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Fishermen ‘shocked and saddened’ over disturbance death at medieval castle

Police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the man’s death at the 15th-century Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford, Kent.

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Police presence at the entrance to Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford, Kent (Yui Mok/PA)

Police presence at the entrance to Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford, Kent (Yui Mok/PA)

Police presence at the entrance to Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford, Kent (Yui Mok/PA)

Fishermen have expressed their shock and sadness at the death of a man following a “disturbance” at a medieval castle in Kent.

Police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the man’s death at the 15th-century Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford.

He has now been named locally as Charles Hilder, known as Charlie.

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Charlie Hilder, 66, died at Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford, Kent (Family handout/PA)

Charlie Hilder, 66, died at Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford, Kent (Family handout/PA)

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Charlie Hilder, 66, died at Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford, Kent (Family handout/PA)

In a poignant tribute, local group the Kingfisher Angling and Preservation Society said: “The Society has been shocked and greatly saddened to hear of the death of Mr Charles Hilder.

“At this stage we would like to pass on our sincere condolences to Charlie’s family and friends.”

The group said the exact circumstances surrounding Mr Hilder’s death “are unclear”.

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Police forensic officers gather evidence on the grounds of Lullingstone Castle (Yui Mok/PA)

Police forensic officers gather evidence on the grounds of Lullingstone Castle (Yui Mok/PA)

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Police forensic officers gather evidence on the grounds of Lullingstone Castle (Yui Mok/PA)

Officers and paramedics were called to the grounds at 5.21pm on Thursday and a man later died at the scene, Kent Police said.

A spokesman said on Thursday night: “It was reported that rocks were being thrown.”

On Friday, police said that Mr Hilder “may have been involved in an altercation with two boys or teenagers near to a lake within in the grounds, prior to his death”.

The force added: “Investigators are appealing for information from anybody who was in the area, including dog walkers, anglers and golfers, who witnessed the incident or saw two young people in the vicinity of the lake between 12pm and 7pm.”

Detectives have so far declined to publicly declare a murder investigation.

Police are keen to get hold of video that might help them track down any culprits or establish what happened.

They are asking for footage from any vehicles that travelled along Castle Road or Shoreham Road, and any cyclists or joggers in the area between 12pm and 7pm on Thursday.

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Police presence at the entrance to Lullingstone Castle (Yui Mok/PA)

Police presence at the entrance to Lullingstone Castle (Yui Mok/PA)

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Police presence at the entrance to Lullingstone Castle (Yui Mok/PA)

Large parts of the historic grounds at the castle remained cordoned off and under police guard on Friday, as detectives continue to probe what happened.

Police forensic officers were seen gathering evidence in the estate’s 15-acre lake, as well as a silver Volvo car behind the cordon.

Formal identification by police and a post-mortem examination are yet to take place.

The cause of death has not yet been established.

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

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