This is a full length documentary, (transmission copy), which was broadcast on UK television some years ago.
Ben Needham (born 29 October 1989 in Sheffield) is a British child who disappeared on 24 July 1991 on the Greek island of Kos. At the time of his disappearance, he was aged 21 months. After initial searches failed to locate him, he was believed to have been kidnapped. Despite numerous claims of sightings, his whereabouts remain unknown.
In October 2012, South Yorkshire Police began to follow a line of inquiry which suggested that Ben had been accidentally killed and buried in a mound of rubble by an excavator driver working in a field adjoining the house where he was last seen. Extensive excavation of the rubble was undertaken by British and Greek Police. One item of particular interest to the police was a Dinky toy car, which they hoped to recover and believed could be “key to discovering his fate.” The search failed to detect any human remains or items belonging to Ben.
In September 2016, the police returned to Kos to carry out further excavations. Although no remains were found, a yellow Dinky car, believed to have been Ben’s, was recovered. Detective Inspector Jon Cousins, heading the inquiry, said: “It is my professional belief that Ben Needham died as a result of an accident near to the farmhouse in Iraklis where he was last seen playing. The recovery of this item, and its location, further adds to my belief that material was removed from the farmhouse on or shortly after the day that Ben disappeared.”
The 7th Earl of Lucan (born 18 December 1934 – disappeared 7th November 1974), commonly known as Lord Lucan, was a British peer suspected of murder who disappeared in 1974. He was an Anglo-Irish aristocrat, the eldest son of George Bingham, 6th Earl of Lucan, by his wife Kaitlin Dawson. An evacuee during the Second World War, Lucan returned to attend Eton College, and then from 1953 to 1955 served with the Coldstream Guards in West Germany.
He developed a taste for gambling and, skilled at backgammon and bridge, became an early member of the Clermont Club. Although his losses often exceeded his winnings, he left his job at a London-based merchant bank and became a professional gambler. He was known as Lord Bingham from April 1949 until January 1964, during his father’s lifetime.
He was known for his expensive tastes; he raced power boats and drove an Aston Martin. In 1963 he married Veronica Duncan, by whom he had three children, Frances, Camilla and George. When the marriage collapsed late in 1972, he moved out of the family home at 46 Lower Belgrave Street, in London’s Belgravia, to a Flat in nearby Elizabeth Street.
A bitter custody battle ensued, which Lucan lost. He began to spy on his wife and record their telephone conversations, apparently obsessed with regaining custody of the children. This fixation, combined with his gambling losses, had a dramatic effect on his life and personal finances.
On the evening of 7 November 1974, the children’s nanny, Sandra Rivett, was bludgeoned to death in the basement of the Lucan family home, 46 Lower Belgrave Street, London. Lady Lucan was also attacked; she later identified Lucan as her assailant. As the police began their murder investigation, Lucan telephoned his mother, asking her to collect the children, and then drove a borrowed Ford Corsair to a friend’s house in Uckfield, East Sussex.
Hours later, he left the property and vanished without trace. The car was found abandoned in Newhaven, its interior stained with blood and its boot containing a piece of bandaged lead pipe similar to one found at the crime scene. A warrant for Lucan’s arrest was issued a few days later, and in his absence the inquest into Rivett’s death named him as her murderer, the last occasion in Britain a coroner’s court did so.
Within Britain, there has been continuing interest in Lucan’s fate. Since Rivett’s murder, hundreds of reported sightings have been made in various countries around the world; none have been substantiated. Despite a police investigation and huge press interest, Lucan has not been found and is presumed dead; a death certificate was issued in 2016.
Kaiser’s spotted newt (Neurergus kaiseri Schmidt, 1952), also known as the Luristan newt, is a species of very colourful salamander. They are endemic to the southern Zagros Mountains in Iran where they inhabit just four streams.
Populations of this newt have been declining and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated it as “vulnerable”. A captive breeding programme has been established in several zoos.
In 2017 I was offered several Kaiseri newts. I had never kept newts before, and was concerned when I read that there current conservation status is listed as Vulnerable (threatened). I was provided with Article 10 documents for each one I acquired, a total of twelve over a few months.
I have developed my interest in these colorful and fascinating newts as a challenge to see if I can go some way to assist the conservation of the species.
* It is not known how many times a year Kaiser newts breed.
* Breeding season Kaiser newts breed from March to April.
* Range number of offspring 45 to 60.
* Average time to independence 3.5 months.
* Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female) 2 to 4 years.
* Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male) 2 to 4 years.
Construction of a brand new enclosure is currently in progress. It will feature part terrestrial and part aquatic. It will also provide the latest state of the art lighting. I hope the first mating will take place in spring 2018.