Murder detectives are investigating a millionaire former fashion executive after a neighbour who allegedly trespassed at his home was fatally wounded.
Richard Glanville, 60, a former chief financial officer at Oasis and Karen Millen, was arrested at his Essex farmhouse last month after Ricci Gallagher suffered head injuries there.
Detectives launched a murder investigation after Gallagher, 46, died a week later at Royal London hospital. He had been living in a woodland shack close to Glanville’s farmhouse.
Police have said they believe the incident on 30 July at Glanville’s home was linked to a fire that same morning which gutted Gallagher’s property.
Two men, understood to be Glanville and his gardener, 53, were arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder. Despite it now being a murder investigation, neither man has been rearrested and both remain on police bail until 4 September.
Essex fire and rescue said 15 firefighters spent 90 minutes dousing “a fire in a garage” on Blind Lane, the property where Gallagher was living, after they were called at about 9am on 30 July.
Minutes after reports of the fire, police attended Glanville’s home on the adjacent Sudburys Farm Road where they found Gallagher critically wounded.
Prince William, working for the East Anglia Air Ambulance, helped airlift Gallagher to Royal London hospital. However, he died on 6 August and an inquest into his death was opened last week.
Gallagher, who had worked as a delivery driver, is understood to have moved into the bungalow, which had no mains electricity, a week before it burned down. The building and three acres of land around it was recently up for sale for £400,000, the Daily Mail reported, although it is not clear if anyone bought it.
Gallagher had previously lived in Benfleet, Essex, with his wife, Linda, 58. A former neighbour, Joyce Long, told reporters he had lived in the street for about two years. It “broke her heart” when she heard he had died, she was quoted as saying.
“He was so excited about the move over there,” Long said. “And the thought that he had bought a bit of land which they were going to build a home on was lovely for them.”
Glanville owns several properties, including the £2m farmhouse where Gallagher was found and, it is believed, a 16-bedroom hotel on an island surrounded by a Unesco marine reserve in the Maldives, the Daily Mail reported.
He has worked in finance for over 40 years, latterly as CFO at Aurora Fashions, a holding company which was parent to some of the UK’s biggest fashion brands, including Karen Millen, Warehouse and Oasis.
He was one of three senior managers who stepped down from the company in 2013.
DI Anne Cameron confirmed that police were investigating any links between the incident at Glanville’s home and the fire at Gallagher’s property.
She said: “I am keen to speak to anyone who witnessed any suspicious or unusual activity in Blind Lane or Sudburys Farm Road during the morning of 30 July.
“I believe both incidents are linked and I am keen to speak with anyone who could progress either inquiry.”