Literary agent found stabbed to death at his London home

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The Independent Online

A leading literary agent who represented the Scottish poet Liz Lochhead and the screenwriter Simon Nye has been found stabbed to death in his flat.

A leading literary agent who represented the Scottish poet Liz Lochhead and the screenwriter Simon Nye has been found stabbed to death in his flat.

Friends and clients of Rod Hall, 53, were struggling to come to terms with hismurder at his home in Borough, south-east London. A friend found him dead on the bathroom floor with multiple stab wounds on Sunday night after his family raised the alarm, concerned that he had failed to keep several appointments over the weekend.

Ms Lochhead said she was in "total shock". "I have known him for a very long time, around 17 or 18 years, and I cannot believe what's happened," she said. "He was a dear, dear friend, just a delight. We were very close and he was a darling. He was a wonderful man.

"Gentle, incisive and intuitive are words I'd use to describe him. I just cannot believe he's been murdered."

Charlotte Mann, a friend and co-director of the Rod Hall Agency, set up seven years ago, paid tribute to his contribution to the literary world. "Rod was a wonderful, amazing man, a dear, loving and loyal friend and one of the most respected literary agents in the country," she said. "He was an inspiration to me in every way. I am devastated and will miss him terribly, as I know will his clients."

Mr Hall's colleague Charlie Fleet added: "We are deeply saddened to confirm that Rod Hall was found dead at his London home on Sunday 23 May. The police are treating this as a murder inquiry. This is all we know."

The detective in charge of the inquiry said that Mr Hall's last known contact with a friend was by telephone near Borough Underground station at about 7pm on Friday. He then either walked or caught the bus to his home in nearby Prioress Street. About 48 hours later, he was found dead with stab wounds to the chest and abdomen, according to Detective Chief Inspector Colin Dell, leading the inquiry.

"There were no signs of forced entry but we are keeping an open mind as to the motive. We are not yet sure if anything was taken from his flat but it did not look like there had been an intruder. We do not know if he was alone. I would be glad to hear from anyone who can provide information."

Mr Hall became a literary agent after working as manager of the Greenwich Theatre and a publicist at Penguin Books. He attributed his literary career to his encounter with the actress Vivien Leigh at the age of 10, when she moved next door to the fruit farm in Uckfield, East Sussex, where he lived with his parents and sister, Ann.

He set up the Rod Hall Agency in 1997 and it became a respected establishment with more than 60 writers from the film, television and theatre industries on its books.

Clients of the agency in London include Juliette Towhidi, the co-writer of Calendar Girls. Among his most successful were Simon Beaufoy, who wrote The Full Monty, and Lee Hall, who wrote Billy Elliot.