The 72-year-old British expat shot outside his country home in France this week was allegedly killed by his 84-year-old neighbour in a row over cows and farm machinery.
The neighbour, an 85-year-old farmer named locally as Jean Moreau, has been charged with murder after he and his son Pascal were detained following the death on Tuesday of David Daniels, who had lived in the village of Edon in the Charente department of southwest France for 25 years.
Pascal, 48, who lived with his father, was freed on Thursday without charge. Another son, Roland, told local media that the row between the two men had centred on the way his father ran the farm, part of Mr Daniels’s 300-acre estate, that he rented from his neighbour.
Mr Daniels kept his own property immaculately tidy, and did not like the fact that there were cows and farm machinery on Mr Moreau’s fields that spoiled his view, he said.
“Mr Daniels was someone who was very ordered, very clean, and my father, as a farmer, had animals, and he couldn’t keep the farm like Mr Daniels would have wished,” he told Charente Libre newspaper.
“There was silage, straw, manure, tractors moving about, there was the noise of the animals. But you can’t prevent that in the country,” he said.
He said his father had the right to work his farm as he saw fit but that he regularly got complaints from his landlord neighbour.
“It was not my father who sought confrontation. It was always Mr Daniels,” he said.
Mr Daniels, a retired businessman from London, who made his fortune selling kitchenware to restaurants around the world, was taking the rubbish out when he was shot in the chest outside his farm on Tuesday.
His wife Gay, 77, reportedly drove him to a doctor’s surgery in the nearby village of Dignac, but by the time they arrived he was dead.
Police later recovered a hunting rifle from the home of Mr Moreau.
Mr Daniels had owned a stone cottage in Edon since 1997. He divided his time between France and Britain until his retirement three years ago, when he moved to the village full time, although he also maintained a flat in London.
“Mr Daniels was well known, respected and very well liked in the village,” Patrice Petit, the mayor of Edon, told the Daily Telegraph.
“This is an absolute catastrophe for all of us here. We’ve got only 260 inhabitants and Mr Daniels took part in all our community activities. Everyone here is in a state of shock. Mr Daniels was vice-president of the Society for the Protection of the Heritage of Edon, and he was always friendly, always helpful,” he said.