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Scot Young: Broke tycoon found impaled on railings below his luxury London flat

Will he take billion-pound secrets to his grave?

Adam Sherwin
Wednesday 10 December 2014 18:10 GMT
Scot Young, pictured here with girlfriend Noelle Reno, was jailed for six months at the High Court in January 2013
Scot Young, pictured here with girlfriend Noelle Reno, was jailed for six months at the High Court in January 2013 (Getty Images)

He was the multimillionaire fixer for the super-rich who left the High Court in handcuffs after Britain's most acrimonious divorce battle.

Now Scot Young has been found dead after plummeting four storeys from the window of his luxury London penthouse and impaling himself on iron railings.

Young suffered horrific injuries after falling 60ft from the window of his £3m rented home in Marylebone on Monday. Metropolitan Police said his death of the bankrupt property tycoon was not being treated as suspicious.

The 52 year-old’s apparent suicide comes a year after he was jailed for six months at the conclusion of a bitter High Court divorce battle with his ex-wife for refusing to reveal details of his wealth.

Michelle Young, 49, won a £20m pay-out after a six-year courtroom fight, but declared the sum “disgraceful”.

She insisted her ex-husband, who built a substantial property empire, was a “fixer for the super-rich” and worth at least £2bn. A judge ruled he had hidden £45m from the court.

Ms Young also disclosed that her ex-husband had previously attempted suicide during their court battle and had been checked into the Priory Clinic in London for treatment.

Michelle Young, the ex-wife of the bankrupt property tycoon (PA)

Ms Young, consoling the couple’s two daughters after hearing the news of her ex-husband’s death, said: “We have been to hell and back.”

Divorce lawyers said Ms Young still faced significant litigation if she wished to recover further assets from her husband’s estate following his death.

The son of a Dundee United footballer, Scot Young rose from a Dundee tenement block to prominence as a property developer and telecoms deal-maker. He was once said to be worth £400m and travelled the world by private jet.

Young’s rise began after he met Michelle in 1989 and tapped into her businessman father’s connections. The couple entertained at lavish properties, including a £21m nine-bedroom mansion in Oxfordshire and a £6m beach house in Florida.

The weekly shop was delivered to the front door directly from Harrods. Scot bought Michelle £1m in Graff jewellery for her 40th birthday.

Their friends included the Top Shop billionaire Sir Philip Green and the couple spent £5,000 on meals and enjoyed holidays on a £3m yacht, moored in Monaco.

At the end of 2006, the couple separated after 11 years of marriage and a bitter battle over money began. Ms Young claimed half his assets, claiming that Scot was worth “a few billion pounds at least.”

But he claimed to have lost all his money in a “financial meltdown”. He said the collapse of a £2bn property deal in Moscow had left him penniless and he was unable to make the payments.

He was ordered to pay his ex-wife £27,500 a month to pay rent and school fees for their two daughters but claimed he could not meet the demands.

In 2009 Mr Young was given a six-month suspended sentence for contempt of court for refusing to reveal details of his wealth. He allegedly continued to lead an opulent lifestyle - living at an address in London’s Knightsbridge, dining at the best restaurants, acquiring a new supermodel girlfriend, 31-year-old Noelle Reno and driving a Ferrari.

After six years of litigation, described as “quite extraordinary” by Mr Justice Moor, the judge assessed Mr Young was worth £40m and said Ms Young was entitled to half that sum.

The judge said Mr Young might have hidden assets off-shore, which may never be repatriated and with Mr Young declared bankrupt in 2010, Michelle has received nothing of the share due to her.

Flowers are left at the scene in Montagu Square, Marylebone, London (PA)

Scot Young’s health deteriorated during the court battle. He claimed to have been “harassed” by private detectives and said he had been “detained” in hospital under mental health legislation.

The former high-flier was jailed for six months at the High Court in January 2013 for what the judge called a “flagrant and deliberate” contempt of court after failing to provide details of his assets.

After his release from prison, Scot and Reno appeared together in the reality TV show Ladies of London alongside supermodel Caprice.

The couple shared the rented luxury penthouse from which Young fell, shocking neighbours who stumbled upon the grisly scene. Firefighters had to cut through the railings with an angle grinder before the body could be removed.

Gary Sutton 57, who was working nearby when Mr Young fell, said: “It was a horrific scene. The police were visibly shocked - one said it was the worst thing he had seen on the job.”

Another witness said: “The police had covered the body but I could see from behind that he was on the spike because I could see his feet dangling towards the basement floor. It was horrible.”

Ms Young told the Evening Standard: “I am too upset to speak at the moment I just have to look after my children and make sure they are okay. It is a very difficult time for us all.”

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said police were called to Montagu Square at 17.18pm on Monday to reports of a man having “fallen from a fourth-floor window”.

He added that a man, believed to be in his early 50s, was pronounced dead at the scene. “The death is not being treated as suspicious at this time,” he said.

One associate who laid flowers at the scene of the death, said: “We don’t know if it was suicide yet.” Friends said that Young had forged connections with Russia’s criminal underworld before the mysterious collapse of the Project Moscow development.

Insolvency trustees Grant Thornton were seeking to unravel Mr Young’s financial affairs before his death. Ms Young is expected to make a financial claim against Scot Young’s estate under the Inheritance Act. But Scot Young may have taken the tangled truth behind his finances to his grave.

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