Lullingstone Castle: Man died 'confronting poachers'

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Lullingstone CastleImage source, @999London
Image caption,
Police are appealing for anyone who saw two young people in the vicinity of the lake

A man may have been confronting poachers shortly before he died in the grounds of a castle, an angling society has said.

The victim, named locally as Charles Hilder, in his 60s, was pronounced dead on Thursday at Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford, Kent.

Officers were called to the grounds of the medieval estate to reports of "rocks being thrown".

Kent Police said the victim's family had been informed.

The Kingfisher Angling and Preservation Society, said: "Although the exact circumstances surrounding Charlie's death are unclear we believe that Charlie died after a confrontation with poachers.

"At this stage we would like to pass on our sincere condolences to Charlie's family and friends."

She said she was raising concerns with police "as a matter of urgency".

Police have said the death was an isolated case.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
The castle has been shut due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Eynsford Parish Council said it was "fully aware of the dreadful incident that occurred", and said it was aware of other local policing issues.

In a statement, the council said it was asking for an increased police presence.

Ch Insp John Kirby said the death was currently being treated as unexplained, with a post-mortem examination expected on Monday.

He said there had been an increase in anti-social behaviour as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, but regular patrols were taking place in the area, adding: "Kent Police do treat it incredibly seriously."

Officers called to a disturbance within the castle grounds said they believed the man may have been in an altercation with two boys or teenagers near a lake, before his death.

The castle is owned by Tom Hart Dyke, cousin of comedy actor Miranda Hart and the property has been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Twitter, the family posted they were safe.

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