Lucan emerges cunningly disguised as Clark Gable

He has aged somewhat; the hair is greyer, and the face more lined. But the features are unmistakable. It's Clark Gable all right.

Or maybe it's a post-diet Saddam Hussein. He's laid off the Mars bars, got a prison haircut, and had the tie and belt taken away, but it's definitely him. Know him anywhere. Then again, it might be Elvis, the shopping mall years having taken their toll.

It could even be Lord Lucan, which is an eerie coincidence because that is exactly who Scotland Yard says is the subject of the photo-fit issued yesterday. It should know: it was acting on a tip-off from Channel 4 and the rest of the media, who needed some illustration for breathless documentaries and features they are planning to mark the 30th anniversary of his disappearance this month.

And, when you come to look at it, you can see a striking resemblance to the peer who disappeared after killing his children's nanny. There's the same hairline, the same bone structure, the same nose and mouth. Suddenly it all fits into place - the seventh Earl of Lucan didn't throw himself in the Channel after all. He underwent extensive plastic surgery designed to leave him looking precisely as he did before.

Then, just to confuse those searching for him even more, he didn't shave off his moustache. And, finally, in a cunning ploy that shows the devilish calculation of the criminal mind, he put some talcum powder on his hair.

No wonder he's never been found.

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