Lady Lucan killed herself by taking a cocktail of drink and drugs after self-diagnosing herself with Parkinson’s disease
The tragic wife of Lord Lucan cut her three children out of her will and left her fortune to a homeless charity instead.
Veronica, the Dowager Countess of Lucan, was found dead at her multi-million pound home in Belgravia, London, in September.
An inquest last week revealed the 80-year-old had killed herself after taking a cocktail of alcohol and drugs after wrongly believing she was suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
The aristocrat was estranged from her three children George, Frances and Camilla and chose to remove them from her will, leaving all her possessions to Shelter, an organisation which helps the homeless.
Speaking after the hearing, Camilla Bingham, QC, told the Daily Mail: ‘Mummy left her estate to the homeless charity, Shelter.’
The total figure of Lady Lucan’s inheritance is unknown but the sale of her Belgravia property alone is thought to run into the millions.
The reasons behind her decision to select Shelter as a charity were not made clear during the hearing however a coroner heard how towards the end of her life, Lady Lucan became increasingly reclusive.
She hadn’t spoken to her three children in more than 35 years due to a long-standing rift and had never met any of her grandchildren.
Reports suggested the family were divided over the disappearance of her missing husband Lord Lucan, who fled after the murder of their children’s nanny in 1974.
For four decades, Lady Lucan was the subject of countless stories and documentaries as the search for her husband Lord Lucan rumbled on.
In 1999, Lord Lucan was officially declared dead by the High Court, but a death certificate was not granted until 2016, allowing George to become the 8th Earl of Lucan.
An auction will take place in Oxfordshire next month where Lady Lucan’s possessions will be sold. Among the items are expected to include a large oil portrait of her husband and a personalised top hat.
In happier times: Lady Lucan, pictured, with children Camilla, Frances and George at Christmas 1974
Lady Lucan (right) was one of the last people to see Lord Lucan (left) alive before he became the most famous fugitive in the world. The couple are pictured on their wedding day in 1963
Shelter said: ‘The proceeds will help us to continue fighting bad housing and homelessness.’
Last week a court heard how police smashed a window to break into her two-storey terraced townhouse in London’s Belgravia last September.
Officers found her body in night clothes on the dining room floor on top of an unmarked bottle with just one pill left inside. It later emerged she had taken a fatal amount of barbiturates and alcohol.
Lady Lucan’s daughter Camilla Bingham is pictured with her brother George at her wedding in Eaton Square in September 1998
The inquest was told Lady Lucan feared she had developed Parkinson’s after she noticed a tremor in her right hand.
But the coroner said there was no formal diagnosis and an examination of her brain came back with ‘normal’ results.
However, Lady Lucan had also lost her sense of smell, felt tired, anxious and suffered from insomnia, as well as becoming forgetful.
She was one of the last people to see Lord Lucan – the 7th Earl John Bingham – alive before he became the most famous fugitive in the world.
He is alleged to have killed family nanny Sandra Rivett after mistaking her for his estranged wife during a bitter custody battle over their three children in 1974.
The inquest heard Lady Lucan’s friend David Davies was worried about her after she had not been seen for two days and missed their regular meeting at St James’ Park.
He went to Belgravia police station concerned she had killed herself, as the pair had discussed assisted suicide if they had a terminal illness or a degenerative disease
Coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox recorded a verdict of suicide. She said: ‘It’s clear that Veronica Mary Lucan has for some time been considering how she could, if she was to take her own life.
For 40 years she was the subject of countless stories and documentaries as the search for her husband Lord Lucan rumbled on (the couple pictured together in 1963)
She said: ‘She attended a seminar in relation to this and she had four books and notes recovered from the scene and hand written notes which appear to be taken from the books.
‘It’s clear from her diary entries of July, August, September she considered she suffered from Parkinson’s disease, but there is no formal diagnosis and examination of her brain was normal.
‘She had met with a publisher and I note she got up from the floor in a sprightly way, although she had seemed down.
‘There’s no evidence of suffering from a mental illness, although she had complained of anxiety and insomnia, which medication had been prescribed.
‘Evidence from her diary seemed to suggest she had concerns she was suffering from Parkinson’s disease in the weeks and months leading up to her death. She had also selected her final photographs and final edit of her book.
‘This was a lady of a regular routine and regularly met with friends on a daily basis in St James’ Park to have lunch and go to the library.
Police smashed a window (circled) to break into her terraced townhouse in London’s Belgravia
The coroner added: ‘Her friend David Davies became very concerned when he hadn’t met her and in the park and went to the police station to report her missing.
‘He was insistent at the time he thought she had taken her own life because she had knowledge of methods of suicide. But that said there was nothing to suggest any change in mood in her leading up to this.
‘Her lifeless body was found wearing a blue dressing gown, slippers, with a small graze on her forehead.
‘The pathologist gave a cause of death due to respiratory failure. This was supported by the congestion of the lungs, as well as barbiturates and alcohol poisoning.
‘The level of barbiturates was above the normal therapeutic range and approached a fatal concentration, the effects of which would have been exacerbated by alcohol.
‘It’s clear there was nothing to suggest any third party involvement or forced entry or disturbance or disruption. When I consider all the evidence there’s evidence of intention with hand written notes detailing concerns about her health.
‘Although there is no suicide note there are diary entries in which she details these thoughts. I’m entirely satisfied that suicide is the final conclusion.’
How bludgeoned Lady Lucan was one of the last people to see Lord Lucan alive before he disappeared
Detectives believe Lord Lucan intended to murder his wife and killed the nanny by mistake
John Bingham, the 7th Earl of Lucan, vanished after the body of nanny Sandra Rivett was found at the family’s London home on November 7, 1974.
Lady Lucan was bludgeoned when she ran downstairs to investigate, but managed to escape and raise the alarm.
Lord Lucan’s blood-stained car was later found abandoned in Newhaven, East Sussex, but he was never successfully traced.
Lucan was never seen in public again, and his body was never found, leading to decades of fevered speculation about his whereabouts.
In 1975, an inquest jury declared him to have been Ms Rivett’s killer.
Detectives believe the aristocrat – an abusive husband and heavy gambler nicknamed ‘Lucky Lucan’ – intended to murder his wife and killed the nanny by mistake.
His marriage to Lady Lucan had been described as ‘grimly unhappy.’ The mystery of Lord Lucan’s disappearance still intrigues Britain.
His marriage to Lady Lucan (pictured with their son George, three) had been described as ‘grimly unhappy’
The High Court declared him dead for probate purposes in 1999, but there have been scores of reported sightings around the world, in countries including Australia, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand.
In an ITV documentary last year, Lady Lucan said she believed Lord Lucan had jumped off a ferry shortly after the killing.
‘I would say he got on the ferry and jumped off in the middle of the Channel in the way of the propellers so that his remains wouldn’t be found,’ she said, calling what she believed to be his final act ‘brave.’
The couple had three children.
In 2016 a court issued a ‘presumption of death’ certificate for Lord Lucan, a ruling that cleared the way for the couple’s son, George Bingham, to become the 8th Earl of Lucan.