Two teenagers have today been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after an angler was allegedly pelted with rocks on a country estate in Kent.
Charles Hilder, 66, was found collapsed in a car park at Lullingstone Castle near Eynsford last month and died of a heart attack, a post-mortem found.
A small group of youths were said to have thrown stones at the father-of-five after he asked them to leave the private lake where they were believed to be poaching fish.
Father-of-five Charles Hilder, 66, was found collapsed in a car park at Lullingstone Castle near Eynsford last Thursday – and police now want to talk to two boys who were involved
Mr Hilder (right), who was named by fellow anglers, is understood to leave behind his wife Lynne and five grown-up daughters. He is pictured on his daughter Claire’s wedding day
On a return to his car, the two youths and the angler were involved in another verbal argument – and Mr Hilder, from Romford, Essex, then collapsed and later died.
Today, Kent Police said they had arrested an 18-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy at 6.35am after attending a property in Layhams Road, Keston.
The suspects remain in custody.
Officers and paramedics were despatched to the 15th century estate – where King Henry VIII once hunted – on May 28 after receiving reports of a disturbance.
They tried to revive the angler with CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Detectives have been attempting to establish whether the victim was actually struck by one of the rocks.
Detective Chief Inspector Ivan Beasley said: ‘We are continuing to gather information to help us establish the full circumstances leading up to Mr Hilder’s death and I would like to thank everyone who has provided us with information, so far.
Police outside the entrance to Lullingstone Castle last month, where Mr Hilder was found dead
‘It remains important we speak to anyone else who may have attended Lullingstone Castle around this time, who have yet to contact the police.
‘This includes visitors who may have taken photographs on their phones, or who may have video footage recorded on vehicle dash cams.
‘If you haven’t already done so, please check any devices which may hold crucial information.’
Mr Hilder leaves behind wife Lynne, 62, and five daughters. Local residents said there had been a rise in anti-social behaviour in recent weeks by gangs of youths.
Canisters containing nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, were found in a box close to the estate amid fears youngsters had been flouting lockdown rules.
Mr Hilder was a member of Kingfisher Angling & Preservation Society which had a permit to fish on the lake. Hours before his death, he was helping stock it with trout.
The society’s chairman Mick Lee said that the exact circumstances over his death are unclear, but members believe that he died ‘after a confrontation with poachers’.
Police forensic officers in waterproof clothing gather evidence in the lake in Kent last month
Police forensic officers gather evidence near the boats by the lake on the grounds last month
Located on the River Darent, Lullingstone has been the seat of the Hart Dyke family since 1361 and the historic manor house in the grounds dates back to 1497.
Hidden within the grounds are a bathhouse and icehouse that Queen Anne used in the 18th century. The estate also has a vineyard, Tudor gatehouse and chapel.
Its heir is Tom Hart Dyke, 44, a horticulturist who was kidnapped by guerrilla fighters in Colombia while hunting for rare orchids in 2000 and held for nine months.
He is the cousin of British actress and comedian Miranda Hart, from Call the Midwife. The castle normally opens for three days per week during spring to autumn.
Anyone with information that may assist the investigation should call Kent Police on 01622 604100, quoting reference 28-1127.
Anybody with video footage can make a report through the Kent Police section of the Major Incident Public Reporting Site: https://mipp.police.uk/
You can also contact Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, or by completing an online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org