Car owner, from Melton, discovers classic Rolls Royce was once owned by the infamous Lady Delamere
When Eric Tindall became the proud owner of a classic Rolls Royce, he never expected it to have once belonged to a woman at the centre of a notorious unsolved murder.
Eric, of Melton, began to do some research after buying the vintage vehicle – only to discover the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III had once belonged to the infamous Lady Delamere.
Lady Delamere, who amassed a fortune in land through four marriages, was widely believed to be the last person to know the full story of the unsolved killing of the Earl of Erroll in Kenya, in 1941.
The earl was shot through the ear at point-blank range shortly after driving away from the home of Lady Delamere and her husband late on a January night in Nairobi.
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Lady Delamere and the earl were said to have been lovers and her then-husband – Sir Henry "Jock" Delves Broughton – was tried for his murder before being sensationally acquitted.
The story was made into a 1987 film, White Mischief, starring Greta Scacchi and Charles Dance.
Eric, a retired businessman who bought the car 18 months ago for an undisclosed sum, said: "I didn't know anything about its history until I started doing some research after I'd bought it. I wondered who she was and then it all started to unravel.
"People find its history fascinating and it's also interesting to look at if you have a passion for cars."
Lady Delamere was born Diana Caldwell in 1913 and moved to the Happy Valley region of Kenya in late 1940, together with her new husband, Sir Henry.
Years later, she married the 4th Baron Delamere and increased her land fortune.
By the time of Delamere's death, she was possibly the most powerful white woman in Africa, dubbed the "White Queen of Africa". She died in 1987.
Eric said: "The car came off the production line on December 24, 1963 and was delivered to her at The Hall, Six Mile Bottom, near Newmarket, Suffolk, on January 1, 1964. She owned it until 1971, according to the log book.
"In my opinion, it is when Rolls Royce got it right, the shape, the look and the style when the only thing you could hear at 60 miles an hour was the ticking of the clock on the dashboard.
"I use it for pleasure, it's the quintessential British motoring experience.
"It's got power steering and electric windows – which were both very special in its day."
Eric is no stranger to having cars once owned by the rich and famous – he has previously had a 1929 Rolls Royce owned by former Prime Minister Winston Churchill.