Monday, March 5, 2012

Updated: Mystery as 'poison' kills British Banker and wife in remote Estonian forest

Mystery as 'poison' kills British tycoon and wife in remote Estonian forest
The Daily Mail (UK)
  • Police they do not yet know if deaths are suspicious
  • Philip Townsend was analyst for obscure Russian firm
  • Couple leave two children as orphans in Britain

Last updated at 11:05 PM on 3rd March 2012

A wealthy British businessman and his wife have been found dead at their retreat in a remote Estonian forest.

Philip Townsend, 55, worked for a mysterious Moscow investment company, where he was an analyst in the lucrative but murky Russian telecoms industry.

Mr Townsend – who used the title Baron Townsend of Rathmore – and his British wife MaryAnne, 52, are believed to have been poisoned by carbon monoxide from an electricity generator at their secluded home.

Police in Estonia released no details of the tragedy until contacted by The Mail on Sunday, and say they do not yet know whether the deaths are suspicious.

Mr Townsend, who also owned a 16th Century manor house in Norfolk and a flat in Kensington, London, has been research director of Moscow-based Enza Capital since 2010.

Four years ago another wealthy British-based tycoon involved in the Russian telecoms industry vanished from his opulent holiday villa in Latvia.

Leonid Rozhetskin, 41, is presumed to have been targeted by an assassin.

But last night the Townsend family said they believed this latest incident – which leaves the couple’s two children, Edmund, 17, and Octavia, 15, orphaned – to be a ‘tragic accident’.

Mr Townsend, who previously worked in London, is said to have typically spent the week in Moscow before returning home to Grade II listed Wood Dalling Hall, near Aylsham, Norfolk, at weekends.

He died in a converted barn, which he is thought to have bought and renovated last year. The house is three miles down a dirt track near the town of Valga in southern Estonia.

Is there a Japanese connection to ENZA CAPITAL? Or is there more than one Enza Capital?

From Hoovers Online:
ENZA CAPITAL, K.K. · Fukuoka, Fukuoka Japan 3-10-34, Hakataekimae, Hakata-Ku
Phone: 81-924313779
Fukuoka, Fukuoka

From Google:
Enza Capital K.K.
3-10-34, Hakataekimae, Hakata-Ku
Fukuoka, Fukuoka 812-0011
tel: +81 924313779
Description: Food Preparations, NEC, NSK

Wealthy British banker and his wife are killed on holiday by carbon monoxide poisoning
The bodies were found last Friday in their Estonia holiday home

Last updated at 2:02 AM on 3rd March 2012

A wealthy British banker and his wife have died from carbon monoxide poisoning at their holiday home in Estonia.

The bodies of Philip Townsend and his wife MaryAnne were discovered February 24 and local police say they are treating the deaths as an accident.

Mr Townsend, 56, and his wife - the couple have two children a girl, 17 and 17-year-old son both at boarding schools - moved into the Grade Two listed Wood Dalling Hall near Reepham, Norfolk in 1989.

Tragic: The bodies of Philip Townsend and his wife MaryAnne who lived in Wood Dalling Hall near Reepham, Norfolk were discovered last Friday

It is understood that Mr Townsend, the son of a Royal Naval commander, worked in the City but specialised in arranging deals with Russia and the Baltic states.

Locals say the family kept to themselves but became increasingly involved in acrimonious disputes with villagers over land and property.

In 1996 Mr Townsend is reported to have obtained a High Court writ to stop a neighbour watering her hanging baskets.

Mr Townsend has also become embroiled in lengthy and costly legal battles with neighbours over boundaries and water supplies.

Villagers tonight spoke of their shock at news of the double tragedy.

Sub post mistress Tricia Joyce said: 'It terrible news - this is a very small quiet community and everyone knows the family.'

A statement from relatives of the couple released last night said: 'It is with great regret that the family of Philip and MaryAnne Townsend have to report the tragic accident that took place at their home in Estonia on Friday.

'They both died due to carbon monoxide poisoning. There will be no further police investigation and there will be a UK coroners hearing in the normal way.

'Their children are being looked after by relatives in Norfolk and members of the family have been to Estonia. A further statement about the funeral service will be made shortly.'

The family also asked to be left alone to grieve 'in these difficult times.'

A spokesman for Norfolk Coroner's office said: 'The coroner has no jurisdiction unless and until the body of a deceased person is within this area.

'The coroner is aware of the deaths of two people in Estonia but will not receive any formal report unless and until their bodies arrive in Norfolk.'

A Foreign Office spokesman said: 'We are aware of the deaths of two British nationals in Estonia on February 24th and in contact with the next of kin providing appropriate consular assistance.'

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