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UK Developer Dies In Dubai

Inspired's Martin Skinner

A real estate developer who was imprisoned after crashing his car while under the influence of cocaine and seriously injuring his passenger was found dead in a hotel room in Dubai this week. 

The body of Martin Skinner, 43, was found by hotel staff following a heart attack, and his death was confirmed by his girlfriend, the Daily Mail reported. React News first reported the news of Skinner’s death. 

Skinner had recently posted on social media about travelling to Turkey and Dubai looking to invest in property and tech ventures. 

Skinner was jailed for five months in September 2019 after a serious car crash the previous August. He crashed his red Porsche 911 GT into a tree at high speed while under the influence of cocaine.

Worthing Magistrate’s Court heard that he crashed at such high speed the engine flew out of the car, according to multiple media reports of the case. His passenger, a 30-year-old woman, had asked him to slow down in the rainy conditions and was left with brain injuries that put her in an induced coma.

Just before his guilty plea, his company, Inspired Asset Management, was put into administration after it was unable to repay loans that had come due. The company specialised in micro-flat developments, with some units sold and some rented out. Many of its schemes were conversions of former office blocks, and it was working on developments with a potential end value of more than £200M. 

Most of its schemes were in London and the south east of England, but it also had projects in Manchester and Wolverhampton.

The company brought in different investors and lenders on different projects. The equity for schemes was often provided to Inspired in the form of bonds on which it was supposed to pay interest as apartments were sold or rented, with returns of 12% to 14% promised, according to a report from administrators at MHA MacIntyre Hudson in the months following its collapse.

The company was heading for administration before Skinner’s jailing, the administrators said. Inspired’s completed projects did not generate the profits the company had anticipated, which affected its ability to pay interest to investors and salaries to its staff.

In the most recent report by the administrators, they flagged an ongoing investigation into the company’s financial affairs. The administrators said factors being examined included large, round, frequent payments to contractors on special purpose vehicles, and the repayment of bonds and loans and their timing in relation to the onset of the administration.