‘Death faked’ to £2m ransoms – celebs who vanished in mysterious circumstances

Even being a famous face can’t stop you vanishing without a trace.

Over the years, several stars have disappeared, from singers to sportspeople and aristocrats – as well as the world’s best-known horse.

To this day, they remain the subjects of conspiracy theories that range from wild to wonderful and just plain weird.

But how can people who are so recognisable to so many others seemingly just fall off the face of the Earth?

Here, in one of six features included in your free Daily Star pullout this Fridy, NATASHA WYNARCZYK reveals some of the most notorious celebrity missing cases from over the years…

Lord Lucan

Aristocrat Richard John Bingham – better known as Lord Lucan – vanished in November 1974.

Heavily burdened by debt and believed to be a domestic abuser, Lord Lucan is thought to have killed the family’s nanny, Sandra Rivett, before disappearing.

He had recently lost custody of his three children to his wife Veronica – and it’s believed she had been the intended victim.

There are various theories about what happened to him, including rumours he drowned, or shot himself at a friend’s zoo then had his remains fed to tigers.

He has also reportedly been sighted living under a new identity in Africa, India and the Maldives, and last year Sandra’s son Neil claimed he had tracked Lucan down in Perth, Australia.

Richey Edwards

Richey was the talented, yet troubled, lyricist for the Welsh indie band Manic Street Preachers.

On February 1, 1995, the 27-year-old musician left a London hotel room on the eve of his band’s US tour, driving to Wales and leaving his car on the Severn Bridge.

While many people believe he may have killed himself – he suffered from anorexia and was known to self-harm – a book released last year suggested Richey had staged his own disappearance to escape his former life.

There have been reported sightings in Goa and the Canary Islands.

But in 2008, he was declared “dead in absentia” – a declaration of presumed death if a person has been missing for at least seven years

Patrick McDermott

The on/off partner of Grease star Olivia Newton-John, cameraman Patrick McDermott vanished in June 2005 while on a fishing trip.

He was on the boat Freedom, with 22 other passengers and three crew members on board, who all gave contradicting reports of his whereabouts after he disappeared.

In November 2008, a US Coast Guard investigation concluded he had drowned, but some say he had faked his own death due to debts.

Patrick owed thousands of pounds, including almost £6,000 in child support to his ex-wife Yvette Nipar.

The case was featured on US investigation site Dateline, with researchers saying he was living in a boat off the coast of Mexico.

In 2016, Australian magazine claimed Patrick was living in Sayulita, Mexico, with a new girlfriend.

Oscar Zeta Acosta

The novelist pal of US journalist Hunter S. Thompson, Oscar Zeta Acosta was a larger-than-life character who took so many drugs that even Thompson, who famously took cocaine for breakfast, couldn’t keep up.

Played by Benicio Del Toro in the 1998 movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Oscar visited his ancestral home in Mexico in May 1974 and vanished without a trace.

Thompson spent years searching on and off for his friend, and later claimed he was either killed while trying to buy drugs or was murdered for political reasons.

But there was a theory that Oscar had suffered from a nervous breakdown while in Mexico, and had decided to stay there to start a new life.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The author of beloved children’s book the Little Prince was an aviation fanatic, and had several near-misses before he disappeared in 1944.

First, he crash-landed in the Libyan desert and spent a week wandering before being rescued while on the brink of death.

Then, while fighting in World War Two he landed on the island of Corsica instead of Sardinia, and again was stranded for several days.

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But on a mission for the Allies on July 31, 1944, he took off over the Mediterranean and was never seen again.

Wreckage from his plane was discovered in 2000, but Saint-Exupéry’s body has never been found.

One theory is he was shot down, but some others believed he killed himself or that he was even rescued and decided to start a new life


After winning the Epsom Derby in 1981, thoroughbred racehorse Shergar was retired to the Ballymany Stud in County Kildare, Ireland.

On February 8, 1983, three men wearing masks entered the home of head groom at Ballymany, Jim Fitzgerald, saying they had “come for Shergar”.

They stole the horse, and demanded a ransom of £2million – but this wasn’t paid and the thieves stopped contact.

One suggestion was he had been kidnapped by the IRA who killed him when the abduction went wrong and buried his body in a bog.

Other theories said he had been stolen by Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi as part of a deal to supply arms to the IRA, had been taken by a Middle Eastern horse breeder, or the Mafia had stolen him.

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