Neil Berriman is Sandra Rivett’s son. In November 1974, Rivett was killed by her employer, Lord Lucan, inside of Lucan’s exclusive home in the Belgravia section of London. Authorities have alleged that Lucan, frustrated by his gambling debts and his failing marriage to Lady Veronica Lucan, attacked Rivett with a lead pipe. It’s thought that Lucan mistook Rivett for his wife. Lucan also attacked his wife on the same night, but she survived. The couple had three children, Frances, George and Camilla.
Rivett had been working as the family’s nanny. His disappearance has been fraught with conspiracy theories, ranging from suicide to rumors that he had fled the country with the help of wealthy and powerful friends. Lucan’s son, George Bingham, has maintained his father’s innocence and believes Lucan killed himself.
There have never been any credible sightings of Lucan, but there have been reports of him living in India and South Africa.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Lucan’s Death Certificate Was Issued in 2016 After Berriman Dropped His Objection
In January 2020, Berriman, 52, told the Daily Mirror that Lord Lucan was alive and was “living as a Buddhist in Australia.” Lord Lucan disappeared after the death of Sandra Rivett and has not been seen since. In February 2016, Lucan was declared legally dead.
At that time George Bingham was quoted as saying, “It is still a mystery what happened. We do not know how this lovely lady died in 1974, but Neil lost a mother and I lost a father. We still do not know how he met his end. And as a British person, I still prefer to consider a person innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Nonetheless I am very pleased with the result that we achieved today.” While Berriman said, “I think [Lucan is] dead. It is fantastic and I am very pleased for [Bingham].” In his statement, Bingham referred to Rivett as the Bingham family’s “beloved nanny.”
Berriman sat beside Bingham in court and added that he felt as though his mother was a victim who had been forgotten by the justice system. The declaration of Lucan’s death had been expedited after Berriman withdrew his claim that Lucan was still alive, reported The Guardian. The newspaper said that Berriman had a document which stated that authorities had evidence that Lucan was alive in 2002.
Despite his legal death, authorities told The Sun that there was no “evidential or tangible proof” that Lucan was actually dead. Berriman says that when Lucan was declared dead in February 2016, he received a letter saying Lucan was still alive. From there, Berriman has said that he spent more than $30,000 of his own money funding an extensive investigation.
2. Berriman Says The Man He Believes Is Lucan Is Housebound & Is Need of Major Surgery
Berriman told the Mirror that he has let authorities in England know of his findings. Berriman says that Lucan is housebound and in need of major surgery. He lives alone in a suburban home. If he were still alive, Lucan would have turned 85 in December 2019. Berriman said, “I believe I have tracked down the man, Lord Lucan, who murdered my mother. They will now have to investigate this properly.” Berriman alleges that Lucan moved to Australia and lived with friends in the city of Perth before moving to live in another part of the country. There, Lucan adopted Buddhist meditation and practices daily.
Berriman works as a building contractor and former merchant banker in Liphook, Hampshire, where he lives with his long-term partner, Kim. He has two adult children from a previous marriage. In 2008, Berriman learned that he was Sandra Rivett’s son and was placed up for adoption. After learning the identity of his mother, Berriman began his search for Lord Lucan. In November 2015, Berriman told the Daily Mail that he learned of his biological mother’s identity from his mother, Audrey, after she left him a brown envelope after her death.
Berriman told the Mail, “It was a tremendous shock to open an envelope, hoping it would help me trace my natural mother, only to be thrown into this unsolved murder mystery. I never knew my poor mother, but it was very emotional discovering who she was, and since then it has become almost an obsession to find out the truth. As Sandra’s son, I am determined to get justice for her.” At the time of that interview, Berriman conceded that in all likelihood, Lucan was dead.
3. Berriman Says That He Was Product of an Affair His Mother Had With a Married Estate Agent
Berriman revealed to the Mail that he was born Gary Roger Hensby in Southsea, Hampshire, in 1967, and put up for adoption shortly afterwards. He was adopted by Audrey and Ivan Berriman in Peterfield, Hampshire, six months later. Berriman said that he was the product of an affair between his biological mother and a married estate agent. Rivett had an older son who was raised by the murdered nanny’s parents. Berriman told the tabloid, “I don’t feel angry with my mother for putting me up for adoption. I believe she felt she was doing what was best for me.” Berriman said that he found out he was adopted at age 11 and that his mother, Audrey, died from cancer in 2004.
Authorities in the UK have not commented on Berriman’s latest findings. The Mirror report says that the elderly man who has been fingered as being Lucan is aware of the allegation. The Mirror says that they chose not to identify him.
4. When Lucan’s Wife Died in 2017, Berriman Spoke of the Bond She Had With Sandra Rivett
Following the death of Lady Veronica Lucan in September 2017, Berriman told the Mirror, “I was saddened to hear of her death. It certainly means for me there is a chapter that has closed forever. She spoke highly of my mother and I was happy that at least we had developed a connection. It is sad that she became more withdrawn over the years. She once told me we were all bonded by tragedy and even though that won’t change I am sure her family will also think a chapter has closed in their lives.”
Berriman told the Mirror in January 2020, “He has been alive all this time. Lying about who he is. Lying about it to his new friends. They are fully aware he is a mystery elderly Englishman and not who he is claiming to be. The people he lives with know he has a mystery past and what he tells them does not add up. They have had their suspicions for many years. Lucan is a deceitful conman and he is the man who murdered my mother. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind he escaped that night, with the help of friends who helped him get across the Channel and get a new passport, and incredibly he is still alive. From my own inquiries, he’s had at least six different identities.”
5. Berriman Objected to the Airing of a TV Series About Lord Lucan in 2013
In 2013, when British network ITV debuted a TV series about Lord Lucan, Berriman told the Radio Times that he thought the idea of the program was “appalling.” Berriman added, “They have invited me to watch the drama but I have got no intentions of going. The programme is not entertainment. They are profiting from my mum’s death.” ITV said in response that they had not received any formal complaints about the program. The Bingham family also objected to its airing.
The series saw Rory Kinnear as Lucan and Leanne Best as Sandra Rivett. Best is the niece of The Beatles’ first drummer, Pete Best.