British Family Blames Madoff for Suicide

In London, Willard Foxton shows an old military photo of his father, William. The family said the father killed himself after losing his savings in the Bernard Madoff investment scandal.
In London, Willard Foxton shows an old military photo of his father, William. The family said the father killed himself after losing his savings in the Bernard Madoff investment scandal. (By Alastair Grant -- Associated Press)
By Mary Jordan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, February 15, 2009

LONDON, Feb. 14 -- A former British soldier killed himself after losing his life savings in Wall Street financier Bernard L. Madoff's alleged $50 billion fraud scheme, according to the man's family.

William Foxton, 65, a decorated soldier who lost an arm during his military service and worked on United Nations humanitarian missions, died from a single bullet wound to the head Tuesday in the southern English city of Southampton, police said. He apparently walked to a park near his home, sat on a bench and fired the fatal shot.

Foxton's son Willard told reporters that his father recently discovered that his life's savings, estimated at more than $1 million, which he invested in two hedge funds, had then been poured into Madoff's fund.

"We were looking forward to him spending a long and happy retirement with us, but unfortunately very recently . . . I got in contact with him to ask him some ordinary family stuff, and halfway through the conversation he said: 'Look, I'm really sorry, I can't concentrate. I'm afraid I've lost everything. I've lost all the money. I might have to declare myself bankrupt,' " Willard Foxton told Sky News.

Foxton had recently returned from Afghanistan, where he was working as a defense contractor, when he learned that his savings had been tied up with Madoff. The disgraced money manager has been under house arrest in New York since December, accused of running a massive global Ponzi scheme.

"I want Madoff and others involved to know that they have my father's blood on their hands," Willard Foxton was quoted as saying. "I'm very angry. My first thought was to show up at Madoff's trial in New York and throw my father's medals in his face."

A neighbor said in a phone interview Saturday that Foxton's wife and friends were devastated. Foxton had worked in Kosovo and done many good works, said the neighbor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Such a waste. He was a wonderful man. We can't believe it."

Foxton had once saved a child in a minefield in the former Yugoslavia and had been decorated by Queen Elizabeth II, according to news reports confirmed by the neighbor.


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