Heirs of millionaire sought after killing

A SEARCH is under way for the British heirs of a reclusive and eccentric millionaire who was shot dead by law enforcement officials during a raid on his remote ranch in mountains in Malibu, California.

Donald Scott was killed when more than two dozen heavily armed officers - Los Angeles sheriff's deputies, the US Drug Enforcement Administration and others - burst into his house, using a battering ram. According to Mr Scott's lawyer, they were acting on a tip-off that he was growing marijuana. They found none.

Mr Scott, 61, whose mother was English, had inherited a fortune, much of which was made by his grandfather, who sold Scott's Emulsion, a health potion which sold widely in Britain, and which still exists. His lawyer, Nick Gutsue, has unearthed a trust in a New York bank containing dollars 1.3m ( pounds 765,000), which stipulates that dollars 650,000 should be passed on to his British first cousins. It is not known where the cousins are, or even how many there are.

Mr Scott's killing is the subject of a homicide inquiry by the local district attorney's office. It is the latest in a series of controversial incidents involving the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which has repeatedly been heavily criticised over its use of deadly force by human rights organisations.

The shooting happened 12 days ago, at breakfast time, although details have only recently come to light. A posse of 26 heavily armed, flak-jacketed law enforcement officers sped into Mr Scott's ranch in a caravan of vehicles, and burst into his ramshackle house.

According to his 38-year-old wife, Frances Plante, Mr Scott, who was partially blind because he suffered from cataracts, was asleep when the raid began. Hearing the commotion, he rushed into the living room carrying a loaded revolver over his head. She has said that the officers ordered him to drop the gun three times, in rapid succession. As his arm dropped, he was shot from close range by two sheriff's deputies. He was hit in the chest by two bullets and died instantly.

Mr Gutsue said that the sheriff's department, which has refused to discuss the case publicly, had subsequently been 'apologetic and sympathetic'. It appeared the officers thought he had pointed the weapon at them.

He said that the police had an informant's tip-off that Mr Scott, who had no criminal record, was cultivating marijuana plants on his ranch, in the Santa Monica mountains, north of Los Angeles. Before the raid, they had conducted an aerial surveillance of his land. Despite hours of searching after the killing, none was found.

Mr Scott, who was educated in Switzerland, was a colourful character. Despite his wealth, he wore jeans and carried little money. At the time of his death he was contemplating selling his ranch, Trail's End, and buying a luxury yacht called The Other Woman.

He was married three times. In the 1960s he had a stormy affair with the French-born actress Corinne Calvet, the Hollywood leading lady of the 1950s, which ended in a legal battle over dollars 750,000 worth of property he claimed to have given her (including a watch said to have belonged to Eva Peron). During the trial, Mr Scott claimed that Ms Calvet, was given to practising voodoo using a silver pendulum and a bar of soap.

Although he once worked as an airline pilot, most of his life was devoted to his leisure interests, including racing Mercedes and Ferraris. In his youth he often visited Britain, where his father raced horses. But in later life he became more reclusive, spending spent most of his time on his ranch, amid his books, guns, Persian carpets and old maps of Indian territories. He had four children, who live in America.

Plans are being drawn up by Mr Scott's relatives to bring a case alleging that he was wrongfully killed.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss