The Ghost House of Sussex: £40million mansion is still being built by slum landlord friend of Robert Mugabe 31 YEARS after work first began
- Nicholas Van Hoogstraten began the construction of Hamilton Palace in 1985 but work appears to have now ceased
- The British property baron’s half-built home has now been nicknamed the Ghost House of Sussex by local residents
- Now living in Zimbabwe, Hoogstraten is an associate of Robert Mugabe and has invested millions in the country
Stretched between rows of ancient trees and sprawling over green fields, this is the so-called Ghost House of Sussex – a massive £40million mansion left incomplete after work first began in the 1980s.
Property baron Nicholas Van Hoogstraten, who began the construction of Hamilton Palace, near Uckfield in East Sussex in 1985, has long since left British shores to further his business interests in Zimbabwe.
The controversial businessman, who was once jailed for paying thugs to hurl a grenade into a rival’s home, started building the home – complete with its own mausoleum – in order to house his vast art collection.
Nicholas Van Hoogstraten’s home (pictured) has been nicknamed the Ghost House of Sussex since construction work ended
The sprawling £40million mansion is pictured from above where scaffolding still sits erected around the exterior of the home
Construction containers can be seen littered throughout the lavish property, which is located near Uckfield, in East Sussex
It’s not clear if Hoogstraten still owns the property – he claims to have long ago transferred many assets into his children’s names
The mansion features a vast open field as its front lawn, while a second building is partially constructed on the nearby body of water
Hoogstraten (pictured in 2008) was once convicted for arranging to have a thug throw a grenade into the house of a business associate
It’s not clear if Hoogstraten still owns the property – he long ago claimed to have transferred many of his assets into his children’s names.
However, a local resident has now complained that construction work on the property stopped long ago and it is simply going to waste, The Mirror reported.
Neighbour Richard Baxter told the paper: ‘With all the housing problems we have in this country surely the building can be put to good use. It’s a disgrace that it is just going to ruin.’
Hoogstraten made his fortune as a slum landlord in Britain but is better known for his court case regarding the gruesome gangland slaying of a business rival, who was stabbed five times before being shot in the head. Van Hoogstraten was exonerated of any blame in the killing.
Once described by a judge as a ‘self-imagined devil who thinks he is an emissary of Beelzebub’, Hoogstraten was born in Bognor in 1946 and as an 11-year-old schoolboy started selling stamps to noted collectors.
It later transpired that the young Hoogstraten, who claimed to have a stamp collection worth £30,000, had hired classmates to steal the stamps for him from specialist shops.
By the time he was 14, he had taken to wearing a suit to school and would excuse himself from lessons to sit in an empty classroom, where he would read the Financial Times and attend to business deals.
As a teenager, he started a loan-shark business that saw him take property deeds as collateral for loans. He also ran nightclubs in Brighton and once called Rod Stewart, the rock star, a greedy ‘little runt’ in a row over takings.
He also picked up a conviction for organising a henchman to throw a grenade at a priest, as well as the 2002 conviction for manslaughter for the killing of that business rival. The verdict was overturned on appeal, but he was ordered to pay the victim’s family £6 million in a civil case in 2005.-Dailymail
The dome tip of the building can be seen in this photograph stretching up above a rows of trees which flanks the sprawling estate
Hoogstraten is a self-confessed ‘amoral businessman’ who made his fortune in his late teens as a slum landlord in Britain
A local resident has complained about the inactivity on the project, saying it could be put to much better use than lying in ruin
Almost 31 years to the day after building started, the property is unused. Pictured is a sign warning trespassers the land is private property