Tragic Fen farmer's legal warning

A farmer found dead in a Fen drain was threatened with legal action days beforehand, the EDP has learned.Richard Herbert, 47, was found in the Middle Level Drain, near his home in St John's Fen End, near King's Lynn, on Monday night.

A farmer found dead in a Fen drain was threatened with legal action days beforehand, the EDP has learned.

Richard Herbert, 47, was found in the Middle Level Drain, near his home in St John's Fen End, near King's Lynn, on Monday night.

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances and the investigation had been handed over to the coroner, who will hold an inquest.

Father-of-three Mr Herbert was part of a consortium of landowners hoping to build a wind farm on their properties.

Last night it emerged Mr Herbert was one of a number of farmers connected to the plan who were sent solicitors' letters two weeks ago.

The letters, sent on behalf of what law firm Hawkins said were “a number of homeowners”, warned: “Our clients have instructed us to make representations upon their behalf against this development, which they are concerned will cause them to suffer a loss on value to their homes and may give rise to a risk to their health and well-being.

Most Read

“We are also instructed to formally put you upon notice that if our clients suffer a loss in value of their homes, and/or any other loss as a result of the construction of the wind farm, we have instructions to commence court proceedings against you to recover their losses.

“Any such proceeds will include not only a claim for damages, but also a claim for interest thereon and costs.”

A statement from Mr Herbert's family said he had been worried about the state of the farming industry and opposition to the wind farm before his death.

It said: “In recent months Richard's health had created cause for concern and he had commenced treatment at the Fermoy Unit, King's Lynn.”

Yesterday Graham Cooper, from Hawkins, said the letters had been sent on behalf of a number of Marshland St James residents but declined to name them.

“My clients instructed me to send the letter to Mr Herbert, we had no idea of any mental health issues and they extend their sympathies to his family,” he said.

Anger erupted after Mr Herbert and other landowners revealed plans to build up to 26 turbines near Marshland St James.

Earlier this month, a test mast erected to check wind strengths was destroyed just hours after half of the 14-strong consortium resigned for “personal reasons”.

An inquest was opened yesterday into Mr Herbert's death by Greater Norfolk deputy coroner Jacqueline Lake and adjourned to a date to be fixed.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter