A watch owned by missing aristocrat Lord Lucan has been discovered in South Africa .
The silver timepiece is inscribed with a message which reads “Presented to Lord ‘Lucky’ Lucan, the old fossil, by his friends at the Clermont club, Mayfair, 18 December 1967.
It was apparently bought as part of a £5,000 deal by Staffordshire antiques dealer Cedrick Lincoln- from a contact who claims he got it in a South African pawn shop.
If this is true, it lends weight to the theory the aristocrat fled to South African to live a secret life after the murder of his children’s nanny in London in 1974.
While there is no concrete proof the watch belonged to Lord Lucan, there are photos of the peer wearing a similar timepiece.
Lincoln told the Sun: "It was complete coincidence that I bought the watch just as the story about Lord Lucan living in Africa emerged.
"When I saw a picture of him wearing the watch I was just gobsmacked.
"The dealer said its history was that it had been pawned in Africa then found its way back here.
"I'm convinced it's Lucan's watch and the history pins him to living in Africa all these years."
Lincoln now hopes to have DNA tests carried out on the watch.
He added: "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."
Lord Lucan went missing following the death of Sandra Rivett and was declared dead by the High Court in 1999. An inquest jury named him as the killer in 1975.
There have been numerous “sightings” of the missing nobleman, often in Australia and India.
Most recently a BBC report interviewed a former personal assistant to Lord Lucan’s friend John Aspinall, who claimed the peer was living in African during the 1980s.
Jill Findlay also claims the peer, who would be 77 if he was still alive, was visited by his children at least twice.