A historic north-east castle owned by a suspended Tory councillor has been repossessed.
Aberdeenshire councillor Sebastian Leslie’s home, Lickleyhead Castle, which is thought to have been built in 1560, has been repossessed – with the family ordered to leave the premises.
Mr Leslie, who sits as an Aligned Independent councillor, was suspended by the Scottish Conservative party until next year over unpaid council tax.
His daughter, Game of Thrones star Rose Leslie, lived at the castle, which is near Insch, as a child.
A decree for the repossession of the castle, which is also listed on rental site Airbnb where it is described as “quirky and fun”, was granted during a civil hearing at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday.
Court documents revealed the pursuer in the case, Together Commercial Finance Limited, asked the court to find Mr Leslie in default for failing to comply with calling-up notices – a legal document ending a mortgage agreement, requiring repayment of all of the outstanding loan.
The court was asked to rule that the firm has the right to enter into possession and sell Lickleyhead Castle, which has been a popular spot for weddings, as well as the Gardeners or Gamekeepers Cottage and land at Premnay, Insch.
The court was also asked to agree that Mr Leslie, his family and anyone else occupying the castle should leave it, and to allow officers of the court to eject the occupants and their goods.
The decree was granted by Sheriff Andrew Miller. Mr Leslie was not present for the hearing but submitted an email confirming there was no objection.
It comes after the councillor was also due to appear at the civil court last week for a time-to-pay hearing.
The West Garioch councillor was not present and Sheriff Morag McLaughlin granted a decree ordering him to pay £4,214.50 plus interest and expenses to a chartered surveyor.
Court documents prepared by John Fraser, the claimant, stated £500 had been paid towards the total bill of £4,714.50 for inspections carried out and reports prepared on Mr Leslie’s properties.
The property was put on the market in 2013 for £1.3 million.
At the time, selling agents said the Leslies lived in another nearby castle but used Lickleyhead for weddings and functions, and put the property on the market because it was “surplus to their requirements”.
It has passed through a succession of owners including Patrick Duff, the uncle of the Earl of Fife.
Former governor of Mexico City Don Guillermo de Landa y Escandon bought the property in 1922 for his daughter Maria Luz, who married into the Arbuthnot-Leslie family.
The court hearings follow Mr Leslie’s suspension by the Scottish Conservative party until next year, and it is understood his case will be reviewed in June 2019. Mr Leslie is understood to owe the local authority £2,500 in unpaid council taxes. Earlier this year, he said he was trying to highlight what he described as corruption in the Scottish banking system.
The Evening Express made repeated attempts to contact Mr Leslie for comment but received no response. A relative said it was believed he was in London.