Six degrees

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 November, 2009, 12:00am
 

On November 8, 1974, Lord Lucan (above) burst onto the world stage with the curious act of disappearing from it. The British peer vanished a few hours after his children's nanny was found bludgeoned to death in what is believed to be a case of mistaken identity: Lucan had reportedly planned to murder his wife. In December 1974, Australian police arrested a man in Melbourne they believed to be the 7th Earl of Lucan but who turned out to be British MP John Stonehouse...

Stonehouse, who had faked his own death a month earlier, had decamped Down Under with his mistress/secretary to escape mounting debt. The MP for Walsall North was sent home and convicted on 21 counts of malfeasance. The disgraced Labour politician was given new digs at London prison Wormwood Scrubs...

The 118-year-old prison, described as a 'penal dustbin' by one of its former governors, was the scene of a 1979 rooftop protest by IRA inmates and, in the 1990s, saw the suspension of 27 officers amid allegations of staff brutality. The prison briefly played host to Rolling Stones bad boy Keith Richards...

Richards caused a media uproar in 2007 when, in an interview with NME magazine, the rocker claimed he had ground up his father's ashes with drugs and snorted them. His manager later said Richards had been joking and that the magazine had also misquoted the musician as saying he listened to heavy metal band Motorhead when he had in fact said Mozart...

When the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a teenager, he attended a performance of Gregorio Allegri's Miserere in Rome's Sistine Chapel and afterwards wrote down the entire score from memory, returning only to correct minor errors. The result was the first illegal bootleg copy of this closely guarded property of the Vatican...

The seat of the Catholic Church stumbled into a public relations fiasco earlier this year after it was revealed that German-born Pope Benedict had been a member of the Hitler Youth. The Pope was described as an 'inattentive member' who declined to read Adolf Hitler's political musings in Mein Kampf, a copy of which was purchased from London's Hatchards bookshop by right-wing British aristocrat Richard John Bingham, also known as Lord Lucan.

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