for Lord Lucan, who disappeared more than 40 years ago after the murder of his children’s nanny, will be heard by a London court on Wednesday.
The request is being made by his only son, George Bingham, under the recently-introduced Presumption of Death Act so that he can inherit his father’s title and become the 8th Earl of Lucan.
His claim comes in the wake of the latest lurid accounts of the missing peer’s fate which suggested Lucan shot himself with a pistol and his body was subsequently fed to a tiger in a zoo.
Lucan vanished after Sandra Rivett, the nanny to his three children, was found murdered at the family home onLower Belgrave Street, central London, on 7 November 1974.
Even though he was officially declared dead by the high court in 1999, there have been reported sightings in Australia, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand as well as claims that he fled to India and lived life as a hippy called “Jungly Barry”.
The earldom cannot pass to Bingham until he is granted a death certificate for his father. The Presumption of Death Act came into effect in late 2014 following a campaign supported by relatives of high-profile missing people including the chef Claudia Lawrence, who disappeared in York in 2009, and the Manic Street Preachers guitarist, Richey Edwards, who went missing in 1995.
Lord Lucan still haunts us – why can’t we let the vanished go?
Bingham’s application has faced opposition from Rivett’s son, Neil Berriman, who told the Daily Mail last year: “I don’t know if Lord Lucan is alive or not – but I want justice.
“There have been too many coverups already and he should not be declared dead. If Lord Lucan is still alive, he should be prosecuted.”
He said the application for a death certificate was insensitive and the document should only be issued when the truth comes out about his mother’s death.
On the night of Lucan’s disappearance, the nanny’s attacker also turned on Bingham’s mother, Lady Lucan, beating her severely before she managed to escape and raise the alarm at a nearby pub.
Lucan’s car was found abandoned and soaked in blood in Newhaven, East Sussex. An inquest jury declared the wealthy peer the killer a year later.