Blandford begins 112-day jail term: Marquess arrested in violent struggle with police officers after four days on the run

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The Independent Online
THE MARQUESS of Blandford, heir to the pounds 100m Blenheim estate, began a 112-day jail sentence yesterday after being ignominiously arrested for non-payment of maintenance to his estranged wife.

Lord Blandford, 37, was held after a violent struggle with two police officers less than 24 hours after telling a national newspaper: 'I am the new Lord Lucan . . .'

He had been on a Scotland Yard wanted list since last Friday after giving police and a High Court tipstaff the slip when they turned up to arrest him at his flat in west London. The marquess, a former heroin and cocaine addict, is believed to have bolted through a rear window and shinned down a drainpipe.

In yesterday's edition of the Daily Express, Lord Blandford said he had no intention of giving himself up to the police and boasted of having spent a pleasant weekend which included visits to nightclubs and a meal at Le Pont de la Tour.

'Of course I am not going to give myself up,' he allegedly told the newspaper. 'We are a family of winners, not losers. I will do like my great ancestors would have done . . . I am planning to go to the United States, but I could not possibly tell you when.

'I can go on for ever. One has to live dangerously otherwise life is so maudlin.'

However, the newspaper had been on the streets only a few hours when Sergeant Michael Tate and Constable Patrick Murphy arrested the marquess after what Scotland Yard described as 'quite a violent struggle'.

Lord Blandford, who emerged dishevelled and with a bloodstained mouth, had been staying in a flat at 74 Cathcart Road, Kensington, next door to his own flat at number 76.

The leaseholder, Sarah Fentiman, and her solicitor had asked the police to attend when they suspected electricity and a telephone in the flat were being illegally used.

Brian Dean, a neighbour who saw the arrest, said: 'I was woken up by the police cars lining up in the middle of the street. I could hear all the banging and screaming and then about seven or eight minutes later they dragged him out. He was screaming and shouting abuse.'

Last night, Lord Blandford was starting his jail sentence at Pentonville prison. He is understood to have told friends he is refusing to abide by a High Court ruling to pay pounds 10,000 to his wife, Becky, and their son, George, because Lady Blandford sold her story to a newspaper for a reported pounds 43,000.

Scotland Yard said he was facing charges of assaulting the officers who arrested him and a further four charges of making off without paying taxi drivers sums ranging between pounds 11 and pounds 70. He will appear before Horseferry Road magistrates on 30 June.

At the time of his arrest, Lord Blandford was on police bail for suspected possession of drugs. He is also serving his fourth driving ban.