In the Media

Lord Lucan 'lived secret life in Africa', claims former assistant

PUBLISHED February 18, 2012

Woman who worked for aristocrat's close friend John Aspinall claims she arranged for his children to visit him in Kenya

The children of Lord Lucan, the fugitive aristocrat who murdered his nanny, twice travelled to Africa so their father could secretly see them, according to a BBC documentary.

A woman who worked for Lucan's close friend, John Aspinall, said that she arranged trips between 1979 and 1981 for safaris in Kenya, followed by a trip to Gabon where Lucan would be able to observe his children without them knowing.

Lucan disappeared in 1974 after the body of Sandra Rivett was found at his home in Belgravia, London. His wife said that he had attacked her and killed Ms Rivett. His car was later found abandoned in Newhaven, East Sussex.

Aspinall's secretary, who asked not to be identified and has assumed the name Jill Findlay, said she was invited into meetings where Lucan was discussed by her boss and Sir James Goldsmith, a businessman and close friend of Lucan's.

"Instructions were to make arrangements for John Bingham, also known as Lord Lucan, to see his children. To do that I had to book his two eldest children on flights to Africa," she told the BBC. Lucan had three children, Frances, born in 1964, George, born in 1967 and Camilla, born in 1970.

"I don't know the exact dates, it was between 1979 and 1981 and it was on two occasions I booked the flights."

Findlay said she had "no idea of the enormity" of the search under way for Lucan, who was then the most wanted man in Britain.

There have been scores of sightings of Lord Lucan since his disappearance, mostly in Africa. There is also much suspicion that he was helped to escape by his circle of wealthy friends, which included Aspinall and Goldsmith.

In an interview shortly before his death in 2000, Aspinall said he thought Lucan had probably scuttled his boat in the English Channel. Goldsmith died three years earlier. Lucan was declared dead in 1999.

Findlay said she decided to talk to the BBC as she had reflected on her life during a recent illness and wanted to pass on information to whoever might find it of interest.

She said her conscience was clear because she had not helped Lucan escape and was prepared to give Scotland Yard a statement.

BBC's Inside Out also interviewed Bob Polkinghorne, a former detective inspector who worked on the Lucan inquiry in the 1980s, who said he was prevented from following up leads by his superiors.

He said further confirmation that Lucan was alive came from a reliable witness who saw one of Lucan's close acquaintances in the early 1980s as he holidayed in Africa.

"He was surprised to see this acquaintance standing on a bridge," said Polkinghorne, "After two to three minutes, he was joined by another man, whom he is adamant was Lord Lucan."

Polkinghorne, who now lives in Kent, said permission to pursue this lead was refused by the Metropolitan police. He said: "I was then later told, a few days later, discontinue the inquiry. You haven't got approval to continue." © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds