Police Arrest Fugitive Aristocrat for Refusing Support Payments
LONDON (AP) _ The bad boy of British aristocracy was caught by police today after spending four fun days on the lam, slurping oysters at a fancy restaurant and plotting an escape to the United States.
The Marquess of Blandford, wanted for failing to make more than $15,000 in support payments to his estranged wife and son, was charged with assaulting two police officers during the early morning arrest at his west London home.
The 37-year-old marquess, aka Charles James Spencer-Churchill, is the son of the 11th Duke of Marlborough and heir to a $150 million fortune that includes Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Winston Churchill.
The errant peer, a convicted drug user, had been on the run since Friday when a bailiff and four policemen tried to arrest him. He evaded them, apparently by climbing out his back window and down a 30-foot drainpipe.
In an interview with the Daily Express, published hours before his arrest, Blandford said he was enjoying himself.
″I had a very good weekend going to clubs and had a delicious meal of oysters at La Pont de la Tour,″ he was quoted as saying.
Blandford also said he had been planning to flee to the United States, and declared he would be the ″new Lord Lucan,″ the self-described professional gambler who vanished 18 years ago after the murder of his children’s nanny.
″I can go on forever. One has to live dangerously otherwise life is so maudlin,″ he was quoted as saying.
″Of course, I am not going to give up. We are a family of winners, not losers,″ said Blandford, whose family motto is ″Faithful, though unfortunate.″
Blandford’s peccadillos frequently make news, titillating the British public which loves to read about the foibles of the upper crust.
An addiction to heroin and cocaine netted Blandford three months in prison, time in a drug dependency clinic and a two-year suspended sentence in 1986 for cocaine possession.
His 1990 marriage to kindergarten teacher Becky Few Brown brought a brief period of peace, but they separated after 18 months while she was expecting their son, George.
She sold the story of their marriage breakdown to a tabloid newspaper to help pay her legal bills, accusing her husband of romancing an old girlfriend and resuming his drug habit.
The marquess and marchioness now communicate largely through lawyers. Both have fallen out with the duke.
The marquess reportedly hasn’t spoken to his father since he called the marchioness a ″filthy little scrubber″ for posing in underwear for the glossy, upscale magazine Tatler last year.
She told the Daily Mail she agreed to a family request for a blood test ″to squash all gossip″ about George’s paternity.