OJ's mock Tudor mansion is sold for $2.6m

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The Independent Online
In a small, but symbolic, footnote to the OJ Simpson case, the former murder defendant's mock Tudor mansion was sold at auction for $2.6m (pounds 1.54m) yesterday.

But the families of the victims, struggling to collect on their $33.5m damages award, are not expected to see any of the money. The house on Rockingham Drive - Fort Rockingham, it was once called - in Los Angeles boasts five bedrooms, six baths, a swimming pool and tennis court, along with the guest house once occupied by the infamous Kato Kaelin.

It was bought by the bank that Simpson (right) owed $2.5m, secured against the property. He bought the house, with his first wife Marguerite in 1977 for $650,000. This weekend, he had posed outside the gates with tourists, as he celebrated his 50th birthday. "The house is history," he said. "I've accepted that I've already lost it. Part of me will miss it."

The case against Simpson began when detectives who arrived at the house to inform him that his ex-wife had been murdered at her nearby condominium followed a blood trail inside. The infamous slow-motion chase of his white Bronco truck, televised live across the country, ended inside its gates with Simpson holding a gun to his head and threatening suicide.

At every turn of the case, it was a retreat where Simpson was sheltered from cameras and reporters. Local real estate agents had valued the house at up to $4m. In the end, only two men, who described themselves as local real estate speculators, briefly attempted to outbid the bank, which is expected to resell the house.

Simpson has said he will move out by the end of August, when his two children start in a new school. The family of Ronald Goldman, the waiter killed with Simpson's ex-wife Nicole, is trying to wring money out of Simpson towards the damages award.

The Goldmans, may take some small satisfaction in forcing him from his home, and closing the door on a luxury lifestyle. But the bank loan will eat up the sale proceeds, while Simpson is reported to still owe his lawyers $1.7m.

Tim Cornwell, Los Angeles