French police believe Lord Shaftsbury murdered

21st December 2004, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Dec 21 (AFP) - Police in the south of France are treating the case of a missing British aristocrat as a murder, their British colleagues said Tuesday.

LONDON, Dec 21 (AFP) - Police in the south of France are treating the case of a missing British aristocrat as a murder, their British colleagues said Tuesday.

Police officers from the county of Sussex travelled to the Mediterranean resort of Nice last week to exchange information with French investigators in the case of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 10th Earl of Shaftesbury, a police spokeswoman told AFP.

"We've ended our inquiries on this side of the Channel," she said. "This remains a French-led investigation, and they are treating it as a murder investigation."

Lord Shaftesbury, 66, has been missing since November 6 when he was seen checking out of the Noga Hilton hotel in the seaside resort of Cannes.

He divided his time between Britain and the French Riviera where he was known to frequent night spots. On the day before he vanished he visited his estranged third wife, a nightclub hostess, in a flat in Cannes.

According to newspaper reports, police have been looking into a possible link with a criminal inquiry launched earlier this year when he claimed to have been assaulted and robbed by a gang.

The case has generated wide interest in Britain. The missing earl's family have told newspapers that they are extremely worried about his fate. He had been expected to return to Britain on November 10.

Lord Shaftesbury, who was educated a Eton and Oxford and speaks fluent French, inherited his title from his grandfather when he was 22 years old, along with the family seat at Wimborne, southwest England, and its 9,000-acre (3,600-hectare) estate.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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