News and Views
Millionaire socialite ‘killed in his Mayfair flat in cover-up by financial advisor
A millionaire socialite was murdered by his financial advisor who had defrauded him of £343,000 to fund his fabulous lifestyle, a court heard today.
David Jeffs, 36, drove sports cars, dined at fine restaurants and stayed at top hotels using Robert Troyan's money, it is claimed.
Then he battered the 63-year-old to death at his home in one of Britain's most expensive neighbourhoods when his dishonesty was about to be discovered, Croydon Crown Court heard.
The body was found by a cleaner in the kitchen of his flat in Mayfair in a pool of blood.
Prosecutor Edward Brown QC told the jury: 'This defendant took advantage of a frail and vulnerable man for his own gains over a long period.
'As a result he was able to live the high life but all at the expense of the deceased who, when the defendant first met him, was a rich man.
'He died less rich by hundreds of thousands of pounds thanks to this defendant's dishonesty.
'When the life to which the defendant happily had become accustomed appeared to him to about suddenly to come to an end and that there was a real possibility that his callous acts would soon be found out, he killed him.
'Whether the murder of Mr Troyan was planned by this defendant or was committed following an argument when the deceased finally confronted him with his crime, we may never know.
'Only one person is now able to tell us and he has not done so.'
Jeffs was a 'devious and clever man' who had been able to carry out his deception by making Mr Troyan rely on him, it is alleged.
Mr Brown added: 'The defendant knew well the advantage he had and he used that advantage.
'But the defendant had come to rely on the deceased – or rather his wealth – for his own lifestyle.
'There were expensive sports cars, expensive restaurants, hotels, holidays and clubs, and drugs too, all that had to be paid for.
'This is what was about to come to an end and he was likely to be exposed for what he really was – the consequences were dire.'
Jeffs attempted to cover his tracks by purchasing replica clothes to replace his bloodstained ones, it is alleged.
Scientists later found blood from Mr Troyan on a briefcase Jeffs was carrying when he went to the flat that afternoon.
Scene: Robert Troyan was found dead in his property in this mansion block in Mayfair by a cleaner earlier this year
Jeffs had been employed as his financial advisor in 2005 following the death of Mr Troyan's partner Anthony Feldman, an interior designer whose clients included Princess Michael of Kent and former Tory Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken.
Jeffs was to assist in the investment and management of the huge inheritance Mr Troyan received, the court was told.
Mr Brown said: 'It appears Mr Troyan's lifestyle, since his partner's death, had been somewhat extravagant, in some ways had become chaotic, and included consumption of alcohol and drugs at his home address often with others.
Battered to death: Robert Troyan was found dead in a pool of blood by a cleaner in his Mayfair home
'Mr Troyan's habits including his dependency on others, were such as to make him an easy target for financial exploitation.
The relationship between the two men deteriorated in the months before the murder as Mr Troyan told friends how much money Jeffs had lost him.
Mr Brown said: 'In the days and months before his death, Mr Troyan expressed to those close to him and others his disappointment at losses in his investments, for which he seemed to blame the defendant, his resentment at the financial arrangements in place to curb his spending and his distrust of the defendant in his management of his finances.
'Whatever Mr Troyan's spending and lifestyle habits, his distrust of the defendant in that regard had a sound basis.'
Tax records showed Jeffs earned just under £50,000 in 2006-07, £36,460 in 2007-08 and just £6,000 in 2008-09.
Mr Brown added: 'The reality is that with the lifestyle that he had, his legitimate earnings fell far short of what was required to keep that high life going.'
Jeffs became a 'financial concierge' to Mr Troyan and paid utility bills, money owed to a storage company and helped him find a flat and pay the deposit and rent.
Mr Brown continued: 'Some concerns were raised at the bank when Mr Troyan explained that he had been providing signed blank cheques to his financial advisor, however this, so far as the late Mr Troyan understood, was for investment purposes.
'There are very strict rules as to what access an independent financial advisor can have to a client's finances.
'Such a situation, whether one designed from the outset or to allow for the theft of the money or one that the defendant took advantage of, allowed for stealing the money of a trusting and in some ways inadequate man.'
'Victim': Mr Troyan who had employed David Jeffs as his financial advisor since 2005
Exclusive neighbourhood: Police launched a murder investigation in Mayfair after Mr Troyan was discovered dead. He had been bludgeoned to death
Jeffs later told police he was paid £1,000 a week for his services in this capacity but no record of this agreement has been found.
'Between February 15, 2010 and January 31, 2012 a total of £343,000 has been paid in to bank accounts in the defendant's name by way of cheques successfully drawn on Mr Troyan's NatWest account,' Mr Brown continued.
'During the same period there had also been attempts by way of the defendant to secure payments totaling £80,000 to Jeffs' accounts by way of cheques initially drawn but which bounced.
'Mr Troyan did understand that these significant amounts would be re-invested for him by the defendant and were not therefore intended to go into the defendant's pocket.
'It was a deception and it worked. Not a penny of the £343,000 was re-invested on Mr Troyan's behalf and it was spent by the defendant on himself and his friends.'
Mr Troyan was found dead on March 8.
Jeffs, formerly of Arnold, Nottingham, denies murder and fraud by abuse of position.
The trial continues.