Property tycoon 'burns and buries wife in cement'

Property tycoon 'burns and buries wife in cement'


A former property developer from Manchester is facing charges after police found the body of a woman, suspected to be his wife, buried in a homemade ‘tomb’ in his French castle.

Robert Hall, 55, a former property professional, has been living in Brittany, northern France, for several years. 

According to reports, last Saturday the father-of-three contacted one of his children telling them their mother, Joanne, had died.

French police were notified and began investigating the 15-bedroomed chateau. It emerged that the couple had a drunken row and Hall is alleged to have burned Joanne’s body and then buried the remains in a concrete tomb.

He has been charged with aggravated murder.

Catherine Denis, from the prosecutor’s office in Rennes, France, spoke at a press conference and said: “There was a drunken argument with his wife, during which she fell."

She also said that the buried remains had not yet been confirmed to be Mrs Hall’s.

However, Mrs Hall’s children did confirm some jewellery, found amongst the ashes to be that of their mother’s.

Pierre Sourdin, the mayor of Le Chatellier, told The Daily Mail: “I watched as they proceeded to break open the concrete block, and soon found rings and an earring, which they immediately showed to their son Christopher - who formally identified them as belonging to his mother."

It appears the couple had been in difficulty for some time and had advertised the castle on holiday websites, offering it to rent for tourists. The adverts boasted of a golf course, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, lakes and a go-karting circuit.

However, online forums show many holiday makers who stayed there were disgusted by the state of the property.

One family, who stayed in October 2006, posted: “I cannot put into words how disgusting this estate is. The owners have let the place fall into a state of complete disrepair and filth.

“It is not an exaggeration to say I am thankful that we made it out unharmed.”

Other visitors complained of bats and flying through the house and door handles coming off in their hands.

Despite the chateau’s poor condition, the couple are said to have charged up to £6,000 a week to stay there.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Françoise Martin, a town hall official said: “The family were very quiet and did not really mix with the other locals in the village.

“Mr Hall did not speak very much French at all. His wife could make herself understood but she was not fluent.

“Mr Hall came to the town hall regularly because he was trying to build a golf course at the chateau and so he had lots of things to sort out. I can’t believe that this could have happened.”


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