A Group of Cheques Signed By the Late Lord Lucan
Richard John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan (1934-c. 1974), a debonair character addicted to gambling since his schooldays at Eton, disappeared in mysterious circumstances in the hours after his family’s nanny, Sandra Rivett, was murdered at 46 Lower Belgrave street, Belgravia, on 7 November 1974. No-one has ever established that Lucan, officially declared dead earlier this year, was the killer, but it has long been thought that the murderer mistook Rivett for Lady Lucan, at that time estranged from her husband.
The following group of cheques, drawn on Coutts Bank, were written by Lord Lucan. Lots 438, 439 and 440 would have been accepted by the Ladbroke Club, 22 Hill street, Mayfair, in one session, as the cheques are consecutively numbered. Lots 441 and 442 are interesting in that they show the casino cashier’s date-stamps for the evening of 16 October 1973. It is possible that Lucan asked if all five cheques could be post-dated, so they would not reach his bank until he was in funds. He reneged on this deal and all five cheques were subsequently stopped.
By the end of 1973 Lucan was in debt and early in 1974 entered a deal with the Ladbroke Club to pay monthly instalments to settle his debt. The six consecutively numbered cheques (Lots 443-448) were payable to A. (Alex) Alexander, the then managing director of Ladbroke’s London casinos. The practise of making cheques payable to a director or senior manager was a ruse to confuse a punter’s bank manager, but this seldom worked. The first of the series (Lot 443) was again stopped by Lucan telephoning his bank, and none of the others were ever presented as by then Lucan had little money.