Farmhand ‘heartbroken’ after being sacked when Vincent family moved in

EXCLUSIVE: Farmhand employed for 50 years on £1.7m property says he was ‘heartbroken’ when he was sacked and evicted from his home six months after family of burglar Henry Vincent moved in

  • Walter Bratton worked for half a century on farm now owned by Vincent family
  • He was responsible for looking after cattle and pigs on the 40-acre estate
  • But he was sacked shortly after the Vincent family bought the property for a cut down price
  • Mr Bratton told MailOnline: ‘I was absolutely gutted – there was no explanation’ 
  • The Vincents acquired the farm in Kent for a sixth of the market price  
  • Slain burglar Henry Vincent’s funeral was held in Orpington on Thursday

Walter Bratton (above), a farmhand sacked after the family of slain burglar Henry Vincent took over the estate where he worked, has spoken of his heartbreak at losing his job and his home

A farm hand sacked after the family of slain burglar Henry Vincent took over the estate where he worked spoke today of his heartbreak at losing his job and his home. 

Pensioner Walter Bratton was told to quit and evicted from the home he had cherished for more than 50 years after the Vincents bought the £1.7million property. 

The grandfather told MailOnline he had happily worked at the 40-acre farm looking after the cattle and pigs for five decades until the Vincent clan arrived and eventually bought the property for a knock down price. 

The day after the funeral of stabbed burglar Henry Vincent, 76-year-old Mr Bratton described how he was given his marching orders from the farm in the village of Hollingbourne, Kent, when the Vincents took over two years ago.

Retired Dudley Wright, 72, owned the property for decades and is now thought to be living in a static caravan on the grounds.

Recalling the moment he lost his livelihood and house, Mr Bratton told MailOnline: ‘I was absolutely gutted. It had been my life for so long. 

Mr Bratton was told to quit and evicted from the home he had cherished for more than 50 years after the Vincents bought the £1.7million property


Mr Bratton said: ‘I was simply given a letter from the owner Dudley that said I was no longer required.’ Pictured: Henry Vincent (left) had initially made contact with Mr Wright through his work for him in his garden. Henry Vincent senior (right) eventually moved in with his wife

The day after the funeral of stabbed burglar Henry Vincent, 76-year-old Mr Bratton described how he was given his marching orders from the farm in the village of Hollingbourne, Kent, when the Vincents took over two years ago

The grandfather told MailOnline he had happily worked at the 40-acre farm looking after the cattle and pigs for five decades until the Vincent clan arrived and eventually bought the property for a knock down price 

‘I was simply given a letter from the owner Dudley that said I was no longer required. There was no explanation. 

Speaking from his home in Maidstone, Kent, Mr Bratton added: ‘How Vincent got to know Dudley I don’t know.

Retired Dudley Wright, 72, (pictured at his wedding) owned the property for decades and is now thought to be living in a static caravan on the grounds

‘I saw him one day working on the property and then before long he’d moved onto the land in a small caravan which he parked by the garages and lived in by himself.

‘Six months later, I got a letter signed by Dudley that I was no longer needed and had to leave.

‘And that was that, I’d been working for his family for 50 years and wasn’t even given a reason for why he no longer needed me.’

He went on: ‘Now to be honest I don’t care much what happens to Dudley or the Vincents. I have followed what has been happening with the death of Henry Vincent and his father seems to be a crook. 

‘I am just a normal bloke who has worked hard all my life so I have moved on. It’s been three years now since they got rid of me so I’m over it. But I was extremely upset at the time. I don’t think it was the best way to treat someone. I have no idea why I was suddenly laid off.’ 

MailOnline revealed how the Vincent family had acquired the Grade II listed farmhouse and surrounding land worth an estimated £1.7million for six times less than its market value.

The property was transferred from its former owner into the name of Vincent’s mother Rosemary, 59, for a the price of just £325,000 on April 12.    

Recalling the moment he lost his livelihood and house, Mr Bratton told MailOnline: ‘I was absolutely gutted. It had been my life for so long’

Speaking from his home in Maidstone, Mr Bratton added: ‘How Vincent got to know Dudley I don’t know. I saw him one day working on the property and then before long he’d moved onto the land in a small caravan which he parked by the garages and lived in by himself’

Mr Wright’s father Leonard bought 1,700 acres of land around the Kent village in the early 1960s from the proceeds of his family’s garage business.

It grew into a successful arable and livestock farm and was handed down to his son Dudley after his death in 1975.

Residents said Mr Wright, who suffered a head injury in a childhood car crash, struggled to cope and sold off a large portion of land in the 1980s for more than £1million.

In 2011 he was befriended by the younger Henry Vincent, who was brought in by a gardener to help repair the main house. 

MailOnline revealed how the Vincent family had acquired the Grade II listed farmhouse and surrounding land worth an estimated £1.7million for six times less than its market value. Pictured: Henry Vincent’s funeral

The property was transferred from its former owner into the name of Vincent’s mother Rosemary, 59, for a the price of just £325,000 on April 12. Pictured: Mourners at Henry Vincent’s funeral

Mr Wright’s father Leonard bought 1,700 acres of land around the Kent village in the early 1960s from the proceeds of his family’s garage business. It grew into a successful farm and was handed down to his son Dudley after his death in 1975. Pictured: Henry Vincent’s funeral

In 2011 he was befriended by the younger Henry Vincent, who was brought in by a gardener to help repair the main house. Over the next seven years, the Vincent family were seen there increasingly often, moving into a trailer on the grounds. Pictured: Henry Vincent’s funeral

Over the next seven years, Henry Vincent and his parents Henry senior and Rosemary, both 59, were seen increasingly often, moving into a trailer on the grounds.

Shortly after the property changed hands, Mr Bratton was sacked and evicted while Mr Wright’s remaining cattle were sold off.

Richard Osborn-Brooks stabbed Henry Vincent as the burglar tried to rob him. He will not face charges

Mr Bratton said of Mr Wright’s father Leonard: ‘He was a real gentleman. He would have handled thing very differently. ‘We had a very good relationship. It was a job I greatly enjoyed but that’s life I suppose.’  

Villagers in Hollingbourne have expressed concern for Mr Wright’s welfare.

Vincent senior is a career criminal is one of at least nine members of the Vincent family to spend time in jail.

In 2003 he, his son and five of his brothers were jailed for a total of more than 28 years between them for a £450,000 building scam.

They would knock on the doors of elderly people telling them they had structural problems with their homes and quoting large fees to fix them.

The victims were then pressured into paying, with some even being marched to the banks to withdraw funds.

One woman in her 80s ended up signing over her £150,000 home to cover the cost of guttering and other building work.

Just five years later, in 2008, he joined his son once again to swindle an 81-year-old man out of £72,000 for roof repairs.

This time, however, he went on the run, leaving his son to take the rap (for which he was jailed). 

Shortly after the property changed hands, Mr Bratton was sacked and evicted while Mr Wright’s remaining cattle were sold off. Mr Bratton said of Mr Wright’s father Leonard: ‘He was a real gentleman’ Pictured: Mourners arrive at the funeral

Villagers in Hollingbourne have expressed concern for Mr Wright’s welfare. Vincent senior is a career criminal is one of at least nine members of the Vincent family to spend time in jail. Pictured: Mourners throw rocks at bystanders

Mr Bratton has now moved to a bungalow in Maidstone to enjoy his retirement: ‘I was pretty devastated but to be honest I’m past caring now. Let them get on with their lives.’ Pictured: Henry Vincent’s funeral cortege

Vincent Snr was caught in September 2010 and jailed for six years the following August. 

Mr Bratton has now moved to a bungalow in Maidstone to enjoy his retirement.

He added: ‘It’s nothing to do with me now. I just want to be left I. Peace ‘I was pretty devastated but to be honest I’m past caring now. Let them get on with their lives.’

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