Upon his return from the USA in 1945,
the future 7th Earl suffered from emotional problems which caused his
parents to seek professional help from a leading psychiatrist of the
day — a Dr. Winnicott. As a result of the consultations the eleven year
old had with him, a dog called Deirdre was given to him in the hope
that it might help him overcome these problems.
7th Earl of Lucan’s emotional problems were never fully resolved and
he continued to suffer frequent headaches, nightmares and insomnia throughout
our life together.
to our marriage, he explained to me the difference between the games
of skill (poker, backgammon and bridge) at which he intended to make
a living as opposed to the games of chance (roulette, blackjack, chemin
de fer and baccarat) which were he said for mug punters and not
professional gamblers. His gambling mentor was Stephen Raphael - a London
At the time
of our marriage on November 28th 1963 (we had met the previous March)
my 6’ 2” future husband was playing in a poker school at the Hamilton
Club just off Park Lane, most evenings. I barely knew of the existence
of the Clermont Club or John Aspinall.
I had no
idea that within a year or so of our marriage, the Clermont Club was
to feature so large in our lives and that although he would be playing
the highly skilled game of backgammon in the afternoons and early evenings,
he was to break his dictum and play the games of chance later on into
the early hours, usually chemin de fer, sometimes blackjack.
I sat away
from my late husband when he played so that
I might come and go without this being obvious to him and so that he
would never associate me with either winning or losing. I always sat
in the same gaming room with him and I have never known of a so-called
only three other wives apart from myself who came to the Clermont Club
and they came fairly seldom. They were Stephen Raphael’s wife and Joe
Dwek’s wife who were both American and Mrs Susan Maxwell-Scott. The
other women were either unmarried, separated or divorced.
The 7th Earl’s
fellow members were mainly rather dissolute and rarely patrician. He
used to say of the Clermont Club that he added ‘tone’ to what would
have been a very vulgar proceeding without him.
I do not
think my late husband really believed I had a mental illness. He pretended
this merely to give more grist to his mill in the fight to enable him
to gain custody of our children after I had caused a solicitor to write
it was more difficult than it is today for a father to gain custody
of his children and it would seem that my late husband was ill advised
to embark upon such an uncertain and expensive undertaking as a custody
battle. His petition was not helped by members of his family who wrote
affidavits giving their opinion of me and my capabilities as a mother.
The 7th Earl
was never a house player although he sometimes played with half his
own money and half someone else’s hence he was also known by the soubriquet
On the night
of 7th November 1974, I was wearing a green dress, brown polo necked
sweater and flat shoes. Mrs Rivett was fully clothed and wearing high
heels. She was solely my employee.
the Plumbers Arms, I cried out, “Help me, help me, help me, I’ve just
escaped being murdered. He’s in the house. He’s murdered my nanny”.
not possibly have heard me shouting “Murder, Murder” in the street as
he was still upstairs at the time I left the house and I did not waste
any breath calling anything but saved it all for the run to the Plumber’s
Arms. He told this to Mrs Maxwell-Scott in order to explain his hasty
exit from the house and departure from London.
He had already
confessed to me that he had killed Mrs Rivett when I questioned him.
I had offered to help him conceal her body.
My late husband
did not cry on my shoulder or break down and weep during our conversation
sitting on the stairs following the murder of Mrs Rivett. Later, he
hustled me upstairs to my bedroom on the second floor.
we looked at my injuries in the ensuite bathroom mirror. I then lay
down on the bed in the bedroom whilst he went back to the bathroom to
get a cloth to clean up my face. I heard the noise of a tap running
and realised that he would not be able to hear properly and so seized
my opportunity to escape.
As I entered
the Plumber’s Arms, I could not have shouted as my throat was far too
sore as he had thrust three gloved fingers down my throat after I had
screamed following his attack on me. This single scream was heard by
my daughter Frances who thought a cat had scratched me.
He told his
mother on the telephone about ‘blood and mess’ and had also advised
me not to look. By so saying, he admitted seeing the state of the basement,
probably by switching on the light above the breakfast room table. At
the same time, he must have discovered that he had murdered the wrong
woman. The light above the breakfast room table would have illuminated
the horrific scene previously in darkness.
Howard, one of his few patrician friends to whom he had lent the mews
cottage in Eaton Row, went to police shortly after the murder of Mrs
Rivett and told them of a conversation he had with my late husband during
which he discussed killing me and dropping my body in the Solent in
order to solve his financial problems and avoid bankruptcy.
The 7th Earl
is also said to have discussed killing me with John Aspinall’s mother,
from leaving Mrs Maxwell-Scott’s house in Uckfield at approximately
1.15 am and arriving before 8 am at Norman Road, Newhaven could be explained
as he had taken four valium tablets which Mrs Maxwell-Scott had given
him. He would have parked the car, he knew the area well and had a nap.
When he woke up, his resolve must have hardened and he wrote his last
letter to Michael Stoop.
himself in the past tense as “destroyed”. “The fact that a crooked solicitor
and a rotten psychiatrist destroyed me between them will be of no importance
to the children”. He also wrote “when you come across my children which
I hope you will please tell them that you knew me and that all I cared
about was them”. This would appear to be rather final - he did not anticipate
seeing his children or Michael Stoop again.
By the 8th
November 1974, the 7th Earl of Lucan was a dead loss. He faced a certain
prison sentence, long term unemployment and social disgrace. However,
the gods decided to smile on him at long last and the luck that so eluded
him in life came to him in death.
here for a view of personal
photographs of Lord and Lady Lucan