Lord Lucan's watch 'found in South Africa'
A watch owned by missing aristocrat Lord Lucan has surfaced, with claims it was bought in South Africa.
Antiques dealer Cedrick Lincoln, 58, said he bought the silver timepiece from a dealer as part of a £5,000 deal and believes it is further evidence that Lucan, who murdered his children's nanny, fled to Africa after the killing.
The silver watch has a broad leather strap and is engraved with the message: 'Presented to Lord 'Lucky' Lucan - the Old Fossil - by his friends at the Clermont Club, Mayfair, 18 December 1967'.
Lord Lucan shortly before he vanished
Mr Lincoln claimed the dealer had bought the watch in South Africa. Photographs show Lucan wearing a similar watch.
Mr Lincoln, who runs Janic antique dealers in Tamworth, Staffs, said: "I went to buy a Rolex Prince from a dealer friend of mine in Birmingham and saw this watch. I offered £5,000 for the pair and bought them.
This week fresh claims emerged that John Aspinall, the owner of the Clermont, helped spirit Lucan out the country after Sandra Rivett was found bludgeoned in the family home. Lucan was struggling with gambling debts and the collapse of his marriage.
A former secretary to Aspinall told the BBC she had arranged for Lucan's two sons to holiday in Africa so Lucan could observe them from afar.
Mr Lincoln believes DNA testing may prove the watch belonged to Lucan.
"A photograph was published and I believe he is wearing this very watch, looking at the distinctive broad strap.
"His DNA might well be in the strap too as it hasn't been cleaned.
"I have a feel for this kind of thing and I don't believe the inscription was made at a later date on an old watch. I believe this was presented to him and he wore it."
Lucan, born Richard John Bingham in 1934, was officially declared dead by the High Court in 1999.
He started gambling early in life and learnt how to play poker during his National Service.
In 1955 he got a job with a small merchant bank, William Brandts, for £500 a year, but retired in 1960 having won £26,000 over two nights playing 'chemin de fer' at a gambling party run by John Aspinall.
His wife believes he committed suicide by stepping off a ferry soon after the murder, but for years people have claimed to have spotted him abroad.
Mr Lincoln, a former school teacher, added: "For now I'm going to sit tight with it, it's difficult to say what it will fetch in auction because it's hard to prove whether it is the genuine article.