Angler dies following altercation with youths at Kent castle

Martin Evans
Police were called to Lullingstone Castle in Kent

An angler who died while fishing on a lake at a medieval castle in Kent may have been involved in an altercation with some youths prior to his death, police have said.

The man, who was in his 60s, had been in a boat with two other anglers on a lake in the grounds of Lullingstone Castle when the incident occurred on Thursday afternoon.

Witnesses suggested the men had clashed with a group of youths on the shore and there were also claims that stones had been thrown at the boat.

It is not clear if the victim was actually struck but may have subsequently become ill.   The death has shocked the tranquil village of Eynsford in the picturesque Darent Valley between Sevenoaks and Dartford in Kent.

Detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate are appealing for information as they investigate the circumstances surrounding the death.

Kent Police said they had been called to reports of a disturbance in the grounds of Lullingstone Castle at 5.21pm on Thursday.

 A spokesman said: ”Officers and South East Coast Ambulance Service attended and a man in his 60s was pronounced dead at the scene.  

“It is reported he may have been involved in an altercation with two boys or teenagers near to a lake within the grounds, prior to his death.  

"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.

"They are also keen to obtain video footage from any vehicles that travelled along Castle Road or Shoreham Road, and any cyclists or joggers in the area between these times.”

The victim had been fishing on the lake before the incident

It is understood the man who died was a member of the Kingfisher Angling & Preservation Society and had spent the morning helping to stock the 14 acre lake with rainbow trout.

One fellow member of the club said:  "He was a very nice, very kind man. It's absolutely tragic - and it was in such a beautiful, tranquil area. Everybody is shocked. He was a very nice man."  

Members pay £400 a year to fish at the lake and most of the angling is done by boat.   

On its website, the society warns members about poaching in the area.  

It says: "Poaching activity on the River Darent continues to be an issue and members are reminded of the recommended course of action.  

"It is very important that you report all poaching incidents that you witness. Do not approach the poacher. Call the police immediately.”

Locals also said there had been an increase in anti-social behaviour in the area recently, with the local MP Laura Trott saying she had flagged the issue with police.