A landlord who was left with debts of around £5m following a doomed Romanian property venture is believed to have shot himself.
Police discovered the body of 50-year-old Charles Cole at his manor house in Devon after concerns were raised for his welfare.
Cole ran an 84-property lettings business with homes across Yorkshire – a business venture he undertook in 2000.
The Daily Mail reports that by 2007, Cole and his wife Iona both owned luxury cars and their home, bought mortgage free for £600,000 in 1998 by profit they made from renovating a house left to them by Cole’s father, was worth £2.25m.
However, it is believed Cole began to get into financial trouble after spending his earnings on sending his three eldest children to public school and his youngest to prep school.
It is believed they were paying £100,000-a-year on school fees and were also burdened by the cost of the upkeep of their 214-acre manor house.
In 2007 Cole invested in a Romanian property venture which was supposedly due to be developed into an exclusive housing complex for Bucharest professionals.
But the project never got off the ground and the couple were said to have been left virtually ‘penniless’.
There was no money for Christmas presents and the children were taken out of school and educated at home.
Cole told the Mail in 2004: “I feel like a man castrated — unable to do what I should for my family. My naivety has destroyed the plans I had for my children.”
It is not known if the Coles’ debt was ever cleared, and earlier this year the family began a ‘glamping’ business, inviting upmarket campers to stay on their land for £170 a night.
Cole’s body was found on September 22 in the grounds of the manor house.
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Police were called at around 1.40pm on Tuesday, September 22. The caller was concerned for the welfare of a 50-year-old man from Crediton.
“Officers searched a property in Poughill, Crediton, where the body of a man was found within the grounds.
“His family have been informed. The death is not being treated as suspicious.”