LONDON — Slum landlord, Nicholas van Hoogstraten, who is now based in Zimbabwe, has branded neighbours “moronic peasants” for objecting to his £41 million palace, while also attacking migrants and the homeless.
Last week, the Sunday Mirror revealed locals living near the mansion, nicknamed “the ghost house of Sussex”, were angry it was still empty and unfinished after 31 years.
Now the property tycoon has hit back with this scathing statement: “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.”
And he responded to suggestions that his neoclassical pile should be given over to house the homeless with a hate-filled rant, saying: “The ‘homeless’ — the majority of whom are so by their own volition or sheer laziness — are one of the filthiest burdens on the public purse today.
“The chance of my offering an opportunity for them to occupy Hamilton Palace is just ludicrous.
“Likewise, my offering accommodation to these Muslim ‘migrants’ and to encourage their besiegement of our country and the unwarranted plundering of its resources is ridiculous. We should remove them all.”
He also denied residents’ claims the mansion, near Uckfield, was going to ruin.
Van Hoogstraten said: “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.”
Building began in 1985, but has dragged on for decades as the property magnate dealt with a series of court cases.
He became notorious in the 1960s for the grim conditions his tenants endured and the violence used to evict any who crossed him.
In 1968, he was jailed for four years for ordering a grenade attack on a rabbi, whose son allegedly owed him cash.
And in 2002, he got 10 years for the manslaughter of Mohammed Raja, killed by hitmen at his home in south London.
The conviction was quashed — but a civil court later ordered him to pay £6 million damages to the victim’s family, prompting him to flee to Zimbabwe.
He is said to be close to the country’s maligned leader, Robert Mugabe.
Responding to claims he had emigrated there he said: “My family and I continue to maintain homes in several locations worldwide, including the UK.”
— The Mirror