Man arrested on suspicion of murder after assault at National Trust house

Belton House near Grantham, Lincolnshire
Police were called following reports of an altercation at the Grade I-listed Belton House - CHARLOTTE GRAHAM FOR THE TELEGRAPH

An investigation is under way into the death of a man at a National Trust property in Lincolnshire.

Police were called to 17th-century Belton House near Grantham on Thursday following reports of an assault in the grounds.

It is understood a fight had broken out between two workmen involved in a construction project at the house in an area closed to the public.

Murder squad detectives were called to investigate when one of the men, 28, became ill after returning home and subsequently died.

A 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder but was released on police bail, pending further tests to establish the exact cause of death.

A police spokesman said they were “keeping an open mind” into the circumstances surrounding the man’s death.

A police car next to a cordoned-off area at Belton House near Grantham, Lincolnshire
Police attended the 17th-century country estate after reports of an assault - TOM MADDICK/SWNS

Both men involved in the alleged altercation were subcontractors working for a construction firm.

A spokesman for Thomas Bow City Asphalt said: “First and foremost, our thoughts are with the family and friends of the man who sadly lost his life.

“We can confirm that both men involved in the incident were subcontractors working on a Thomas Bow project that is currently under way at Belton House.

“We are unable to comment further due to the active police investigation.”

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: “Our investigation into the death of a 28-year-old man is continuing today.

“Officers are carrying out enquiries at a number of locations in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, including Belton House.

“Part of our investigation is around establishing the exact cause of death, which will be done following a formal Home Office post mortem examination at some point next week. There will be no further updates until that aspect of our investigation is concluded.

“A 29-year-old man arrested in connection with this incident has been released on police bail while those enquiries are carried out.”

Stately home remains open to public

Belton House, which is Grade I listed, boasts a spectacular Christmas lights display, which remained open to the public on Friday.

One visitor from Lincoln, Louise Robinson, 43, said she was shocked by the police activity.

“We’ve come for the Christmas experience,” Miss Robinson added. “We heard about the incident on the radio and wondered if it would still go ahead. Whatever has happened, it is really sad, it is a tragedy.”

Designed by William Winde and built between 1685 and 1688 by William Stanton, Belton House is marketed by the National Trust as “the perfect English country house”.

When Lord Brownlow died in 1978, his son, Edward John Peregrine, became the seventh baron.

In 1984 he gave Belton House, its garden and garden sculpture to the National Trust, which then bought the park. With over 1,300 acres of gardens, deer parkland and courtyard areas, Belton House is a popular spot for dog walkers.