A BRADFORD professor has claimed that an elderly man in Australia has an almost exact facial match to Lord Lucan.

Richard John Bingham – 7th Earl of Lucan, more commonly known as Lord Lucan - vanished nearly half a century ago. Despite being declared dead, no body has ever been found. Now world-renowned computer scientist Professor Hassan Ugail has used pioneering facial recognition technology to match three photographs taken of a mystery pensioner in Australia with four historic images of the missing aristocrat.

Professor Ugail said: “I was contacted by Neil Berriman, who asked me if I could use computer-based face recognition on seven photos taken many years apart to see if there was a probability of a match between them.

“According to the computer algorithm, based on thousands of experiments, these pictures belong to the same individual or someone who looks extremely like them -  like identical twins.

“This is science and mathematical fact. You can’t cheat the algorithm.”

Mr Berriman is the son of nanny Sandra Rivett, who looked after the Lucans’ three children and was found brutally murdered in the family’s home in Belgravia, London, 48 years ago, on November 7, 1974.  Lady Lucan was also attacked on the same night and later identified her estranged husband as her attacker. Lord Lucan vanished the day after the attacks and, in 1975, an inquest jury decided he was responsible for Sandra’s murder.

Lucan was declared dead in 1999 and a death certificate was issued in 2016, allowing his son to inherit the family title.

However, over the years, there have been many alleged sightings.

As Director of the Centre for Visual Computing at the University of Bradford, Professor Ugail has used his technology on high profile cases including helping identify the perpetrators of the Salisbury poisonings as well as suspects in the case of missing Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

He explained: “The way a human looks at a face is very different from the way a computer looks at a face.  “As humans, we see objects like faces in three dimensions but a computer can see them in thousands of dimensions.  “By using millions of images of faces as data, we have trained a very powerful computer algorithm to recognise and identify a face – even within a database of millions of faces and even if the input face is only a partial blurry image of a face. “Unlike humans, the computer algorithm looks at a face very deeply - from the colour, texture, the different shapes, the ratios and proportions. It’s a very, very detailed way of analysing an image which goes far deeper than what the human eye can see.”

In all the images Professor Ugail analysed, provided by Mr Berriman, the similarity index was above 75 per cent and in most cases, it was over 80 per cent. Professor Ugail said: “In my experience, over the thousands of experiments we have done over many years, involving millions and millions of faces, the face recognition algorithm would not report such close resemblance unless it is from the same individual, or someone who looks extremely like them, such as their identical twin.”