Lord Lucan's son granted death certificate 42 years after his father vanished following the murder of his nanny
The only son of missing peer Lord Lucan has finally been granted a death certificate 42 years after his father vanished following the murder of his nanny.
Lord George Bingham applied for the certificate under the Presumption of Death Act, which came into effect in 2014, so he can inherit the title as 8th Earl.
His father vanished after Sandra Rivett, nanny to his three children, was found murdered at the family home at 46 Lower Belgrave Street in central London on November 7, 1974.
High Court judge Mrs Justice Asplin granted the certificate at a hearing today.
The judge made the declaration that Lord Lucan is presumed dead on the basis that she was satisfied that he had not been known to be alive for a period of at least seven years.
Speaking immediately afterwards Lord Bingham said: "I am very happy with the judgment of the court in this matter. It has been a very long time coming."
At a hearing in December, Miss Rivett's son Neil Berriman was given permission to intervene in the case.
But speaking after today's ruling, Mr Berriman, 49, said: "I think he's (Lucan) dead. It is fantastic and I am very pleased for him (Bingham)."
Even though Lord Lucan was officially declared dead by the High Court in 1999, there have been reported sightings in Australia, Ireland, Africa and New Zealand, and even claims that he fled to India and lived life as a hippy called "Jungly Barry".
Lord Bingham argued that the 1999 declaration had not proved death "for all purposes" and the new Presumption of Death Act allowed for a "more complete process".
On the night of the peer's disappearance, the nanny's attacker also turned on Lord Bingham's mother, Lady Lucan, beating her severely before she managed to escape and raise the alarm at a nearby pub.
Lord Lucan's car was found abandoned and soaked in blood in Newhaven, East Sussex, and an inquest jury declared him the killer a year later.
The application was made to the court on behalf of Lord Bingham - now the 8th Earl of Lucan - by his brother-in-law, Michael Bloch QC.
He said there had been many rumours about the missing peer reported in the press, but the Metropolitan Police gave no credence to any of them.
He told the judge: "It is pretty straightforward. The evidence is all one way."
The judge said that none of Lord Lucan's family members or closest friends had seen or heard from him, or had any reason to believe he was still alive.
She agreed that the evidence all pointed in one direction.