Bankrupt Tory backer’s mansion on sale for £8m

Hillfield House has nine bedrooms, a swimming pool and a gym. Picture: contributed
Hillfield House has nine bedrooms, a swimming pool and a gym. Picture: contributed
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THE country pile of a bankrupt tycoon who funded the Scottish Tories is being sold at a knockdown price after he went bust owing £8 million.

Malcolm Scott, 50, is selling his luxury nine-bedroomed mansion, Hillfield House in Kirknewton, West Lothian, which includes a swimming pool, a tennis court and a gym.

The Fettes-educated businessman donated at least £1.6m to the Conservatives and was the Scottish party’s treasurer. Mr Scott was a close political ally of Foreign Secretary William Hague and was tipped for a peerage – he once allowed Prime Minister David Cameron use of his private jet.

But his grain and property empire went spectacularly bust, leaving creditors owed millions.

He was made bankrupt in 2012 – as were his parents, after they tried to underwrite their son’s debts.

The businessman originally bought his palatial pad in 2005 for £1.85m and spent £2m renovating it. It is now being sold by his bankruptcy trustee, Blair Nimmo of KPMG, for offers over £1.45m.

Last Christmas, Mr Scott had his bankruptcy extended by ten months following claims his court evidence was “extraordinary” and not “credible”.

He had claimed Hillfield House had been “ransacked” before his bankruptcy. His wife confirmed the robbery in court, but said the house had not been “trashed in any way”.

The fallen tycoon told Edinburgh Sheriff Court he was now living in a £350,000 house in Bridge of Weir, thanks to a friend helping with the £800-a-month rent.

His wife, Rona, said she was supporting her husband by working as an office receptionist and was also receiving working-tax credits, a benefit for the low-paid.

Mr Scott told the court of the toll the collapse of his business empire had taken on his family.

He said: “My wife put all her personal money into the company, which amounted to over £1m. My mother and father have suffered a similar fate.

“I believe that I have paid a heavy price for my mistakes.”

Set in 21 acres, the Georgian mansion boasts five reception rooms, nine bedrooms, an orangery, an indoor swimming pool, a loch and paddocks. It also features a billiard room, a library and a large “entertaining wing”.

Mr Scott hosted large banquets at the house where guests included former defence secretary Liam Fox.

In the sales brochure, estate agent Rettie states: “The property has not been occupied since winter 2011.

“Hillfield is being offered for sale by the Trustee acting in the sequestration of the previous owner and has been maintained by them. As a result, it is anticipated that the purchaser will want to carry out certain upgrade/modernisation works.”