Inquest Opens into Mystery Death of Hammersmith Businessman

Charles Raper, co-founder of Blue Hackle, died ten years ago while on holiday

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Lincoln House in Hammersmith Road

Blue Hackle

Keble College - The Record, 2006


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An inquest has opened into the death of Charles Raper, the co-founder of a Hammersmith based security firm and resident of Chiswick, over ten years after he died in mysterious circumstances.

Mr Raper, who was 34 when he died, co-founded the company Blue Hackle, which was based in Lincoln House at 137 - 143 Hammersmith Road, with his brother Michael in 2004.

A year later, he went on a golfing holiday to Vilamoura in the Algarve with 17 of his friends.

At the Coroner’s Court in Woking, Surrey on Monday October 12, the inquest into his death, which is expected to last ten days learned that Mr Raper was holidaying with rugby and Oxford University friends who had taken part in drinking games.

It remains unclear whether Mr Raper was run over by a vehicle, stabbed, fell off a wall or was involved in a fight. He was taken to hospital suffering from serious injuries but died after an operation to remove his spleen.

One of Mr Raper's closest friends, David Currie, a former Harlequins rugby star told the inquest that the group was "a boisterous bunch" who had known each other since university or through rugby and that there were some big drinkers there.

He told the inquest how, after finding his friend lying in a car park, he called Mr Raper's firm Blue Hackle in London to ask about insurance details.

"I told them he could have fallen from a wall, been stabbed or hit by a car," he said, adding that a member of the medical staff had said he had been stabbed.

Coroner Richard Travers asked Mr Currie if the group had come up with a scenario to "protect" another member of the group, which he denied. However, Mr Currie did admit he spoke to a PR company without the permission of the family, to prevent any negative publicity surrounding the death.

The inquest continues, with many of Mr Raper's friends scheduled to give evidence.

Mr Raper went to Oxford University's Keble College, which published this obituary in 2006:

Charles Raper, born 1989, died on 17 September 2005 aged 34. Educated at Harrow, he came
to Keble to read Geography. There he met fellow geographer, Alison Walters (1989), whom he married after leaving Keble. He worked for Investec (formerly Guinness McMahon) until 2002, when we went travelling for a year with Kirsty who later became his second wife.

They travelled from the north of Canada to the tip of South America, becoming engaged in Mexico. On their return, they married and lived in Chiswick where Isabel was born shortly afterwards. He worked with Kroll, an American Security Company, as Finance Director. In
2004, his brother Michael and he set up their own security firm, Blue Hackle.

A keen sportsman and mountaineer, tragically, he was knocked down while on a golfing weekend in Portugal and died as a result of his injuries. His death is still under police investigation. His mother writes: " Charlie loved his time at Keble and counts many of the friends he
made there as his closest."

Blue Hackle, which has the motto "Securing Lives. Protecting Assets. Reducing Risk." says on its website that after being founded in 2004 as a British company, it transitioned to a wholly-owned American company in 2011. With headquarters in Laurel Springs, NJ, and major operations in the Middle East, Southwest Asia, and Africa, we provide the most capable, reliable, and discreet security services across Energy, Government, Foreign Government, Commercial, Diplomatic, and Non-Profit sectors.

Charles Raper's brother Michael, described as former CEO and founding member, remains on the company's Board of Directors.

October 16, 2015