Can the former homes of notorious criminals ever really be ‘bargains?
In recent days many newspapers have featured the sale of the apartment where Dennis Nilson committed several murders. Most refer to it as a ‘bargain’, but are such places truly really the deals they’re made out to be? Here we examine five examples, beginning first with the Nilson apartment:
23D Cranley Gardens, Muswell Hill, London, N10
On the 10th September, Countrywide Property Auctions will sell the one bedroomed top floor apartment where Dennis Nilson killed at least four of his twelve known victims. Given that this is where Nilson was ultimately caught due to Dyno-Rod having been called by neighbours complaining about the stench from the drains, would you want to take a shower or wash up in the kitchen where this serial killer drowned, strangled and disposed of the remains of some of his victims in 1981? Flats of this size in this area supposedly normally sell for around £385,000. Nilson’s former home was listed first at £265,000. The auction guide is now £240,000 and “buyers are asked to research the history of this property”.
722 North Elm Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
This luxurious 9.063 square foot property, previously occupied by Prince and Elton John, was the setting of the murder of Jose and Kitty Menendez by their sons Erik and Lyle in 1989. It was sold in 1993 to a television producer named William Link who then sold it on for $3.7 million in 2001 to telecoms executive Sam Delug. At the time, reports suggested this was about 35% lower than what similar neighbouring homes were achieving. Trulia currently estimate its value at $6.3 million. Plainly they’ve failed to take the home’s grisly past into account.
Osbaston House, Maesbrook, Shropshire, SY10 8QT
The plot of the 16th century mansion where the failed Shropshire businessman Christopher Foster murdered his wife and daughter in 2008 has been for sale through Strutt & Parker since 2012 for £420,000. The near bankrupt arsonist, who had paid £1.15 million for the property in 2004, died in the blaze and in the time since, the burnt out shell has been demolished. Current owners HSBC gained planning permission for a new 8,225 square foot house named Waterside House to be constructed elsewhere on the 16 acre site. Bizarrely in 2011, Foster’s brother announced that “some of Kirstie’s remains are buried in a wooded area at the site”. That there have been no takers for this scene of murder most horrific is indicative of the sadness that still emanates from this place.
The Penthouse, 133 E. 64th Street, Upper East Side, New York
Bernie Madoff owned a boat named Bull but he will be best known for a $65 billion swindle that has gone down in history. The current occupants of his confiscated New York penthouse are Alfred R. Kahn, a “toy mogul” who created Cabbage Patch Kids and Pokémon, and his wife. They paid $8 million for the former home of the Ponzi schemer in 2010 on an original asking price of $9.9 million but the “curse” of the flat struck again subsequently with rumours about a fire and the couple’s marriage being on the rocks. They shot down such comments stating: “We like to have fun, fun, fun” but have now split. The penthouse is back on the market and is this time priced at a staggering $17.25 million with I. Dolly Lenz.
Burnt House Farm, Over Tabley, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 0HN
Earlier this year, when Cheshire agents Meller Braggins marketed the “delightful development opportunity” of a 4-bedroomed farmhouse with an “excellent range of outbuildings” and an acre of land, one would have expected there to have been a flurry of interest. Given that a previous tenant, a narcotics trafficker named Brian Waters, had been murdered there in 2003 in a makeshift torture chamber in front of his family, it no longer sounded so appealing. A fixer who worked on BBC investigative programmes, Christopher Guest More, is still on the run and wanted by Interpol in connection with the case. Burnt House Farm failed to go at auction in June but sold afterwards for £250,000. A source told the Mail Online: “There was quite a lot of interest [but] not because of the history”.
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