On bail, twice-mar­ried hote­lier who quit mo­tor rac­ing af­ter fa­tal smash

Daily Mail - - News - By Eleanor Hay­ward and Neil Sears

BORN the son of a coal miner in Rother­ham, David Matthews man­aged to amass a re­puted £40mil­lion.

He also gained the ti­tle Laird of Glen Af­fric, while his chil­dren have mil­lions of pounds of their own.

His fa­ther started him on the road to bet­ter things by leav­ing min­ing and set­ting up a garage near the York­shire town. Matthews started work­ing as an ap­pren­tice me­chanic. He soon found how­ever that he was bet­ter at sell­ing cars, through gru­elling door-todoor rounds.

He did try his hand at mo­tor rac­ing, and was seen as promis­ing un­til he was in a se­ri­ous crash at Sil­ver­stone. It left another driver dead, and Matthews with an eye in­jury that ended his rac­ing ca­reer.

In­stead, he con­cen­trated on build­ing his own sec­ond-hand car em­pire, with mo­tor deal­er­ships and in­ter­ests in lux­ury coach-mak­ing.

His first mar­riage was to Anita Tay­lor, her­self a rac­ing driver. They had a daugh­ter, Nina, but later di­vorced. By the Nineties, Matthews had made enough to start se­ri­ous prop­erty de­vel­op­ment.

He mar­ried for a sec­ond time to Bo­hemian artist Jane Parker, now 70, daugh­ter of an ar­chi­tect in what was then called Rhode­sia. She had been car­nival queen at Rhodes Univer­sity in the African coun­try, now Zim­babwe, and af­ter grad­u­at­ing with a fine art de­gree won a schol­ar­ship to study in the Nether­lands. Af­ter stop­ping off in Lon­don on her way there, she never left.

She was work­ing as a re­cep­tion­ist at Chris­tian Dior when Matthews saw a pic­ture of her, and was so taken that he tracked her down and mar­ried her.

That mar­riage, in con­trast to Pippa’s glit­tery wel­come to the fam­ily last year, was a sim­ple af­fair in Rother­ham reg­is­ter of­fice. Matthews had one glass of cham­pagne and went back to work. Af­ter liv­ing in a Rother­ham bun­ga­low, the cou­ple moved to Paris, then to tax-haven Monaco.

On hol­i­day in 1995 they loved the faded glam­our of the Eden Rock ho­tel on the Caribbean isle of St Barts so much that they bought it. They moved to the French- speak­ing is­land and set about restor­ing the ho­tel, which now charges many thou­sands a night to celebrity guests in­clud­ing Brad Pitt, El­ton John and Bey­once.

Matthews said creat­ing the ho­tel made him feel ‘truly alive in a way that I didn’t back home’. He added: ‘Per­haps life there was too com­fort­able, too pro­vin­cial.’

He is nick­named The Band by his chil­dren, in ref­er­ence to The Dave Matthews Band, and also owns a 10,000-acre Scot­tish es­tate, Glen Af­fric, which boasts a trout-stuffed loch and a Vic­to­rian hunt­ing lodge. He and Miss Parker had three sons. James and Michael were born within 18 months of each other – but there was a 13-year gap be­fore the youngest, Spencer, came along. James, now 42, went to Up­ping­ham pub­lic school but not to univer­sity.

He raced, like his fa­ther, win­ning the 1994 British Re­nault cham­pi­onship, then started mak­ing money in the City, first as a de­riv­a­tives trader where his desk ad­joined his brother Michael’s. Michael be­came the youngest Bri­ton to con­quer Mount Ever­est at 22 in 1999 – but never re­turned from the sum­mit. He is pre­sumed to have died there.

Two years af­ter his brother’s death James set up Eden Rock Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, which gen­er­ated enough profit for him to buy a Chelsea house for £17mil­lion to share with Pippa Mid­dle­ton.

Spencer, 28, went into night­club pro­mo­tion be­fore find­ing he was a nat­u­ral on the re­al­ity TV show Made in Chelsea. He has be­come no­to­ri­ous for his hard par­ty­ing, and has boasted of six-in-a-bed sex, along­side talk of co­caine use.

Kens­ing­ton Palace de­clined to com­ment last night.

Trop­i­cal: Matthews bought Eden Rock ho­tel af­ter 1995 visit HIS CARIBBEAN PAR­ADISE

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