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Camden News - by DAN CARRIER
Published: 29 January 2009

Allan Chappelow
Murder victim’s home set to be demolished despite rescue bid

Conservation group says it’s too late to save property where writer was killed

THE Grade II-listed home of Hampstead murder victim Allan Chappelow is set to be razed to the ground.
The Manor House in Downshire Hill had been home to Mr Chappelow and his family for 70 years. It has been empty since the writer was murdered inside the property in June 2006.
The Georgian building, which dates back to 1818, is now shored up with scaffolding.
It has since been bought for £4.1million and two weeks ago plans to knock it down were submitted to the Town Hall.
Current owners Ringline Properties plan to replace it with a luxurious copy.
The crumbling house had spent years on English Heritage’s buildings at risk register with Mr Chappelow unwilling to meet conservationists.
Experts are now resigned to the fact it cannot be saved after bouts of damp, dry rot and woodworm.
The chances of a restoration were hit by a fire that swept through the home as police searched for clues to the pensioner’s killer.
A friend of Mr Chappelow who did not want to be named said the home had begun to slip into disrepair after his mother’s death.
He said: “Allan was never very domestically inclined and things began to slip a long time ago. When things went wrong, he often tried to fix them himself. I remember him clambering on his roof and trying to stop up holes with bits of wood.”
During the murder ­trial, the court heard how Mr Chappelow had used plastic bags to fill in holes when roof slates were dislodged and that he had tried to secure guttering with sticky tape.
English Heritage’s London director Paddy Pugh said: “We have to accept it is beyond repair. We have not taken this decision lightly. We have a specialist body of knowledge and our experts say it is sadly beyond saving.
“We only fully realised the extent of the problems after the poor man was murdered. It was a set of extreme and extraordinary circumstances.”
In its place a “close facsimile” of the original building is being planned.
Architect Stephan Levrant, who was working on the house, said: “I only work with historic and listed buildings and never in 35 years have I had to put in an application to demolish one. The home was badly built in the first place and not looked after.”

* Wang Yam, 47, who was found guilty of killing Mr Chappelow, is due at the Old Bailey today (Thursday) to be sentenced.

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