Top chef falls to his death after breaking into flat

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One of Britain's top chefs, who ran the kitchens of Gordon Ramsay's best restaurants, has been found dead in mysterious circumstances.

The body of David Dempsey, 31, who lived in Fulham, west London, was discovered outside a basement flat in South Kensington at 11pm on Sunday. Police identified him yesterday.

Mr Dempsey was head chef at Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea, the owner's flagship London restaurant. He was said to be the inspiration for Mr Ramsay's Amaryllis restaurant in Glasgow. Last year Mr Ramsay said "within two to three years" Mr Dempsey would be "the most prominent chef in the country".

Police said Mr Dempsey died after breaking into two blocks of flats in Elm Park Gardens, off King's Road, and falling from the second floor of one of the buildings. It was unclear whether he committed suicide, slipped or was the victim of foul play.

Police – who found him after being called by residents reporting a burglary – would not say whether he had any connection with anyone in the building he fell from.

Mr Dempsey had only recently moved to London from Scotland to take control of the Gordon Ramsay restaurant. He left his partner and young children in Glasgow.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: "He gained entry into a first building by climbing scaffolding and going into a second-floor flat.

"He went downstairs into a flat on the ground floor. There, he had a struggle with an occupant, believed to be in his thirties.

"He broke through the ground-floor window and made his way across window ledges to another block of flats and forced entry into the second floor and broke a window."

A spokeswoman for Mr Ramsay said: "All his sympathy is with David's family. He is devastated."

A statement on behalf of Mr Ramsay said: "His loss will be felt deeply by all of us who worked with him over the past years."

Last October Mr Dempsey showed he could be fiery when he threw a Scottish food industry figure, Maurice Taylor, out of Amaryllis, after Mr Taylor said his pigeon was too rare.