Royal friend and tycoon commits suicide as property empire collapses

Royal friend and tycoon commits suicide as property empire collapses


A property developer, who was once a polo player alongside Prince Charles, committed suicide last week, after a series of disastrous business decisions made amid the downturn wrecked his once-thriving property portfolio.

Well-known London businessman, Paul Castle, 54, walked out of his London office last Wednesday and threw himself under a train at Bond Street.

The businessman, who had been married three times, was planning his fourth wedding to girlfriend Natalie Theo, former fashion editor at the Daily Mail.

He had a collection of properties in the upmarket Mayfair neighbourhood, as well as a Michelin-starred restaurant, all forming part of his multi-million pound empire – which had been badly hit by the recession.

The father of four also owned a private plane alongside homes in London, France, Ascot and St Moritz, according to reports in the Evening Standard. Battling with long-standing and heart problems, his health had deteriorated recently when he was diagnosed with tumours.

Mr Castle was once photographed shaking hands with the Queen after a polo match and became Britain’s youngest sponsor of a polo team, the Metropolitan, in the nineties.

He achieved notoriety in 1997 when he was fined £5,000 and banned from playing polo for nine months for “abuse of the stick”, after hitting an opposing player over the head with a wooden mallet at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor.

A self-made man, Mr Castle was born to a destitute tailor and raised in Golders Green, North London. After leaving school when he was just 14 he made his first fortune in children’s clothes, which he later lost investing in the Florida property market.

He rebuilt his finances on returning to the UK, investing in more property, however his business was hit again in the recession, after making several unsuccessful deals just before the property collapse. He is also thought to have lost substantial sums by investing in an oil and gas exploration firm.

The tycoon reportedly once said: “I love property: you can wake up poor and be rich by the evening.”

By Shelley DeBere

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