Prattlemania

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The first pictures have been released of a 66-year-old man who was killed while walking in the grounds of a historic castle.

Police reports suggest rocks were thrown at Charlie Hilder following a disturbance at the 15th-century Lullington Castle in Eynsford, Kent, on Thursday afternoon.

Officers and paramedics were called to the grounds at 5.21pm and tried to revive him but he was declared dead at the scene.

Local media suggested Mr Hilder had got into a fight with two young males near a lake on the grounds.

Officers with the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate are continuing to appeal for witnesses.

Victoria Horn, who lives nearby, said on Friday: ‘He was just out walking and they stoned him to death. This is where I walk my dog and now I’m really worried about taking him out.’

She added the area had past experiences with gangs of young people loitering and has had to call police because of them entering her garden.

On one occasion the keeper of the local cricket pitch was threatened with a glass bottle.

Local group the Kingfisher Angling and Preservation Society, of which Mr Hilder may have been a member, 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.’

Kent Police said: ‘It was reported that rocks were being thrown. A man later died at the scene and officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate are investigating. Anyone with information is urged to contact Kent Police on 101, quoting 28-1127.’

Lullingstone Castle was built in 1497 and features a 15-acre lake and several gardens containing international plants.

The estate, near the famous Brands Hatch Circuit, has been owned by members of the same family since the 15th century.

The castle, which opens for three days per week during spring to autumn, is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.