Infamous murder suspect Lord Lucan fled to freedom from Headcorn airfield, according to new research.
Fresh evidence suggests the lord, real name, Richard John Bingham, was driven by taxi to the area and smuggled to France following one of the most famous unsolved murders in British history.
The claim is made by author Laura Thompson, whose book A Different Class of Murder will be released to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the mystery.
The seventh Earl of Lucan is the prime suspect for bludgeoning Sandra Rivett, a 29-year-old nanny to his children, to death in London’s Belgravia.
Police say it was a failed attempt to execute wife Veronica Duncan, who was severely injured in the same attack and immediately identified her husband as the suspect.
Thompson reports that Lucan hired a hit man to do the dirty work, before having a change of heart when it was too late.
The aristocrat, aged 39 at the time, has evaded authorities since.
It is generally believed the peer fled to the East Sussex home of close friend Susan Maxwell-Scott in the morning of November 8, 1974, hours after the murder.
In Thompson’s book the son of an Uckfield taxi boss says his father told him he chauffeured the peer to Headcorn, in the early hours, where he could have made his escape.
But his father didn’t explicitly say he reached an airfield.
Sightings of the disgraced peer have since been reported across the world.
But huge question marks remain - not least that Lucan had massive debts which could have made funding an escape problematic.
The author said: “The son [of the taxi driver] I found to be very convincing. He did not ask for any money or try to make anything out of it.
“But I found the father’s story and his motivation bewildering and I’m not sure what to make of it.”
Trevor Matthews, curator of the Lashenden Air Warfare Museum in Headcorn Airfield, said: “I have worked here for 45 years and have not heard anything to suggest he escaped here.
“It’s a surprise to hear - but there’s plenty of other airfields he could have escaped from.”