Angler who died at Kent castle may have had confrontation with teenage 'poachers'

Investigators were seen scouring the lake

A man who died in the grounds of a castle may have had a confrontation with teenage "poachers" who reportedly hurled rocks.

Charles Hilder - said to be in his 60s - has been named by friends and family as the victim.

He died at the scene at Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford, Kent, on Thursday, where he had been restocking a lake with fish.

Police say they believe he may have been in an altercation with "two boys or teenagers".

A post mortem is being carried out to establish the cause of death.

It's not clear whether he was hit with any of the rocks that are reported to have been thrown, and detectives have yet to make any arrests.

His fishing club, Kingfisher Angling & Preservation Society, released a statement saying it was "shocked and greatly saddened".

"Although the exact circumstances surrounding Charlie's death are unclear we believe that Charlie died after a confrontation with poachers," it said.

On the day he died, he had been restocking the castle's lake with trout alongside the society's director, Martin Duffell.

A woman who answered the door at Mr Duffell's home said Mr Hilder was a "very kind" man and that the incident was "absolutely tragic" and had shocked everyone.

The entrance to the castle, which is a 15th century manor house once visited by the likes of Henry VIII and Queen Anne, remained taped-off on Friday with a single police officer standing guard.

A marine unit and forensic team were also spotted by the side of the 15-acre lake.

Kent Police have appealed for information from anyone in the area between 12pm and 7pm on Thursday, including dog walkers, anglers and golfers who could have witnessed the incident.

The force said Mr Hilder "may have been involved in an altercation with two boys or teenagers near to a lake within the grounds, prior to his death," adding to an earlier statement that said rocks were reportedly thrown.

Officers also want to speak to any cyclists or joggers around the area during the same time, and to obtain video footage from vehicles that travelled along Castle Road or Shoreham Road.

Sevenoaks MP Laura Trott thanked those who had been in touch about "increasing anti-social behaviour in the area", and said police had promised a greater presence with immediate effect.

She added: "My thoughts go out to the victim's family and loved ones at this difficult and sad time."

Anyone with information should call police on 01622 604100, quoting reference 28-1127.

Anybody with video should go to the Kent Police section of the Major Incident Public Reporting Site:

Alternatively, contact Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, or online at