Published: 17:43, 23 September 2020
| Updated: 17:58, 25 September 2020
A sprawling Hollingbourne estate controversially bought for £325k two years ago has today been sold for £1.5m.
The family of burglar Henry Vincent, who was stabbed to death following a botched break-in, acquired Snagbrook Farm for a fraction of its estimated value in 2018.
Rosemary Vincent took ownership of the substantial Grade II-listed property from pensioner Dudley Wright. She lived there with husband Henry Vincent Snr and the couple's son before he was killed with a screwdriver at a pensioner's house in Hither Green, south east London.
Then 72, Mr Wright is believed to have been housed in a mobile home on the grounds of the 61-acre estate, though villagers say the once engaged community member has not been seen out-and-about in the area for two years.
Property auctioneers Clive Emson today sold the detached five-bed farm house, detached chalet bungalow, three barns, mobile unit and land with fresh spring water-fed lakes to an online bidder.
Videos of the extensive pad described as "an attractive detached period house, believed to date back to the 16th Century with later 19th Century façade and a wealth of internal period features including panelled walls, fireplaces, deep skirting, picture rails and leaded light windows" show the once-grand property in desperate need of improvement.
One well-placed villager, who did not want to be name for fear of reprisals, said many of the original features appear to have been lost and the house was looking a shabby shadow of its once-grand state.
The Vincents' son Henry was 37 when he was killed with his own screwdriver by a 78-year-old whose home he tried to burgle. He collapsed and died after staggering onto the pavement. No charges were ever brought against the pensioner.
Henry Snr and wife Rosemary were by then living at Snagbrook Farm which had become off-limits to locals.
It is not clear how the couple came to meet the former owner, though it has been reported that Vincent Snr had previously carried out work on the property.
Some villagers had become so concerned for the divorced father-of-one's welfare that they contacted the police.
Their worries were even raised at Hollingbourne Parish Council meeting in October 2016.
The report states: "Cllr M Bedwell had been advised of a rather large mobile home, with drainage, being erected in the vicinity of Snagbrook.
"At this point of the meeting, Cllr A Bennett advised that the Maidstone Borough Council had advised him that they had inspected the mobile caravan is a temporary property of those renovating the house, and after the renovation it would be removed.As a result, no action would be taking place with regards to this matter.
"Members noted that today, at 4.00pm, a low-loader vehicle exiting the village with a substantial number of Mr Dudley Wright’s old automobiles upon it which could indicate that the land is being cleared up.
"Cllr J Cobbett was very concerned that Mr Dudley Wright had not been seen for months in the village shop or around the village, which was unusual and that he would contact PCSO Dave Rowley to check on his welfare."
However, at the following month's meeting, it was recorded that "PCSO Dave Rowley has visited a local pensioner who had not been seen for some time by neighbours and he was found to be living with a carer and in good spirits.
"The Police do not have any concerns about his welfare but they will monitor the situation..."
Vincent Senior was jailed for six years in 2003 after he and six other members of the family, including Henry Vincent, cheated pensioners out of almost £450,000 in a building scam.
Vincent Snr is one of at least nine members of the Vincent family to have spent time in jail.
In April this year rogue traders who conned a 60-year-old Dartford man smirked as they were told they would only have to pay £1 compensation.