English aristocrat goes missing in France

19th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

GRASSE, France, Nov 19 (AFP) - French police are investigating the disappearance of a colourful English aristocrat who spent much of his time partying on the French Riviera, police officials said Friday.

GRASSE, France, Nov 19 (AFP) - French police are investigating the disappearance of a colourful English aristocrat who spent much of his time partying on the French Riviera, police officials said Friday.

Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 66, the 10th Earl of Shaftesbury, has not been seen since November 5 in the coastal resort of Cannes, where he regularly stayed.

Police have issued an appeal for witnesses, although a source close to the inquiry said, "for the moment, there is nothing to indicate his disappearance was anything other than voluntary."

In its Friday edition, Britain's Daily Telegraph daily quoted investigators as saying that cash had been withdrawn from his London bank account recently, but not by him.

The newspaper said the thrice-married peer's mobile telephone had not been answered since he was last seen.

Police described Ashley-Cooper as 1.85 metres (six feet, one inch) tall, thin, with thinning grey hair and blue eyes. He has large, heavy-framed red and pink glasses and normally wears casual clothes and a large watch.

Thrice married, he has been linked in the British press with a number of attractive young women in the past, including in 2002 a former glamour model who appeared in Penthouse magazine.

In Sussex, where the earl has a home in the well-heeled seaside town of Hove, police said they were in regular contact with his eponymous son at the family seat in Wimborne, Dorset, southwest England.

"This is completely out of character and very worrying for his family and friends," said Hove police inspector Beryl Bacon. "I will not be drawn into commenting on any speculations or rumours surrounding his disappearance."

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said Ashley-Cooper "went to France on a trip and stayed in the Antibes area in Nice. Then he was going to move to Cannes for a few days."

"He spoke to his family on November 4 and 5 and was due to return to the United Kingdom on November 10, but nobody has seen or heard from him since November 5," she added. "

The family are very concerned because it is out of character and we will continue to remain in touch over the coming days."

Police in the City, London's financial district, were also involved in the investigation.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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