Flamboyant Earl Found Dead Five Months After Disappearing

ByABC News
April 11, 2005, 12:15 PM

April 13, 2005— -- Lord Shaftesbury led a playboy lifestyle -- he was known for his generosity and love of busty waitresses -- but it was apparently a $10,000 monthly allowance for his estranged third wife that led to his gruesome slaying.

Five months after his disappearance, the dismembered body of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the 10th Earl of Shaftesbury, was found in the woods near Cannes along the French Riviera, less than 10 miles from his home. His third wife and her brother are currently awaiting trial for murder.

Aristocrat by day, party animal at night, Lord Shaftesbury would trade in the pomp of his English upbringing and his shetland sweaters for unbuttoned linen shirts and funky red glasses when he came to the Riviera.

"He was a tall, full-frame, distinguished man who always wore tailored clothing, and at night he'd spice it up with extravagant outfits," said his lawyer, Thierry Bensaude, in a phone interview from his office in Nice, 20 miles northeast of Cannes.

The 66-year-old earl divided his time between Britain and France where he had multiple homes and just as many girlfriends.

Ashley-Cooper was last seen with his third wife, Jamila M'Barek. The 43-year-old, Tunisian-born, former nightclub hostess wanted to hash out the details of her monthly allowance. The slim, tall blonde was living in their Cannes apartment while her estranged husband hung out at a luxury hotel.

M'Barek had blamed Ashley-Cooper's serial womanizing for their split. At the time, the earl was supporting two other women in fancy digs on the Cote d'Azur.

The earl's family expected him at London's Heathrow airport about a week after that meeting, although no one was surprised that he never boarded his flight. Ashley-Cooper liked his freedom and did as he pleased. But on Nov. 16 -- six days after he was expected in London -- his lawyer alerted the authorities as well as his family.

"The earl kept me informed of his whereabouts but when his sister told me she hadn't heard from him either, I knew something was wrong," said Bensaude.