Sunday, January 31, 2016

Lord Lucan, John Aspinall and George Osborne

A new theory about what happened Lord Lucan after he murdered Sandra Rivett in 1974 emerged this week.

According to the Daily Mail, he shot himself and was then fed to a tiger at John Aspinall's zoo in Kent.

I don't believe a word of it, but the Lucan story has always fascinated me.

The best picture of John Aspinall is to be found in John Pearson's The Gamblers, but a few quotes will suffice.

Here is the Daily Express from 2013:
"Aspinall was a total crook," says Sir Rupert [Mackeson] now. "He started in the days when gambling was illegal away from racecourses. His mother Lady Osborne was a real force behind the operation." 
Aspinall and his mother were charged with "keeping a common gaming house" but were acquitted on a technicality in 1958. ... 
Aspinall opened the Clermont in 1962 after gambling had been legalised and its founder members included five dukes, five marquesses and nearly 20 earls. 
Aspinall was determined to relieve the bluebloods of their money and use the funds to finance his private zoo where he bred tigers. 
"He employed crooked dealers and used a wide range of techniques for cheating," says Sir Rupert. "He encouraged rich people, young aristocrats and in particular rich divorcees, to come to his club. A lot of people were ruined. Lucan lost a fortune and so became a house player for Aspinall."
Some of the money Aspinall fleeced from the aristocracy went to fund his zoos and wildlife breeding projects. But lest you feel too warm to him about that, read this anonymous blog post:
Both Howletts and Port Lympne seemed to attract human disaster. Aspinall's daughter-in-law, Louise, was bitten by a tiger cub and needed 15 stitches. A boy of 10 had his arm ripped off by a chimpanzee at Port Lympne, and was awarded £132,000 in damages. Bindu, an English bull elephant, crushed a "bonding" keeper to death at Howletts and later Darren Cockrill, who was crushed by an elephant at Port Lympne in February 2001. 
In 1994, the local council banned the keepers from entering the tiger cages after one of their number, Trevor Smith, was killed at Howletts.
My reason for writing about Aspinall, beyond the Lucan and tiger story, is his mother. Because Lady Osborne is also the grandmother of George Osborne.

Her first husband was Dr Robert Aspinall and John was the child of that marriage (though John is said to have discovered in later life that he was not Robert's son and to have found and supported his real father).

Her second was Sir George Osborne. They had four children together, and George Osborne is the son of the third of them.

He was famously christened Gideon, but changed his name to George, in honour of his grandfather who was dead by then, at the age of 13.

So that is my Trivial Fact of the Day.

It also explains why you can find headlines like:

Lord Lucan 'told George Osborne's grandmother he was planning to kill his WIFE days before he murdered his nanny and then drowned himself days later'


Phil Beesley said...

Older Guardian story:

“Whenever anything ambiguous happens, we have this bias towards assuming that it was intended – that somebody planned it, that there was some kind of purpose or agency behind it, rather than thinking it was just an accident, or chaos, or an unintended consequence of something.”


David Robert Grimes: “My results suggest that any conspiracy with over a few hundred people rapidly collapses, and big science conspiracies would not be sustainable.”
Sandra Rivett was killed by a blow on the head with a heavy weapon. The alleged perpetrator has never been questioned and stories about Lucan continue.

Lucan probably escaped owing to silly, conscienceless mates with a boat or plane. According to age stats, help mates are going to be dead or may claim to be daft if questioned today.

wolfi said...

Even our German news magazine SPIEGEL reports this story with the headline:

Mysteriöse Mord-Affäre: Verschollener Lord nach 41 Jahren für tot erklärt

Mysreious murder affair - Lord Lucan officially declared dead after 41 years

Jonathan Calder said...

It was a huge story here in Britain back in 1074.