Riviera body could be missing British lord

6th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

NICE, France, April 6 (AFP) - French police say they have found a decomposing body that could be that of the Earl of Shaftesbury, the English lord who mysteriously disappeared last November on the Riviera.

NICE, France, April 6 (AFP) - French police say they have found a decomposing body that could be that of the Earl of Shaftesbury, the English lord who mysteriously disappeared last November on the Riviera.

Police uncovered the body on Tuesday in a valley in Theoule-sur-Mer, near the Riviera city of Cannes, where 66-year-old Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 10th Earl of Shaftesbury, went missing.

The clothes on the body match the description of those reportedly worn by Lord Shaftesbury when he vanished on November 6, a day after he had seen his spouse, whom he was in the process of divorcing.

Forensics experts will conduct an autopsy in order to formally identify the body, but investigators said it was highly likely that it was the corpse of the earl.

The lord's estranged third wife, Djamila M'Barek, was arrested in late February on suspicion of complicity in murder. She told investigators she witnessed a deadly fight between her husband and brother in their Cannes flat.

But M'Barek - a Dutch-Tunisian former nightclub hostess whom Lord Shaftesbury married in 2002 after meeting her in Versailles - had not provided any details about the alleged crime, nor the location of her husband's body.

Detectives described as pure speculation all possible motives for the murder, including one that the sister and brother had hatched a plot in revenge for Shaftesbury's relationship with a younger nightclub hostess.

M'Barek's 40-year-old brother Mohammed was taken into custody in Germany and extradited to France. He was placed under judicial investigation late last month for murder.

Educated at Eton and Oxford and a fluent French speaker, Lord Shaftesbury 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.

The eccentric earl divided his time between Britain and the French Riviera where he was known to frequent nightspots.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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