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Topie: Kinga Legg, 36{desc: Ian Griffin }
May 29th, 2009 12:15 AM

First picture of British millionaire's girlfriend found battered to death in luxury Paris hotel as he fled in Porsche

By Julie Moult, Emily Andrews and Peter Allen

29th May 2009

Police are hunting British businessman Ian Griffin after his girlfriend, Kinga Legg (above), was battered to death in a room at Hotel Bristol in Paris

Police are hunting a British businessman after his lover was discovered bludgeoned to death in one of the most prestigious hotels in Paris.

Ian Griffin fled the £1,000-a-night Hotel Bristol in his grey Porsche 911 and was thought to be heading to the French Riviera.

The naked body of Kinga Legg was discovered in a bathtub by cleaners on Tuesday evening.

She was covered in bruises and the bedroom had been trashed.

French police have said they need to speak to Mr Griffin as a matter of urgency.

It is believed Miss Legg had checked into the hotel alone on Monday before being joined by Mr Griffin on Tuesday morning.

Henri Moreau of the Brigade Criminal said: 'The autopsy showed that she died of blows to the body. There was no weapon used except for bits of furniture and fists.'

A police spokesman added: 'We understand the woman had been seeing her boyfriend for about three years.
'They had had a turbulent time recently and she left alone for a few days' break in Paris. It appears the boyfriend followed her and visited her in her room at the Bristol hotel.

'He arrived in a Porsche and was seen by staff at the hotel.'

The room service bill showed the pair had drunk copious amounts of alcohol, including several bottles of champagne, throughout the day.

But it appears a row broke out. Local media reports suggest she may have tried to end the relationship.

When cleaners entered the room in the evening, they discovered furniture had been smashed and a curtain pole had been pulled off the wall. They also found Miss Legg's body and blood smeared on the walls.

A police source said: 'The woman was hit repeatedly, perhaps with a lamp stand or some other blunt tool. Nobody heard any shouts or screams.'

A post-mortem examination was due to take place yesterday.

It is not known when Mr Griffin, who is thought to be from the London area, left the hotel but it is suspected he may be going to the south of France in the British-registered sports car.

Miss Legg owns a yacht on the French Mediterranean coast and police suspect he may be heading for that.

Last night her former husband Peter Legg, who married her in 1996 before they split two years later, spoke of his shock at the news.

The 40-year-old of Poulton le Fylde, Lancashire, said: ‘It is terrible. What can I say?’

She has been described as a wealthy 36-year-old Polish woman who lived for a time in Cheshire.

She was the head of a large Polish tomato export company called Vegex. It has a base in Oxshot, Surrey, supplying British supermarkets.
Less is known about Mr Griffin.

'British police are inquiring into his background... The couple clearly had a lot of money,' Mr Moreau said.

The Foreign Office said yesterday they were 'investigating' reports but would not comment further.

A manhunt has been launched and police at airports and at the borders have been notified.
May 29th, 2009 09:19 PM
Justina British fugitive suspected of battering girlfriend to death flees horror behind a 'do not disturb' sign

By Emily Andrews and James Tozer

29th May 2009

Polish millionairess Kinga Legg: She was murdered at the Hotel Bristol in Paris

The businessman whose lover was found battered to death in their Paris hotel suite drove away leaving a 'do not disturb' sign on the door.

Ian Griffin asked the concierge to bring his Porsche round and left 'without a care in the world', it is claimed.

The body of Polish-born Kinga Legg was later found in their bathtub at the four-star Hotel Bristol. She had been battered to death, apparently with a lamp stand.

Murder suspect Ian Griffin ran a firm called Gadgetmasters: He is seen demonstrating a £10,000 hoverboard

French police searching for Griffin described him as 'dangerous and volatile'. They fear that the 39-year-old - who also has access to a yacht in the Cote d'Azur - may have fled the country.

Friends warned yesterday that Griffin could be a suicide risk and would 'rather die than hand himself in'.

More details emerged about the male model-turned-tycoon, who grew up in Warrington.

He is said to have mixed with stars of soaps and pop music before making millions from a string of businesses including tanning salons.

Several of his ventures collapsed, however, and Griffin was later locked in a Spanish prison accused of fraud. He was released without charge.

Since meeting Miss Legg three years ago he had apparently resumed his high living.

His relationship with Miss Legg, 36, who ran a successful tomato export business, has been described as ' turbulent'.

She is believed to have checked in to the prestigious £1,000-a-night hotel alone on Monday and Griffin is thought to have arrived the following day in a British-registered Porsche 911.

The couple then ordered copious amounts of champagne through room service.

It was hours after Griffin left on Tuesday - leaving the 'do not disturb' sign on the door to the room - that cleaners found Miss Legg's body.

A police spokesman in Nice said: 'We are working on the basis that he is a dangerous and volatile individual and would urge members of the public not to approach him.'

French airports have also been ordered to look out for him, but police admit he could have slipped over the borders to a neighbouring country without being detected.

'He may have had up to 12 hours to make his escape before Miss Legg's body was found,' a Paris police spokesman admitted.

Griffin is thought to have met Miss Legg while both lived in Cheshire, but they had recently been renting a £3million mansion near the headquarters of her firm, Vegex, in Oxshott, Surrey.

Yesterday his cousin Joel Edgerton told of Griffin's early exploits which he said included inviting Brookside star Anna Friel and her then boyfriend Darren Day to one of his birthday parties along with members of boyband 911.

'He liked his champagne and the champagne lifestyle,' said the 29-year-old estate agent. 'He loved anything that was flash. He had a penchant for fast cars.'

In 1999 Griffin bought a £1million estate near Knutsford.
The following year he was arrested in Malaga and locked in a cell after the French authorities sought his extradition on fraud charges.

He resurfaced back in Cheshire and launched a chain of novelty goods stores called GadgetMasters, stocking products including Osama bin Laden voodoo dolls.

At about this time the former Culcheth High School pupil - who claimed to be worth £46million - posted a series of bragging entries on Friends Reunited, telling former school-mates: 'I have read all your notes, and to be quite frank none of you sorry lot have accomplished anything apart from babies, dogs and goldfish.'

However friends said he lost his fortune in a failed business deal and in 2006 was declared bankrupt.

Since meeting Miss Legg, police believe he has been mainly living off her wealth.

Born Kinga Wolf, she came to Britain in the mid-1990s after a chance meeting with Peter Legg, who was on an exchange trip for his work at Preston council.

They married and eventually settled in Lancashire.

Yesterday Mr Legg, now a £75,000-a-year executive with Blackpool council, said he was 'stunned' by her violent death.

Griffin's parents Bernard and Janet live in a £1million house near Warrington. Told of the manhunt, Mr Griffin, 67, said: 'I have not seen my son for a while.

'I know of Kinga but I know nothing about this incident in Paris.'

His cousin, Mr Edgerton, insisted he had never been violent. 'He is a good man. He is a lovely bloke and dead generous.'

A friend of Griffin said he feared he would kill himself rather than hand himself in.

The former business partner, who did not want to be named, said: 'I am very concerned that he will commit suicide, it's a very real possibility because he has suffered from deep and prolonged bouts of depression.'

The friend claimed that Griffin had recently become engaged to Miss Legg and that they had been in France together for some time.

'He seemed relatively happy, in a balanced state of mind. But it was a difficult relationship, they were both very similar, strong-minded characters,' he said.


The Bristol is one of Paris's most exclusive hotels, close to the Elysee Palace and British Embassy.

Opened in 1925, it has always been a luxury establishment catering for the rich and famous and has four stars - the top rating awarded to hotels in France.

Unsurprisingly, it also has a rich history - and a lavish collection of furniture and furnishings including Gobelins tapestries and 'spare' paintings sold off by the Louvre

During the Second World War it was the official residence for American citizens in occupied Paris and also provided sanctuary for Jewish architect Leman.
He was able to supervise improvements at the hotel - including the intricate metal grilles in public areas - from his room.

Famous guests have included Harry Truman, Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe.

Tony and Cherie Blair had dinner with Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni at the hotel two years ago while Bruce Willis, Johnny Depp and Pamela Anderson have also stayed there.

In 2004, George Clooney treated the cast of Ocean’s 12 to a £2,000 feast of champagne and foie gras in the hotel's Restaurant d’Eté.
May 30th, 2009 07:15 PM
Kylee Paris hotel murder suspect's car found

Porsche 911 owned by Ian Griffin, wanted by police after body of girlfriend Kinga Legg found, has turned up in Warrington

Simon Alford
From The Times

May 30, 2009

A Porsche 911 owned by the British businessman suspected of killing his fiancée in an exclusive Paris hotel has been found in Britain.

An international manhunt was launched for 39-year-old Ian Griffin after the body of Kinga Legg was discovered on Tuesday.

French police believe Mr Griffin fled the £1,000-a-night Hotel Bristol in a Porsche up to 12-hours before a cleaner found Miss Legg, 36, in the bathroom of the couple's suite.

The room was spattered with blood and furniture was smashed, investigators have said.

It had been believed Mr Griffin had travelled to Germany or Belgium, but inquiries switched back to Britain after the sportscar was located in Warrington, Cheshire, where the businessman still has family.

Mr Griffin had run a number of businesses, including tanning salons and gadget shops, in the north west.

Today Cheshire police confirmed a car had been found at an address in the town and said the force continued to aid the French investigation in to Miss Legg's death.

"Cheshire Police can confirm that as a result of inquiries made in the Cheshire area in relation to the murder of Kinga Legg in Paris, a black Porsche vehicle has been recovered from a property in Warrington," said the spokesman.

Miss Legg, from Poland, ran a company supplying British supermarkets with tomatoes, known as Vegex.

She first lived with Mr Griffin in Knutsford, Cheshire, but the couple moved to Oxshott in Surrey, close to the British base of Vegex.

A post-mortem revealed Miss Legg had died as a result of internal bleeding. She checked in to the hotel on Monday and Mr Griffin arrived several hours later.
May 30th, 2009 09:43 PM
Michael From a Polish tomato farm to the biggest yacht in marina: The extraordinary life of the beautiful businesswoman found murdered

By Laura Collins and Andrew Chapman

31st May 2009

The name must have made her smile. There, with a flourish of black lacquer lettering was one thing that Kinga Legg had no need to worry about: ‘Overdraft.’ Painted on the hull of the biggest yacht in Port Leucate marina – a yacht she intended to hire – it was a knowing joke writ large.

But then everything about Kinga’s life was writ large. And everything about Kinga’s life seemed to promise success.

As a young girl growing up in Poland, she used to go to the park with her friends. They’d smoke cigarettes, gossip about boys and talk of their plans for the future.

When the Iron Curtain fell and borders across the Continent melted away with the European Union, she was just one of thousands of Poles to take advantage of the opportunities this new world offered. But she was one who made it spectacularly – making her fortune and acquiring the lifestyle of a Western tycoon. A lifestyle of grand houses, fast cars, yachts... and luxury hotels.

Last Tuesday, Kinga Legg, 36, was found battered to death in the £1,000-a-night suite at the five-star Hotel Le Bristol in Paris, which she had shared with her entrepreneur boyfriend Ian Griffin. Griffin, 39, left in his Porsche 911 hours before a maid discovered her bloodied body in the bath. He had, staff reported, seemed perfectly calm, placing a ‘Do not disturb’ sign on the bedroom door before he fled.

Yesterday, the people of Opatowek, the village in rural Poland where Kinga was born, were struggling to make sense of the news. Friends spoke of a ‘polite, modest, smiling’ girl. Her father Jan was too shattered to comment.

The quiet streets, hillsides and lakes of Opatowek belong to a life far removed from the high octane business world in which Kinga latterly moved. A Gothic church stands at the village’s heart. Born into a traditionally Catholic family, Kinga went there regularly as a girl.

Fifty years ago, her grandfather established Vegex, a farmers’ co-operative, specialising in growing and selling tomatoes. Two generations on, his granddaughter would realise it held the key to a life far beyond his 45 hectares of Polish soil and packaging sheds.

Kinga went to the local school and then on to the town’s agricultural college – her father was, like his father before him, a tomato grower.

But Kinga had rather bigger ideas– she saw a potential in Vegex that reached beyond the sleepy subsistence over which her grandfather and father had happily presided.

In 1995, she met the man who would set her on the path to something bigger and better – Peter Legg, a career civil servant working for Preston Town Hall.

As a member of the local Town Twinning Committee, he got to enjoy the perk of a visit to Kalisz – the unlikely twin of Preston since 1989. Kinga was introduced to Peter as she was trying to interest Western businessmen in the area’s market garden produce.

When Peter returned to Lancashire, he exchanged passionate letters with Kinga for six months. Then she travelled to Britain to become Mrs Legg.

The couple married in a small ceremony in Blackpool Register Office. Malcolm Clarke, a former director of Preston College who had met Kinga in Poland, was a guest. He recalled: ‘It was a simple ceremony, with just 20 or so guests. I didn’t realise how well she had done but it doesn’t surprise me.’

Soon after their marriage, Peter was promoted and transferred to Blackpool Council where he became the authority’s Head of Enterprise and Employment. It is a role he still holds, though much else in his life has changed.

Kinga took a Master’s Degree in International Marketing on a one-year course at the University of Central Lancashire. She travelled to the US to study improved growing methods and split her time between the marital home – a £300,000 mid-terrace property in nearby Poulton – and Poland.

She and Legg used to drink in their local, The Thatched House, and the Poulton Tennis Club – and regulars remember Kinga as a vivacious, talkative presence, while Legg was more reserved.

According to one: ‘Perhaps people think she may have used him to get into the country in the first place. He was always proud of his pretty Polish girl.’

Mike Brogan, Peter’s boss at Preston Council, recalled: ‘I met Kinga pretty well at the same time as Peter. She was very competent and very intelligent. Her English was absolutely flawless. She was a superb translator.’

Kinga set about establishing links between Vegex and local businessmen, employing some agents in an attempt to open up trade.

But as her business began to outstrip her husband’s £75,000-a-year career, at least one local woman took issue with the enthusiasm with which Kinga’s countrywomen were embracing the international market.

She claimed that her marriage was destroyed when a female member of Vegex’s Polish staff fell pregnant by her husband during a business trip to the Polish plant.

Perhaps it was always unlikely that Kinga’s journey’s end would be in Blackpool. Her marriage to Peter crumbled after just two years and, though they never divorced, she left the family home. By 2002 she had entered enthusiastically into the well-heeled set of nearby Cheshire, attending the Alderley Edge Tennis Club summer ball on the arm of a local multimillionaire who made his fortune running hair salons. Former nightclub owner Rosemary Fadle was seated on Kinga’s table that evening.

She said: ‘She looked stunning, a very tall, slim, willowy blonde. They looked besotted. We could see that she was out to impress but not in a pushy way. They seemed to hit it off and soon after she was living with this chap at his Cheshire farm.’

Kinga, according to Fadle, relished her burgeoning champagne lifestyle and moved easily through their social set – popular with wives and girlfriends and never short of male attention. ‘She was very, very driven and ambitious,’ she recalled.

By that time, Vegex had a turnover of just £50,000 a year. Kinga made it her business to establish a team and a reputation to far outstrip that.

In 2003, armed with her knowledge in international sales and her ability to charm contacts, she took over the business and set about building Vegex into an international export business, supplying major chains across France, Sweden and Britain, including Tesco, Carrefour and McDonald’s. She also set up a management consultancy firm back in Poland with her brother and named it Medex.

On her regular visits home she was unassuming – but in Britain her success was really taking off. Also, in 2003, she embarked on a relationship with another multimillionaire in Cheshire. For two years they shared a flat in Wilmslow but the relationship didn’t last and in 2005 Kinga met Knutsford-born Ian Griffin.

Friends claim that they warned Kinga off the former telecommunications boss, alleging that he was still in a long-term relationship.

According to Rosemary Fadle: ‘She didn’t believe them. Many say she thought him wealthier than he was.’

But his string of businesses had largely ended in failure and bankruptcy. Among his failed enterprises was a gadget shop. Promoting the venture, Griffin posed on a personal hovercraft in a picture that lends him the slightly ludicrous appearance of a Bond baddie.

More likely, Griffin fancied himself as 007. Fast cars and fast living appealed to the man who once posted a string of abusive messages on Friends Reunited berating his old ‘friends’ as ‘losers’ who achieved nothing but ‘babies, dogs and goldfish’. He claimed to be worth £46million and ran a string of sunbed shops and tanning salons in the North-West which were latterly put in his mother’s name. Former business associates have speculated that he lost his money in an American property deal that went awry.

Only a couple of months ago, Griffin’s father, Bernard, bought shares in one of the two businesses that Kinga registered in the months leading up to her death – Mediapocket Europe and Koncept Home Decor.

Kinga, it seems, always had grand plans, and though associates suggest that Griffin was living off her money it appears that, until very recently, she had envisaged those plans to be of a future that included him. Last September the couple moved into a £5million detached property in Oxshott, Surrey. According to a local estate agent, Kinga put down one year’s rent in advance. The weekly rental is £5,000. The home was the very image of opulent respectability, as were the couple who lived there.

She was enjoying life. She wasn’t to enjoy it for long. Last Monday, Kinga checked into the Hotel Le Bristol. She was alone. Griffin arrived a few hours later and the couple shared several bottles of champagne together in what would be the final few hours of Kinga’s life.

Yesterday, the search for Griffin had moved from France to Britain. His Porsche 911 was found abandoned near his parents’ home and he had reportedly tried and failed to get a motorlaunch from a boatyard in Shepperton, Surrey.

Sniffer dogs and forensic teams searched the Surrey house and police cars were parked in the driveway next to the £80,000 Polish-registered customised Mercedes, bearing the mark ‘Bond’, that she will never again drive. And thousands of miles away that jauntily named yacht, on which she will never set foot, idled in a marina near Perpignan.

The 65ft cruiser, called Overdraft, lies in the harbour of Port Leucate on the Cote Sablonneuse in south-west France. It is understood Kinga had booked the vessel for one month at a cost of up to £5,000 per day.

A private captain had steered the vessel into the port six days before her body was discovered by police. They initially believed Ian Griffin may have been heading to the boat – a Sunseeker Manhattan 60 Flybridge which sleeps six.

Kinga was leasing it under an agreement that if she later bought it, she would have the money she had paid out in rent taken off the price. The 36-year-old had paid €1,000 (£873) for a berth to accommodate Overdraft for a month.

Lover tried to sail boat away day after her body found

The British businessman wanted for questioning over the murder of Kinga Legg tried to take his motor-boat from a River Thames marina 24 hours after her body was found.

Staff at the exclusive Shepperton Marina revealed that Ian Griffin became agitated when told repairs to his £25,000 18ft Sea Ray craft had not been finished.

But although he was unable to sail the vessel away, he picked up a pre-ordered marine satellite navigation system and paid £79.99 for a set of European sea charts.

Marina sales assistant Ruby Lewis, 19, who has met Mr Griffin twice before, said: ‘He arrived on Wednesday afternoon and seemed quite agitated when I told him the work hadn’t been completed. He didn’t lose his temper...although he was clearly disappointed.’

The boat, Madog, was being treated with anti-foul paint so it could be taken to sea as well as rivers. It was last night chained up at its £3,000-a-year moorings.

During the 20-minute meeting, Miss Lewis said that Mr Griffin asked if he could buy a small cabin cruiser but he later abandoned the idea, saying he did not have the time. The businessman is thought to have fled to Britain via the Channel Tunnel. His Porsche 911 was later found abandoned outside his parents’ house in Cheshire.
May 31st, 2009 11:05 PM
orangepeels Has fugitive tycoon suspected of battering girlfriend to death already escaped by speedboat?

By James Tozer, Nick Mcdermott and Emily Andrews

1st June 2009

The playboy businessman wanted over the murder of his lover in a Paris hotel may have fled overseas after buying a speedboat.

Party-loving Ian Griffin, 39, has been at the centre of an international manhunt since Polish millionairess Kinga Legg was found battered to death in the bathroom of their £1,000-a-night suite at the Hotel Bristol.

Within hours of the death, the former male model raced back to Britain where he ransacked their £3million home before dumping his Porsche and attempting to pick up his 18ft motor launch, Madog.

It was not seaworthy, however, so he picked up a marine satellite navigation system with charts for European waters and vanished again.

Griffin has not been seen since, and police suspect he may have got hold of a different vessel and, after evading an allports alert, is possibly heading for the Mediterranean where Miss Legg's £ 1.2million yacht Overdraft is moored.

Friends said Griffin suspected that his glamorous lover had been planning a new life without him in France. Griffin - who ended up bankrupt despite making millions through a chain of tanning salons - only enjoyed a jet-setting lifestyle thanks to his 36-year-old lover's fortune.

Miss Legg had applied for residency in France following the success of her business exporting tomatoes from Poland for Western European supermarkets. But Griffin feared he would be barred from settling there as he had previously been accused of fraud by the French authorities.

Friends said the couple - who had reportedly just become engaged - had a stormy relationship and said Miss Legg may have been killed after a fight 'got out of hand'.

They had been in Monte Carlo for last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix before she checked into the Hotel Bristol in Paris alone on Monday.

He joined her the next day and the couple drank large amounts of champagne before Griffin left in his Porsche 911, leaving a 'Do not disturb' sign on the door to their suite.

Several hours later a maid discovered Miss Legg's body. She had apparently been punched repeatedly and hit with a lampstand.

French police began a manhunt, but by then Griffin had returned to Britain via the Channel Tunnel, apparently heading first for the mansion the couple were renting in Oxshott, Surrey, which police later said had been ransacked.

Then on Wednesday afternoon he arrived by minicab at nearby Shepperton Marina where he attempted to collect Madog, his £25,000, 18ft motorboat, which had been due to be treated with anti-foul paint so it could be used at sea.

However, sales staff told him the work hadn't been done, at which he became 'agitated'.

After offering to buy a cabin cruiser, he instead picked up a marine satnav system which he had previously bought, also paying in cash for an £80 disc containing European charts.

Staff realised later Griffin was a fugitive and contacted police.

At some point he dumped his Porsche close to his parents' home 200 miles to the north near Warrington in Cheshire. They have been interviewed but insist they have not seen him.

The murdered woman's firm Vegex grew out of a farmers' co-operative in the village of Opotawek, near Kalisz. Her death has caused devastation in Poland. Her father, Jan Wolf, a former mayor, said: 'Our sorrow is overflowing. My daughter helped create many jobs here and people in the village perhaps do not realise how successful she was.'

In 1995 she met Lancashire council worker Peter Legg when he was sent on a towntwinning exchange. The then Kinga Wolf moved to Britain and the couple married.

He went on to become a £75,000-a-year executive but they drifted apart, and Miss Legg moved to Cheshire where she plunged into the social scene, quickly making an impression. Friend Rosemary Fadle said: 'We could see she was out to impress, but not in a pushy way.'

Three years ago she met Griffin, who had lived a colourful life and run a string of businesses. By 2006 he was declared bankrupt.

But with Miss Legg's money he had resumed his playboy ways, and the couple had leased a £1.2million yacht with a view to her buying it outright.

The 65ft, six-berth Overdraft was yesterday moored at Port Leucate in South-West France after sailing from Minorca and may have been Griffin's intended ultimate destination when he fled Paris.
June 2nd, 2009 12:16 AM
Shoella Police hunting fugitive playboy over millionairess' murder track suspect down to a tent

By James Tozer, Nick Mcdermott and Emily Andrews

02nd June 2009

The fugitive tycoon wanted over the murder of his millionaire girlfriend in a Paris hotel was arrested yesterday after being found sleeping rough in a tent in Cheshire.

Ian Griffin, 39, had spent nearly a week on the run and was tracked down in woodland less than two miles from the £3.9million country mansion where, until recently, he had enjoyed a playboy lifestyle.

He now faces being extradited to France over the murder of 36-year-old Polish-born businesswoman Kinga Legg, who was found battered to death in the bathroom of their hotel suite last Tuesday.

Ian Griffin in a picture he sent to former girlfriend Tracy Baker showing injury he claims was sustained when Kinga Legg hit him during a row. A 39-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the death of Kinga Legg

The former male model was arrested at 3.30pm in woods near Chelford, Macclesfield, less than 15 minutes from his parents' Cheshire home, close to which his Porsche was found abandoned last week.

The spot is also within walking distance of the £3.9million estate in Ollerton where Griffin was living when he met Miss Legg three years ago.

Cheshire police have not revealed how Griffin was traced, but there have been a number of reported sightings of him in the county, and he has also been trailed using credit card transactions.

Last night a spokesman for Cheshire Police said Griffin was arrested under Section 9 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 which covers any murder or manslaughter committed outside the UK.

He was being held at Middlewich police station.
Earlier Griffin had claimed that Miss Legg attacked him with a stun-gun disguised as lipstick. He has told friends he acted in self-defence on the night she died. He also admitted the couple had a 'massive fight'.

Griffin called ex-girlfriend Tracy Baker to tell his version of what had happened and yesterday Miss Baker released a photograph showing his face gashed after a previous bust-up - when he claimed Miss Legg had punched him, catching him with a ring.

Griffin gave an emotional account of his fight with Miss Legg in a telephone call to Miss Baker, 28.

'He sounded really upset and said she had attacked him with a stungun disguised as a lipstick which she'd bought earlier in the day in Paris,' she said. 'He said he had cuts all over his arms and bruises all over his legs.

'He was the target of a lot of violence from her,' added Miss Baker. 'She was very possessive - she tried to control him. I think, because I was still in the background, she was jealous.

'I don't know what happened in Paris but I know he is not a violent or an aggressive man.'

Miss Baker, a director of a financial services firm, lived with Griffin at a number of luxury properties including a £800,000 house in the exclusive Dorset millionaires' enclave of Sandbanks.

Around three years ago he began a relationship with Miss Legg, a fixture on the Cheshire social scene after making a fortune with her tomato-importing business, Vegex.

They rented a £3million mansion in Oxshott, Surrey, and had been planning to buy a £1.2million Mediterranean yacht called Overdraft.

But, while she wanted to marry him, his playboy ways led to tensions, and at one point she reportedly came at him with a knife after learning he had cheated on her with Miss Baker, according to friends.

'Every time he argued with Kinga he would run straight back into her arms,' said one. 'Ian was not known for his fidelity.'

Griffin sent her to The Priory to tackle her drug and alcohol problems, but the couple were both said to be dependent on anti-depressants.

'Kinga was a tough cookie,' said the friend. 'She also had a fierce temper after she a few drinks. She could be violent, and she was known to lash out at him.'

Last Monday Miss Legg checked in alone to a £1,000-a-night suite at the Hotel Bristol in Paris, joined the next day by Griffin.

By then she had apparently bought the lipstick stun-gun, and after drinking large amounts of champagne, they clashed again.

Griffin left soon afterwards in his Porsche. It was only hours later that a maid discovered her body.

He was already back in Britain, and after apparently picking up cash or jewellery from their Surrey home he tried to collect his speedboat, Madog, from nearby Shepperton Marina, only to find it wasn't seaworthy.

He later dumped his Porsche near his parents' Warrington home.

Born Kinga Wolf, the murdered businesswoman came to Britain in 1996 after meeting Lancashire council worker Peter Legg during a town-twinning exchange, later marrying him.

After they split up, Miss Legg dated two Cheshire millionaires before meeting Griffin.
June 6th, 2009 10:19 PM
SODDI Revealed: How the murdered millionairess Kinga Legg secretly married a year before she met the man suspected of her killing

By Martin Delgado

06th June 2009

For the wedding of a glamorous, millionairess socialite, it was a surprisingly modest affair, with just a select handful of close friends and family invited to an unassuming 14th Century wooden church deep in the Polish woods.

The bride and groom made an unlikely-looking couple – she was a tall, blonde and stunning Pole; he was a ‘rather ordinary’ British company director 28 years her senior.

But despite obvious differences, friends say they were perfect together.

However, little more than a year into their marriage, wealthy Kinga Legg left her husband for the younger, flasher, more suave British businessman Ian Griffin – the man now suspected of beating the 36-year-old to death in the £1,000-a-night Paris hotel where they had been staying.

Kinga was still legally married to Eric Kilby, the chief executive of Crown Wallpapers whom she wed in that 2006 ceremony, at the time of her death – but the fact has, until now, remained secret.

It was Mr Kilby whom French police called on the day of Kinga’s death, asking him to fly to Paris to identify his wife’s battered body.

He told friends the experience was ‘absolutely horrendous’, one of the darkest moments of his life.

In another dramatic development last night, a Polish newspaper reported that Kinga was the mother of an unnamed 18-month-old girl – although there was no indication who the father is. Kinga’s family did not deny the report, but refused to make any comment.

Friends have described how Mr Kilby, now 64, has been left shocked and devastated by Kinga’s death. He was said to have been besotted with the businesswoman and was crushed when she left him for Griffin.

Mr Kilby first met Kinga in about 2002, when they were both working for the tycoon Trevor Hemmings – whose interests include Blackpool Tower, Littlewoods Pools and CenterParcs. She was in the marketing department while he was a director of one of Hemmings’ finance companies, as well as running Crown Wallpapers.

He left his wife of 13 years, Rosemary, the mother of his two sons, to be with her, and the couple quickly established themselves on the moneyed Cheshire social circuit, attending black-tie parties together and living in a bijou apartment in a converted Victorian mansion in Wilmslow.

She became a co-director of two of Mr Kilby’s companies: an agricultural suppliers and a lettings firm, though neither was among Mr Kilby’s more profitable ventures.

He divorced Rosemary, his second wife, in August 2003, within days of Kinga’s divorce from her first husband Peter Legg, and three years later the couple married in the Polish forest.

Last week, the priest who conducted the ceremony confirmed that the wedding had taken place but refused to show The Mail on Sunday the parish register in which the exact date of the marriage would have been recorded, claiming it was a ‘private matter of no interest to outsiders’.

Although the ceremony was held in modest surroundings, the reception was a much more lavish affair, in a nearby mansion known locally as ‘the palace in the woods’.

Fallow deer roam in its 35 acres of parkland and the mansion, whose imposing white facade is protected by four stone lions, overlooks a magnificent lake.

Ewa Bakowska, a journalist on local newspaper 7 Days, said: ‘They made an unusual-looking couple. I saw them at a political fundraising ball just after they got married and it was obvious that he was completely besotted with her.

‘She looked stunning in a daring red dress. He was wearing a rather ordinary business suit and, to be honest, he looked old enough to be her father.’

But their affection seemed genuine. One friend said: ‘Kinga and Eric always appeared the perfect happy couple when they were together.

‘Their body language was very much that of devoted lovers and partners. Eric is not as tall as Kinga but she never made him feel small. He was proud to be a wealthy businessman with Kinga on his arm and, as a wealthy woman herself, they complemented each other and seemed perfect together.

‘Kinga had shown signs of erratic behaviour when drinking champagne with her previous boyfriend [Cheshire hairdressing and property tycoon Harry Gaynon] and we had all warned her about it. Then she seemed to get a grip and was perfectly well-behaved with Eric.

‘Eric lavished fine gifts and beautiful clothes on her. At a black-tie charity event she wore a Dolce & Gabbana outfit and was voted best-dressed that night. I believe Eric bought her that outfit.

‘They enjoyed the finest things in life together. She loved designer labels and fast cars and Eric gave her anything she wanted. They went to all the best restaurants and were seen at all the top 'Cheshire set' gatherings and parties.’

Mr Kilby was a key player in the business world and has been on the board of no fewer than 41 companies.
Kinga was made a director and shareholder of Mr Kilby’s agricultural services firm Greenlink in June 2008, but resigned in April this year.

She was also a director of his letting company Bollindene, which is des-cribed as ‘dormant’ on Companies House records, between January 2004 and February 2005, but she did not hold any shares in this venture.

‘They seemed set for life with each other,’ one friend said. ‘But two years ago, we were all shocked when Ian Griffin came on the scene. Eric was devastated. He was utterly devoted to her. It was just like a bolt from the blue. Everything changed.

‘We tried to tell Kinga that she should have stuck with Eric who was a perfect gentleman, great company to be with and loved her dearly – but she would have nothing of it. Poor Eric pleaded with her to stay with him but Kinga had done what she always did: target a wealthy man, love him for his money and then move on.’

Another friend of Mr Kilby said: ‘They appeared to be a couple very much in love with one another. But when Ian Griffin came along, Kinga changed. She knew exactly how to get what she wanted from a man. And that was his money.’

Other close friends told how Cardiff-born Mr Kilby was left a broken man when Kinga left him for Griffin, the 40-year-old entrepreneur who drove an orange Lamborghini he claimed was once owned by rock legend Eric Clapton.

Griffin called himself a viscount and claimed to be worth £46million – although ventures, including a spray-tan business and the GadgetMasters internet firm proved failures.

Mr Kilby’s friends said he was so distraught at the break-up that he dramatically lost weight with stress. ‘The weight just fell off him,’ one pal said. ‘We all just felt so sorry for him, He was a charming gentleman.’

Mr Kilby was said to have been reduced to staying in the luxury apartment they once shared, gazing wistfully at photos of himself with Kinga.

Another friend said: ‘He was just absolutely devastated and heartbroken. He couldn’t understand why she had ditched him. He told his friends he would give up absolutely everything for her and he admitted being besotted with her.’

Kinga grew rich by helping to transform the Polish tomato-growing business Vegex that her grand-father founded 50 years ago into an international exporter, supplying well-known chains including Tesco and McDonald’s.

Friends say she persuaded Mr Kilby to invest £1.5million in a Vegex canning operation.

After Kinga’s marriage to Mr Kilby, they built a large mansion in the forest outside the Polish village of Opatowek, where she grew up and where her father, Jan, a former mayor of Opatowek, and mother, Halina, still live in Kinga’s childhood home.

The parents’ home is an uncompromisingly utilitarian property built in Communist times to provide space for extended family with little regard for style or elegance, typical of the homes Polish farmers built in the Fifties and Sixties.

Kinga and Eric Kilby’s marital home is of more modern design and has the trappings of Poland’s new class of seriously wealthy entrepreneurs, including electronic security gates, CCTV cameras, a sweeping drive and spacious garage.

The couple are understood to have sold this property last year, and Kinga was planning an even more ambitious multi-million-pound development in isolated woodland nearby.

Last week, the site was guarded by men with dogs, and visitors were firmly discouraged from coming too close.

Kinga, described by contemporaries as ‘clever, determined and ambitious’, first visited Britain in 1992, just after the fall of communism. She was 19 and clearly attracted by the opportunities she witnessed.

After completing a course in international trade at the University of Central Lancashire, she started working for a British carpet manufacturer, becoming a senior sales representative in Eastern Europe, where her fluency in both Russian and English proved a valuable asset.
In 1995 she settled in Britain, marrying Peter Legg, a senior local government official in Preston, which is twinned with Opatowek.

The marriage lasted just two years, adding weight to local rumours that she may have, in part, seen Mr Legg as a way into the country.

With her family’s consent, Kinga took control of Vegex in 2003 and helped it expand. During the communist era, private businesses were allowed to operate only if they did not threaten the dominance of the state-owned enterprises; but the collapse of communism and Poland’s accession to the EU in 2004 allowed the firm to thrive – with Britain a key market.

Vegex sales manager Robert Fibingier explained: ‘The British have very specific demands. They want small tomatoes with a circumference of between 47mm and 67mm [around 2 to 21⁄2in]. In Poland, tomatoes of that size would be considered second-class, but, in Britain, they are the most sought-after type.’

Such is the importance of the tomato crop to the regional economy around Opatowek that Kinga came up with the idea of designating one Saturday each year as ‘Tomato Day’, celebrated with an open-air concert, presentations of prize-winning tom-atoes to civic dignitaries and a parade by children wearing ‘tomato’ necklaces fashioned out of strips of red paper.

Vegex is one of the area’s biggest employers, and Kinga’s family are extremely influential. Several people, including a priest, said they had been ‘instructed’ by the family not to talk to The Mail on Sunday, and our reporter who tried to visit the Vegex plant was immediately ordered off the premises by Kinga’s brother, Marek, who has taken over the running of the business.

But a local Catholic priest, Father Jacek Paczkowski, did speak fondly of Kinga.

He said: ‘Kinga used to come to church when she was over from England, so I saw her from time to time. It was always a pleasure to talk to her. She was charming and had a beautiful smile.

‘Her behaviour was impeccable. She never flaunted her wealth or talked about her business – not when she was mixing with other members of the congregation, anyway.

‘It was shocking to hear of her death and all the more so because of the way in which she was killed.’

As Griffin spends the weekend in custody, awaiting an extradition hearing later this week, Mr Kilby is understood to be staying with Kinga’s parents in Opatowek as they struggle to come to terms with their daughter’s death.

Her father Jan said: ‘It’s difficult at the moment for me to make any comment. The investigation is still going on and we are waiting for its conclusion. The firm will continue to function. All contracts will be honoured and our employees can rest assured that their jobs are safe.’

He added that his daughter’s death had left him ‘a broken man’.