The 40-year mystery of what happened to Lord Lucan has finally been solved – if this parish magazine is to be believed.
The peer with a renowned taste for gambling has apparently resurfaced as a serving councillor in a sleepy Sussex village.
His photograph was used in the Bersted Parish Council magazine in West Sussex when it mistakenly listed him as its newest member.
John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan, commonly known as Lord Lucan, vanished in 1974 after Sandra Rivett, the nanny to his three children was found murdered at the family home in London.
He has never been seen since despite hundreds of unsubstantiated sightings.
The latest edition of Bersted in Focus, states: “We’re pleased to introduce our three new councillors who gallantly responded to the appeal for volunteers.
“Paul Ralph is a retired lawyer, Trevor Marshall is a former soldier, caterer and IT project manager and Keir Greenway works as a finance assistant.”
The infamous Lord Lucan photo is underneath, captioned Paul, alongside two far newer colour portrait photos captioned Keir and Trevor.
Retired lawyer Cllr Paul Ralph maintains he was not behind the prank, and believes the picture of the notorious aristocrat was only used because he delayed sending in a snap of himself to the magazine.
The 77-year-old said: “It’s somebody’s idea of a joke. I laughed like a drain when I saw it. My daughter told me about it, when I realised it had more implications I took it more seriously.
“I just didn’t send in a picture of myself in time and somebody has decided to use that picture as a joke. I have a sense of humour and laughed at it, but I wish they hadn’t used someone as notorious.
“If it had remained internal we could of all had a laugh at it, but it has gone out on Facebook and now the whole world has seen it. It’s a joke which has just gone a bit too far.
“I wouldn’t want anything to distract from the serious work the parish council, and other councils up and down the country, do every day.”
A spokeswoman for Bersted Parish Council said the photo was merely a joke between two councillors that was not meant to be published.
She said: “It was a personal joke between two councillors. One of the newly elected councillors didn’t submit photograph so that photograph was added.
“It was supposed to be a joke between them and was not meant to go out like that but, but it did go out by mistake. Both saw the funny side, but it was a private joke that should have stayed internal and not gone external.”