Police want to talk to a drone owner who may have captured footage of two yobs throwing rocks for a fisherman before he died.
Father of five Charlie Hilder, 66, was sitting on a small boat in a lake when he reportedly threw stones at him.
The retiree is said to have called the police and returned to the coast before being confronted again by the criminals.
Mr. Hilder collapsed and died on the spot near the Grade II listed mansion of Lullingstone Castle in Eysnford, Kent.
Father of five Charlie Hilder, 66, (photo) collapsed and died near the Grade II listed mansion of Lullingstone Castle in Eysnford, Kent
Charles (right), mentioned by fellow fishermen, would leave his wife Lynne and five grown daughters (pictured on daughter Claire’s wedding day)
Detectives from Kent police yesterday called on the owner of a drone to fly in the area to come forward.
They think that the owner of the drone may have made ‘important video footage’ of the incident that took place just after 5 p.m. on Thursday.
Mr. Hilder of Romford, Essex, was reported to be fishing for the first time since the closure began.
His daughter Stephanie, 31, wrote on Facebook: “Words cannot explain how we feel right now. Sleep well, Dad. Give everyone a hug from me. ‘
Locals said there had recently been an increase in antisocial behavior by gangs of youth near the estate, where Henry VIII once hunted.
The fisherman had filled the lake (photo) with trout the morning before his death
The father of two died on the grounds of Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford, Kent, (photo)
Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Moss said, “We continue to request information from anyone who witnessed the incident. We were also told that a drone was flying at the time and we would like to trace the owner. ‘
Mister Hilder is said to have left his wife Lynne and five adult daughters.
His daughter Stephanie wrote of the tragedy: “Our hearts broke to learn that our father has sadly died.
“Words cannot explain how we currently feel. Sleep well Daddy. Give everyone a hug from me. ‘
It is not yet clear whether the victim was actually beaten and whether he fell ill after the attack in the picturesque Darent Valley between Sevenoaks and Dartford.
It’s because locals and MPs have alleged that the area had been besieged by bastards with some menacing people in recent weeks and even tried to steal a dog from a woman.
Hazmat suited to forensic officers operate in the cordon after a man dies on the grounds of Lullingstone Castle
A gloved forensic officer holds a rock and hands it over to the crew on the shores of the lake
Forensic officers look around the boats by the lake on the grounds of the castle in Kent on Friday, May 29
Residents had raised concerns that the area was facing an antisocial behavioral crisis, with local parliamentarian Laura Trott telling Facebook, “Something like that was coming.”
Ms Trott, Conservative Member of Parliament for Sevenoaks, said that she addresses her concerns about antisocial behavior as an “urgent matter” and “is deeply concerned about the reports.”
Police said this afternoon that Mr. Hilder was “possibly involved in an altercation” with two young people before he died.
Mr. Hilder’s family said he could stumble back to his car after the attack and contact the emergency services.
Mick Lee, president of the Kingfisher Angling and Preservation Society, posted on their website this evening: “The Society is shocked and deeply saddened at the death of Mr. Charles Hilder in Lullingstone on Thursday, May 28, 2020.
Charles Hilder, 66, of Romford, Essex, died Thursday after he was reportedly pelted with rocks (pictured with daughter Stephanie)
While the exact circumstances surrounding Charlie’s death are not clear, we think he died after being confronted by poachers.
“At this stage, we would like to express our sincere condolences to Charlie’s family and friends.”
Witnesses reported that armed police arrived and delivered CPR before paramedics also tried to save the man’s life, but he died on the spot.
His daughter is said to have gone to the haste where she brought out what a witness described as a “piercing scream” when she heard that her father was dead.
“She didn’t know what had happened and said she had just been told her father had been injured,” said one witness.
“The woman was with the police and asked to see him and was told he was dead. She was in tears and let out a very high scream.
“She said she last spoke to her father that morning. It was horrible to watch. ‘
The man was a member of the Kingfisher Angling & Preservation Society and had filled the lake with trout the morning before his death with the association’s director, Martin Duffell – the first time he had been out in weeks.
A woman who opened the door to Mr. Duffell’s house in Orpington today did not name the victim, but said, “He was a member of the fishing association.
Police are combing the area around the lake and the grounds of Lullingstone Castle in Kent
Police officers on site after death in the grounds of Lullingstone Castle
Forensic police officers look around on the boats by the lake in the castle grounds on Friday
“He was a very nice, very nice man. He spent the morning with Mr. Duffell supplying the lake with trout. It is absolutely tragic – and it was in such a beautiful, peaceful environment. Everyone is shocked. He was a very nice man. ‘
It costs £ 400 for an annual membership to the club, along with a £ 250 registration fee. Most of the fishing on Lullingstone Castle Lake is done by boat.
The water is filled with rainbow trout. On its website, the association warns members of poaching in the area.
It says: “Poaching on the Darent River remains a problem and members are reminded of the recommended course of action.
“It is very important that you report all poaching incidents that you witness. Do not approach the poacher. Call the police immediately. ‘
Forensic teams work on Volvo’s car parked at the crime scene at Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford, Kent
A box full of laughing gas left in the grass just yards from Lullingstone Castle
Police tape at the entrance of Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford, Kent, after the man’s death
A car with fishing rods inside on the scene at Lullingstone Castle in Kent on Friday
Police have yet to confirm that they have launched a murder investigation and have not said what led to the incident or whether death was caused by a stone.
A police source said a slingshot was likely used to launch the rock at the older man, who is from the Essex area and visited the castle’s lake for fishing.
The victim’s Volvo station wagon remains behind a police cordon. The police have not made any arrests or described those they intend to question about the incident.
A van from a naval unit and a forensic investigation van were later seen across from the deposed castle gate.
These were joined by a second forensic van with two detectives wearing face masks and white overalls and a large Kent Police van shortly after 2:00 PM.
The forensic teams began photographing the silver Volvo V70 Cross Country estate parked at the side of the castle gate. Officials wearing protective gear opened the front passenger door to examine the interior of the vehicle.
The entrance to Lullingstone Country Park on the A225 was also closed by a police van. Local residents said the lake is a dammed section of the Darent River that flows around the castle grounds.
A police car at the entrance of Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford on Friday after Thursday’s death
The lake at Lullingstone Castle where the man was fishing with his brothers (file picture)
One said: “One person said he was in the castle grounds and fishing. On the property is a private lake where you can go fishing for a fee.
“I think it is quite expensive. Eynsford has a very high population of the elderly and many of them go fishing. ‘
The 42-year-old said yobs have wreaked havoc in recent weeks, adding that a group of about 30 men in their 20s or older have targeted locals.
Stephen Jury wrote on her Facebook page to local Tory MP Laura Trott: “Something has to be done!
“The level of antisocial behavior in and around the villages has become a joke and a policeman can only be seen when it is too late!
Lullingstone Castle was built in 1497 and is a tourist attraction in the area (file picture)
“There have been several cases in the past week.
“Why does it take an innocent man to do anything? I just feel for that poor man’s family, but something’s coming! ‘
Ms Trott, who became a Member of Parliament for Sevenoaks in the December elections, said: “All our thoughts are going to the victim’s family and loved ones right now.
“I am speaking this morning with the police and city councilors and I will express your concern about the increasing antisocial behavior as a matter of urgency.
“This is something a few voters have emailed me about, and I’m very concerned about the reports.”
She called on anyone with information to urgently contact the police.
People watch the police presence at the entrance to Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford on Friday, May 29
However, there is no evidence that it was members of that group who reportedly threw stones yesterday.
** Have you seen what happened on Thursday? Email [email protected] **
A cricket club manager was recently threatened with a broken bottle, and the man said they also attempted to steal a woman’s dog in nearby Farningham.
He added, “I wouldn’t be surprised if they were involved. Eynsford is usually so peaceful, but it’s been a nightmare for the past few weeks. ‘
The entrance to Lullingstone Castle was blocked by police. An officer and a marked car guarded the closed castle gate.
A woman who walks by the castle every day with her dog said: “I have been told by someone living in the castle that a fisherman (died) there.
“She seems to think that three brothers were fishing on the lake and stones were being thrown at them. It is shocking. Two of them came in and went home, but one of them never did. They are quite old.
“I was at that cricket ground yesterday and there must have been a group of at least 20 to 30 people.
Police presence at the entrance of Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford, Kent, on Friday
Police tape at the entrance of Lullingstone Castle today after a man died there on Thursday
“Children came down by train because it is a nice spot on the river. And during the closure, this village road was busier than the A20 with day trippers. ‘
How Lullingstone Castle has been owned by the same family since the 15th century
Built in 1497, Lullingstone Castle is a tourist attraction in the area, with a 15-acre lake and several gardens of international plants.
Near the famous Brands Hatch Circuit, the estate has been owned by members of the same family since the 15th century.
The castle, which opens three days a week from spring to fall, has been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The impressive mansion is said to be a favorite of Henry VIII and Queen Anne, with a bathhouse built for the latter still hidden on the property.
The land has been owned by the Hart-Dyke family for 20 generations and is one of England’s oldest estates, with the land listed in the Domesday Book.
It was also home to the Lullingstone Silk Farm, established in the early 1930s, which produced material for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation robes and wedding dress.
Lullingstone also has a garden of exotic plants from all over the world, a venture that made a dangerous start when horticulturist and heir Tom Hart Dyke was kidnapped during the 2000 plant hunt in Columbia.
The 44-year-old was detained for nine months by suspected guerrilla fighters from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the Darien Gap near Panama.
At the time he was hunting rare orchids with his travel partner Paul Winder.
Her boyfriend added, “There have been so many problems this weekend. There are hits that cause a lot of trouble at a local store and at the local cricket ground.
“They took out hanging baskets and threw stones. We do not have such a problem here.
“There is an old boy taking care of the cricket ground and he was threatened with a broken bottle last weekend.”
Another Sidcup man taking walks in the village said the Lullingstone golf course was closed because it had been ‘destroyed by horses and bicycles’.
A concerned neighbor said there had previously been incidents at the lake where people had stolen fish.
She said, “It’s a very nice lake down there in the castle. The only problem I have known with the fishermen in the past is that they have had problems with people coming to steal the fish because they have some nice ones there.
“That is a known problem. We only saw the police cars racing by yesterday. ‘
Her partner added that he had stumbled upon dumped nitrous oxide bottles at the castle while walking.
Nearby roads were closed and forensic officers searched fields close to the site. An air ambulance was also seen circling above the picturesque village.
Another witness said yesterday: “I came out and saw the armed police running up the road. Other officers told me it was now a crime scene. ‘
The family that owns the Lullingstone Castle estate has posted on Twitter to assure friends and family that they were not involved in the incident.
The castle’s official Twitter page said, “If you’ve seen the news, we wanted to reassure people that Sarah, Tom and everyone at Lull are safe and sound.”
The estate is owned by the Hart Dyke family.
A Kent police spokesman said: “The Kent police were called on Thursday 28 May at 5.21 pm for reports of a malfunction at Lullingstone Castle grounds.
Officers and South East Coast Ambulance Service were present and a man in his sixties was pronounced dead on the spot.
Reportedly, he may have been involved in an altercation with two boys or teens near a lake on the property before his death.
Investigators are requesting information from anyone nearby, including dog walkers, fishermen and golfers, who witnessed the incident or saw two young people near the lake between noon and 7pm.
“They would also like to see video footage of vehicles traveling along Castle Road or Shoreham Road, and of cyclists or joggers in the area between these times.”
Anyone with details can contact the Kent Police Department on 01622 604100, quoting 28-1127