LORD Lucan was smuggled out of Britain to a remote Greek monastery by a former MI5 agent financed by his wealthy friends, the author of a new book claims.
The nation’s most wanted criminal was rescued by a cabal of Britain’s richest socialites who enlisted a right-wing private army of former government agents.
In the week following the murder of nanny Sandra Rivett in 1974, John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan, was moved around the country from a hotel to a pub and on to a safe house.
The fugitive shaved off his moustache, applied fake tan and bleached his hair before boarding a flight from Heathrow with a fake passport provided by the former MI5 man.
The duo hid in remote safehouses and fishing boats in Greece, before Lucan made it to the monastery in Crete.
After hiding out there for weeks, he disappeared on a boat to the shores of Africa under the guise of a monk, never to be seen again.
He was declared dead in 1999.
The theory has been put forward by author Richard Wilmott, who claims to have solved the 40-year mystery of what happened to the missing peer.
He said his findings are the result of more than 20 years’research, during which his car containing some of his work was set on fire.
He claims his discoveries have been confirmed by a member of the Lucan family and says he only feels safe to reveal them now that key players in the plot have died.
Mr Wilmott said: “Everyone thought it was his wealthy chums that spirited him away but it is just not possible to simply disappear without a trace.
“Normal people, even those over-burdened with wealth,lack the ability to pull off such a trick. It takes the hands of professionals to disappear completely for 40 years, and that’s what he had.”
Mr Wilmott said his story comes from a former MI5 agent known as James Gurney, who claims he was the man responsible for escorting Lucan out of Britain.
He said Mr Gurney showed him his diaries to back up his tale.
Lucan was part of the Clermont Set, a group of Britain’s richest gamblers and socialites who met at the Clermont Club in London’s Mayfair.
According to Mr Gurney, they were the ones who enlisted a right-wing “private army” known as the Troops of Midian to help Lucan disappear.
They were a clandestine freelance outfit of former government agents who carried out “black ops” work for MI5 and MI6 and even the CIA.
Mr Wilmott said in the week following the murder Lucan was taken to the Wellington Hotel in Tunbridge Wells in Kent and then on to the nearby Crown Inn, Groombridge, where he was handed over to Mr Gurney.
Detailed in diary entries from the time, he took him to a safe house in the Wiltshire village of Fonthill Gifford.
“He was then spirited out of the country and this guy Gurney was with him all the way,” said Mr Wilmott.
Lucan shaved off his moustache, applied fake tan and bleached his hair and left the Wiltshire cottage carrying a fake passport in the name of Richard Bishop.
He then simply strolled through Heathrow Airport with Mr Gurney and boarded a plane to Athens.
In Greece Mr Gurney said he met agents who helped him hide the fugitive in various safe houses and fishing boats before he ended at the remote Moni Kapsa monastery in Crete.