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Lucan's widow may throw new light on murder of nanny in '74


Lord Lucan

Lord Lucan

Lord Lucan

Sometimes in a melancholic mood of curiosity, my thoughts turn to respected journalist Sally Moore, once of my acquaintance, who wrote an intriguing book about the Lord Lucan mystery.

The pair of us had connections with the Daily Mirror once upon a time and we met in the Manchester office where we had assignments.

Now after years in the back roads of my mind, I'm thinking about Ms Moore again as the Lucan affair takes another twist, 42 years after the 7th Earl vanished from a blood-soaked crime scene where the family nanny, Sandra Rivett, was bludgeoned to death in November 1974 and Veronica Lady Lucan severely beaten.

Sally Moore's tome entitled Lucan Not Guilty, still available from Fontana, maintains it was an intruder who carried out the killing and the beating and not the handsome peer who nevertheless fled the London scene and hasn't been seen since.

But Veronica, the reclusive Dowager Countess of Lucan (now 78), has revealed that she has quietly written her memoirs and is soon to have published her own dramatic account of what happened that fatal night in Belgravia. It is certain she will take a different view to that of Sally Moore as to who committed the murder.

The High Court in London has already cleared the way for Lucan's only son to inherit the earldom. A Presumption of Death Certificate has been granted and the son, George Bingham (48), is about to become the eighth Lord Lucan.

But is the seventh Earl dead or in hiding in a foreign country? I got a call once, several years ago, claiming he was living in a thatched cottage in the Wicklow Hills. I didn't go out of my way to confirm the sighting which I put down to the imaginings of a fantasist.

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There has been much speculation down the years about the part he played in the gruesome events that winter evening at the family home. Is Veronica going to clear up the mystery in her memoirs? Although an inquest jury later named His Lordship as the murderer, Sally Moore takes the opposite view in her book, published in 1988, after years of diligent and painstaking research in which she claims to have turned up flaw after flaw in the actions of the investigating police. The Moore tome leaves readers like me harbouring serious doubts about Lucan's guilt.

Sadly as the years passed, I lost touch with Ms Moore, but I'd love to talk to her again to see if she has changed her mind about Lord Lucan.

Especially as Lady Veronica's book will soon be out.

Kym and Steve's rock love life on Street

Actress Kym Marsh (39) is celebrating 10 years on Coronation Street by being reunited on screen with character Michelle's husband Steve McDonald with the return to the soap of actor Simon Gregson.

Kym's milestone on the Street has been marked by her character Michelle coming within a whisker of cheating on her husband Steve, who's back after six months in Spain as part of the storyline.

A hospital plea falls on deaf ears

What's that I was hearing when I rang the hospital for an appointment? I was told at Antrim Area I would have to wait 14 months for the simple procedure of having an ear syringed.

That's right. I asked the young woman on the other end to repeat what she had just said. And, yes, it was 14 months. By which time my wife could be driven mad for having to repeat everything she says to her deaf husband.

But there's more - I've already been waiting two months to have the wax removed from the offending lobe after two visits to my local surgery ended in the syringe refusing to function. There was a time before when I had to have the syringing carried out privately in Antrim Area when all other attempts to get the wax removed by nurses at the surgery failed.

And the cost, you ask? £140.

Watch this space.

When lady pilot took flight from a bull

It took a lot to frighten pioneer aviator Lilian Bland whose early attempts at flight in her glider Mayfly were conducted on the slopes of Carnmoney Hill, assisted by my dad as a little boy in a group pushing the experimental plane into the air.

One afternoon in the summer of 1911, Lilian was distracted from her aviation exploits when she was confronted by a raging bull and had to run for her life, jumping over a hedge on her way to safety.

The story was related back to me by farmer Gibby Smith when, as a schoolboy, I was building hayricks in that same field where Mayfly was once based.

I recall this brave lady from Kent who came to live in Carnmoney with relatives when her mother died because she had another talent - she was a skilled photographer and it was on this very date in 1910 that she was hired by the Lord O'Neill of the day to take pictures of the wildlife on his estate's deer park at Randalstown.

It was Lord O'Neill who allowed his perfectly level acreage to be used as a take-off strip for Mayfly when the plane was too much for Carnmoney Hill.

Shakespeare tribute on Beeb was much ado about nothing

I could have warned BBC2 - the star-studded celebration of Shakespeare's birthday flopped on the telly just as I predicted. It couldn't compete with an ancient episode of Dad's Army on the night. Even with Judi Dench and Benedict Cumberbatch in the cast, Shakespeare was watched by 200,000 fewer viewers than Captain Mainwaring and his Home Guard platoon. 

Way back when I was at school, I cheered on a daring academic who called on Shakespeare to be removed from the curriculum of grammar schools everywhere and replaced with modern literature. What a fuss he caused, as calls went out for his resignation and his head.

I've never been a Shakespeare fan. Alright there are one or two memorable pieces, but I was bored by the Bard at school and so, I suspect, was my English teacher.

Mother Teresa's view on Belfast poverty was taken rather poorly

The late Mother Teresa, who figured in a Belfast Telegraph comment piece by colleague Paul Hopkins a week ago, upset some good folk in Belfast once upon a time when she was on a visit here.

She toured deprived areas in the Falls and Shankill and turned to her hosts and declared: "What poverty? Compared to other countries I've seen there is no hardship here."

The good mother would have been better if she had kept this controversial opinion to herself, but then she was always a wee bit outspoken.

That was the last time Teresa visited our city, you'll not be too surprised to learn.

She did, by the way, also spend a year with the Loreto nuns in Dublin back in the 1920s.

Everest named after a man who never even climbed it

The couple who plan to bury their Alsatian pet on the slopes of Everest will be surprised to learn that the highest mountain on earth was named after a Sir George Everest who never climbed it or even saw it.

A surveyor, who died in 1866, Everest's life's work was carrying out the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India (whatever that was), although he is reputed to have come to Ireland to carry out a survey of some sort here, too, after retiring from his work in India in 1843.

But why was Everest called after a knight who had never even heard of what was known simply as Peak XV? Apparently, the Surveyor-General in India, Andrew Waugh, recommended naming it Everest to the Royal Geographical Society in 1865.

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