Huge £40 million creepy deserted mansion owned by criminal is being left to rot in the countryside
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A huge mansion owned by a convicted criminal has been left to rot in the Sussex countryside after work in the area seemingly ended years ago.
Construction on Hamilton Palace began in 1985, when Nicholas Van Hoogstraten started looking for somewhere to house his art collection.
The property tycoon, who now goes by the name Nicholas Adolf von Hessen, began his career building properties in the Bahamas. However, in 2002 he was jailed for 10 years for the organised killing of his business rival, Mohammed Raja, in 1999.
Van Hoogstraten's conviction was later overturned, but he was ordered to pay the victim's family £6 million.
Five years after construction on Hamilton Palace began, and prior to his conviction, Van Hoogstraten created a rift between himself and locals by using razor wire and old fridges to block pathways around the property.
The house cost £40 million to build and is bigger than Buckingham Palace, but decades on the mansion sits unfinished and unoccupied, apparently abandoned in Uckfield.
Scaffolding remains in place up the walls, and its eerie emptiness earned Hamilton Palace the nickname the Ghost House of Sussex.
In 2016, residents in the area called for parts of the vacant home to be repurposed as accommodation for people experiencing homelessness. Van Hoogstraten, however, branded the idea as 'ridiculous'.
In a statement, he criticised those experiencing homelessness and added: "The chance of my offering an opportunity for them to occupy Hamilton Palace is just ludicrous."
Van Hoogstraten further objected against local 'peasants' calling for the property to be torn down, saying: "Even the most moronic of peasants would be able to see from the pictures that we have been busy landscaping the grounds of the palace so as to prepare for scheduled works.
"Hamilton Palace is far from 'crumbling' and was built to last for at least 2,000 years. The scaffolding only remains as a part of ongoing routine maintenance such a property would require until completion."
In spite of Van Hoogstraten's claims, however, one local resident told The Mirror 'nothing has changed' as far as they know, though added: "It’s difficult to see what work has or hasn’t been done as there are a number of threatening 'keep out' and 'private' signs dotted around the property."
As well as spending time behind bars for the death of Raja, Van Hoogstraten has also previously been jailed for paying a gang to throw a grenade into the home of someone who owed him money, and charged but cleared of harassing tenants in his properties.