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1975: Missing earl guilty of murder
Lord Lucan murdered the 29-year-old nanny of his three young children, an inquest jury has decided.

The earl has not been seen since the night Sandra Rivett died on 7 November 1974, and the jury of three women and six men returned the verdict in his absence.

A warrant committing him for trial at the Central Criminal Court was issued by Westminster Coroner Dr Gavin Thurston immediately after the decision.

Scotland Yard detectives said they were "making active inquiries" abroad in an attempt to trace the disgraced peer - nicknamed "Lucky" because of past successes at the gambling table.

The court was told how the seventh earl of Lucan had beaten and killed Mrs Rivett with a lead pipe in the basement of their Lower Belgrave Street home and put her body in a mail sack.

Until these sightings run out we'll continue to follow every one up
Police officer Roy Ranson
Lady Lucan said he later attacked and seriously injured her when she came to investigate why the family's nanny was taking so long to make tea.

The coroner told the inquest the motive for these attacks was a "matter of conjecture".

The peer's estranged wife said in a statement she was relieved the case was over and now intended to put the matter behind her.

"I cannot say that I am pleased or displeased with the verdict - I was only concerned with establishing the facts," she said.

Detective Chief Superintendent Roy Ranson said outside court he thought it unlikely the missing earl was still alive, but told reporters it would not affect the inquiry into the murder.

"We're still looking for Lord Lucan all over the world and until these sightings run out we'll continue to follow every one up," he said.

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Lord Lucan - copyright UPP
There have been worldwide "sightings" of the missing earl

In Context
Lord Lucan was the last person to be declared a murderer by an inquest jury - the procedure was outlawed by the 1977 Criminal Law Act.

The earl's version of events - as told to friend Susan Maxwell-Davis before he disappeared - was that he intervened in a struggle between an unknown assailant and his wife.

Others contend he hired a hitman to kill his wife, who then murdered Mrs Rivett by mistake.

The case has never been examined in a criminal trial.

He was officially declared dead in October 1999 - possibly by suicide on the night of the murder - but his body has never been found.

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