John Bingham, seventh Earl of Lucan. Dashing playboy. Rich, handsome, gambling bon vivant. Reportedly considered for the role of Bond.
In 1963 he met and married Veronica Duncan. By the early 1970s, his hard-play lifestyle and her post-partum depression were taking a toll on the marriage.
By 1974, wanting custody of his children and losing the court case to get it, he ran up outrageous debts (£50,000 in just two months, according to some) and was beginning to talk, when drunk, about murdering his wife.
On the night of 7 November 1974, their nanny, Sandra Rivett, was bludgeoned to death with a pipe and then put into a mail sack. Lady Lucan came downstairs to see why Sandra was delayed, and was herself attacked. She screamed for her life and her attacker then told her to “shut up”. The Lady said that she fought him, recognized he was her husband, and got him to admit he killed Sandra.
She begged him to stay a few days until her own injuries healed, promising to help him escape if he did. When he was distracted putting the children to bed, she fled to a nearby pub.
Lucan called his mother and told her that he had driven past and seen a man attacking Veronica and that he came to the rescue, and that she (his mother) should come and get the kids. Then he drove 42 miles, late at night, to East Sussex to visit some apparently unsuspecting friends. After he left their house, he was never (confirmed to be) seen again.
The car was found a couple days later. In its trunk was a piece of lead pipe wrapped in surgical tape.
A few days ago (as I write this), Lady Lucan herself passed away at age 80.
There have been all manner of allegations about Lucan’s whereabouts in the years since he disappeared. It should go without saying that the murder of a nanny, presumably in an attempt to murder his wife in the dark, by a rich, dashing, but troubled aristocratic playboy was huge in the British press, and such allegations have probably been good for sales and clickbait all these years.
In 2016, his son George was granted a death certificate for his missing father, making him the 8th Earl of Lucan.