Tributes flood in for hanged director

TRIBUTES were today paid to a “highly respected and regarded” company director, who was found hanging at his home near Woodbridge.

Colin Adwent

TRIBUTES were today paid to a “highly respected and regarded” company director, who was found hanging at his home near Woodbridge.

Neil Baker, of Primedale in Neale Street, Ipswich, was discovered on Sunday afternoon at his house in Grundisburgh Road, Clopton.

John Purcell, group chairman of Primedale, said: “Neil had for 30 years been a valued director of several companies within our group covering Property Development, Insurance, Financial Services and Estate Agency.

“His prime role of late was as head of Property Development and far from suffering in the current economic downturn he had seen it as an opportunity and was engaged in expanding the property portfolio.

“He was in his element when times were tough, having traded through the last recession he felt well qualified, confident and upbeat about the opportunities afforded.

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“I could not have wished for a more able business partner. What he could not cope with, however, were the issues in his personal life and over the weekend, sadly, he must have reached a very dark place.

“His fellow directors had discussed with him the possibility of this occurrence and he had assured us that he would not do anything rash, but as I say where he found himself must have been beyond reason.

“We are all devastated by the events that have occurred and have been inundated by calls from friends and business colleagues who are equally shocked and sad. He was very highly regarded and respected.”

The tragedy is now being investigated by the coroner's office in Ipswich, although police have said Mr Baker's death was not suspicious.

- We have been asked to point out that in relation to last night's Evening Star article, Mr Baker has not been involved in day-to-day estate agency for many years and never worked with Carl Simpson at Carter Sadler Ltd. That company was in fact purchased by Orwell Insurance Ltd, which Mr Baker was a director of at the time of his death.

Mr Baker was director of:

- Crown Developments (Ipswich) Ltd.

- Oncover2day Ltd.

- Orwell Insurance Ltd.

- PFS (Suffolk) Ltd.

- Primedale Residential Ltd.

- Nema Properties Ltd.

ONE of Ipswich's top businessmen also spoke of his extreme sadness over the death of Mr Baker.

Graeme Kalbraier, managing director of Call Connection in Cromwell House, said: “I have known Neil Baker for over 25 years both in business and as a personal friend.

“In life, you meet a lot of people, some merely passing acquaintances and some you become much closer to. I was very lucky to meet Neil in my early business life and over 25 years I am proud to have been his friend.

“Neil was a complex character and all those who know him would know that he had many sides to his personality. He worked hard and took his responsibilities very seriously.

“Over 25 years in business Neil was one of the very few people I could totally trust, as a person who would always do what he said he would do. Sometimes we argued about various bits of business but we always came to a perfectly amicable and proper business decision in the end.

“Neil was a character who influenced and affected many people's lives. He helped me in my early days in business life and for that, I will always be eternally grateful.

Neil was a man who I know always had time for me. He was the sort of guy that if you rang him up and wanted a chat, he would give you the time you needed.

“I had lunch every year with him and his partners John and Steve at Christmas, we always joked about who would be the first to miss the lunch.

“Later this year John, Steve and myself will go out to lunch and drink a toast to Neil Baker, a man we will miss very much and admired greatly. It is impossible to say how much I thought about Neil as a man who I am very pleased to say I could count as one of my friends.

“To all Neil's friends and family, I want you to know that Neil Baker was a very special man in my life and I will always respect him and I will think of him with very the fondest of memories for ever.”

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