Police discovered the body of the 80-year-old wife of Lord Lucan — whose disappearance still ignites much lurid fascination and conspiracy theories — inside her mews cottage in Belgravia, central London, on Tuesday, September 26.
Veronica, the Dowager Countess of Lucan, had been reported missing by a friend before officers from the Metropolitan Police eventually managed to force entry to the property where she was found in an unresponsive state.
Sad news about Lady Lucan. Met her a few months ago while on a walk in Green Park and she was absolutely lovely. Extraordinary woman.— First Officer Elliot (@FOElliotM) September 27, 2017
Estranged from her three children, Frances, 52, Camilla, 46, and George, now the 8th Lord Lucan, a formal identification has still to be carried out, although a police spokesman said: "We are confident that the deceased is Lady Lucan."
Now it is feared Lady Lucan, who was the only known witness to events surrounding the murder of her children's nanny Sandra Rivett, in 1974 at the family home, may have finally taken the secret of her husband's sudden disappearance with her to the grave.
Although she had always maintained that 29-year-old Rivett was bludgeoned to death by her husband in the dimly lit basement, having mistook the nanny for his wife — he was never formally convicted in a British criminal court that has fueled many conspiracy theories.
Lady Lucan claimed at the time she had disturbed the aristocratic professional gambler during the fatal assault before he attacked her as well, striking her four times with a length of bandaged metal piping before she fled.
On her return to the family home, Lucan had vanished, his borrowed car later found abandoned and blood splattered with a section of lead piping in the boot at the cross-Channel port of Newhaven, East Sussex.
Before disappearing, however, Lucan stopped off to visit friends in a Sussex village, telling them he had stumbled on an attacker hitting his wife, who then accused him of hiring hitmen to kill her.
An inquest later determined the artistocrat as the murderer, although he was never formally convicted in a criminal case.
Over the years, there have been a spate of reported sightings around the world, including Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
Intrigued by the mystery and the fact that no body has ever been discovered, British newspapers have sent teams of reporters around the world, one even reporting he had fled to India where he was living as a hippy called "Jungle Barry."
Lady Lucan did give a television interview earlier this year in which she said she believed her husband had jumped off a cross-Channel ferry, remarking: "in the way of the propellers so that his remains wouldn't be found — I think quite brave."
During the program, screened on ITV, she spoke of her depression and her husband's violent nature after their marriage in 1963.
Lady Lucan described how he would beat her with a cane to get the "mad ideas out of your head". "He would have hit me harder. They were measured blows. He must have got pleasure out of it because he had intercourse (with me) afterwards."
Lord Lucan was officially declared dead by the High Court in London in 1999 despite the fact his remains have never been discovered.