Two charged with lecturer murder

26th August 2005 at 01:00
Two men have been charged with the murder of a lecturer who confronted intruders at a secluded adult education college.

Lawrence Hart, 53, went with the caretaker to investigate a disturbance in the car park of Hawkwood residential college in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

He allegedly suffered a blow to the back of the head during a confrontation with intruders and died of a brain haemorrhage.

The caretaker, 52, was also badly injured and taken to Gloucestershire Royal Infirmary, where he is said to be recovering.

Mr Hart lived in a flat on the college site, worked as an occasional duty manager and taught meditation classes twice a week.

Housed in a 19th-century mansion among 42 acres of woods, fields and gardens, Hawkwood college offers residential courses in art, crafts, music and personal development.

According to a local newspaper, a female employee at the college said staff had previously expressed concerns about security in the college's extensive grounds.

Jan Hart, brother of the dead man and a cartoonist for FE Focus, said Mr Hart had had a lifelong interest in meditation.

"He was a quiet, reflective, calm person and just walked into this, investigating a disturbance," he said. "He's the kind of guy who would have been firm but he would be looking for a way to calm down the situation."

As well as teaching at the college, Mr Hart worked in graphic design and construction. Music, particularly the baroque period, was his other main interest.

"He was just so passionate about growing and learning," said his brother.

"He was open to new possibilities and he inspired a lot of people because of that. He was also someone a lot of people relied on for all kinds of things."

Mr Hart leaves two children.

A community meditation centre he helped to build at the college might now be named after him.

Friends and colleagues paid tribute to Mr Hart's kindness and contribution to college life.

Richard Brinton, the college principal, said: "Lawrence had a very gentle and unassuming manner. He was cheerful and helpful in everything he did. He will be greatly missed at Hawkwood."

A friend, Ailsa Raisin-Shaw, added: "He was the gentlest man I ever met, very thoughtful and humble, full of goodwill."

Police have also recovered a green Rover 214 that they believe was connected to the incident.

Darren Botchett, 33, of Matson Avenue, Gloucester, and Ian Richards, 29, of Jersey Road, Gloucester, appeared before Cheltenham magistrates on Wednesday accused of the murder of Lawrence Hart on August 18. They were remanded in custody to appear at Bristol Crown Court on August 30.

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