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British millionaire flees in Porsche after girlfriend battered to death at £1,000-a-night Paris hotel
May 29:
Published on 29 May. 2009 11:35 PM IST
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Police are hunting a British businessman after his lover was bludgeoned to death in one of the most prestigious hotels in Paris. The naked body of Kinga Legg, 36, was discovered in a bathtub by cleaners on Tuesday evening. She was covered in bruises and the bedroom had been trashed. Police revealed Mr Griffin, 40, was bankrupt - and may have been living off his rich girlfriend, a wealthy businesswoman who ran tomato export business Vegex. Her clients included Tesco and McDonald's. The pair lived in a £4million mansion on the exclusive Oxshott Crown Estate, in Surrey, home to several Chelsea footballers. Miss Legg, who was originally from Poland, had paid a year's rent up front when she moved into the house with her boyfriend and a pet dog in September. On the surface, the pair lived a privileged and extravagant lifestyle and appeared to have no shortage of money. However, police suspect that the source of the couple's wealth was Miss Legg while Mr Griffin embarked on a string of ventures, some of which failed. He is the former boss of a telecom company and at one stage headed a website and chain of shops called GadgetMasters launched in 2000. At one stage he boasted of having a turnover of £2.5m. By 2006 he was in dire financial difficulty and was declared bankrupt at Warrington county court, in Cheshire. Henri Moreau, of the French Brigade Criminal, said: 'Apparently Griffin did not do much in the way of earning a living. 'It is possible that he lived off her. (He) had a bad business record and was known for bankruptcy. A lone policeman stood guard at the door of the mansion Mr Griffin and Miss Legg had shared. The house stands in its own grounds at the end of a gravel drive where two cars, one a luxury BMW, were parked. On Thursday, his parents told the Manchester Evening News they had not seen him for years. 'We were aware of Kinga but never met her. I don't want to make any more comment,' his mother said. Miss Legg's former husband Peter, who married her in 1996 before they split two years later, spoke of his shock at the news. The 40-year-old of Poulton le Fylde, Lancashire, said: ‘It is terrible. What can I say?’ They fell in love and exchanged regular letters before she decided to immigrate to the UK where they later married at Blackpool Registry Office. Officers believe Mr Griffin could be headed for the Cote d'Azur where Miss Legg had a luxury yacht. A spokesman for the French Riviera force described him as 'dangerous and volatile' and urged members of the public not to approach him. 'Port and harbour authorities have also been told to stay alert for anyone matching his description,' he said. It emerged that Mr Griffin may have left the hotel up to 12 hours before Miss Legg's body was discovered. It is believed Miss Legg had checked into the Hotel Bristol alone on Monday before being joined by her boyfriend on Tuesday morning. The room service bill showed the pair, who had been together for around three years, had drunk copious amounts of alcohol, including several bottles of champagne. But it appears a row broke out. Local media reports suggest she may have tried to end the relationship. When cleaners entered the room in the evening, they discovered furniture had been smashed and a curtain pole had been pulled off the wall. An autopsy later revealed that she was beaten to death. There was no weapon used except pieces of furniture. A police source said: 'The woman was hit repeatedly, perhaps with a lamp stand or some other blunt tool. Nobody heard any shouts or screams.' As the search for the fugitive Mr Griffin continued, officers revealed how he had left the hotel without checking out. 'He hopped into his car and headed off,' a source said. 'There was no indication that the woman was lying in a pool of blood in the hotel bath. 'She could have remained like that for days, but a cleaning maid became suspicious when light knocks were continually ignored. ‘The maid was trained to ignore “Do not Disturb” signs when they had been on the door handle for too long, and that’s why she went inside. A police spokesman said: 'We understand the woman had been seeing her boyfriend for about three years. 'They had had a turbulent time recently and she left alone for a few days' break in Paris. It appears the boyfriend followed her and visited her in her room at the Bristol hotel.' The Foreign Office said they were 'investigating' reports but would not comment further.

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