With its grand stucco-fronted Victorian villas and cherry tree-lined pavements, The Boltons in South Kensington has long been regarded as one of the most coveted — and expensive — addresses in the world.
While properties rarely come up for sale, an eight-bedroom house there recently sold for an eye-watering £40 million. Past residents of this exclusive London enclave include Madonna, Jeffrey Archer and, more than a century ago, the children’s author Beatrix Potter.
In the Fifties, actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr lived at No 28 where he entertained the Queen and Prince Philip to dinner.
Today’s residents are largely oligarchs and super-wealthy businessmen who, given the extortionate amount of cash they paid for their homes, might be forgiven for expecting to live in them quietly.
Mr Mackay (third from right in black) was hauled before City of London magistrates for breaching a noise abatement order after an all-night Halloween party at his £30 million home last year
Certainly, they appear to have taken a dim view of the extravagant parties organised by one of their number — flamboyant multi-millionaire and former barrister Giles Mackay.
This week the divorced 56-year-old father-of-three was hauled before City of London magistrates for breaching a noise abatement order after an all-night Halloween party at his £30 million home last year and slapped with a £7,500 on-the-spot fine. Property developer Mackay was accused of having a ‘total disregard for his neighbours’ when he held the party on October 28 and 29.
Officials from Kensington and Chelsea Council said it was one of a number of noise complaints. Police who went to his house at 4am found ‘loud, thumping bass music’ could be heard in the street.
In court, Mackay claimed the noise from his ‘well-organised’ party was ‘not more than 50 decibels’ and ‘the noise of people speaking was over any noise emanating from the house’, but, as a Mail investigation discovered this week, the parties he hosts alongside his on-off Russian girlfriend Khristina Sysoeva and another girlfriend, Dutch supermodel Yfke Sturm, have become legendary among the hundreds of young, rich and beautiful people who attend.
In fact, for a man the wrong side of 50, with a romantic life as messy as any of his morning-after clear-up operations, Giles Mackay seems to be revelling in a mid-life crisis like no other.
Many guests at the jaw-dropping events reveal their late-night antics on Instagram and YouTube, often tagging pictures with the hashtag ‘gilesparty’.
The parties Mr Mackay hosts alongside his on-off Russian girlfriend Khristina Sysoeva and another girlfriend, Dutch supermodel Yfke Sturm (pictured), have become legendary among the hundreds of young, rich and beautiful people who attend
The images reveal the kind of highly-technical extravaganzas one might expect in an Ibiza nightclub. They also give an extraordinary insight into Mackay’s complicated personal life, which has increasingly spilled into the public arena in the wake of his messy divorce from wife Caroline in 2015.
His DJ daughter Francesca Mackay, 20, was recently interviewed about the infamous Halloween parties at her home for a fashion website. Asked, ‘What’s the most outrageous thing that’s ever happened at the annual event?’ she described how one DJ ‘requested to sh*g his wife halfway through their performance’. She went on: ‘After 40 minutes in a bathroom guarded by a bouncer he emerged and continued his set.’
Goodness knows what Beatrix Potter, who once lived next door, would have made of such shenanigans. According to council records, there were a dozen complaints about noise from Mackay’s property starting in 2015, just days before he became a father for the third time. He was issued with a noise abatement order and invited to attend a meeting at the council — but didn’t show up.
On October 28 last year he threw a Nostradamus-themed ‘end of the world’ Halloween party. Expectations were high. Many guests had attended his 2016 ‘Hellfire Club’ event and parties in 2015 and 2014 and were wondering how on earth he was going to top them.
Their concerns were soon laid to rest. At the front of Mackay’s home, flame throwers spewed fire balls into the sky. Guests entered the property via a vast light tunnel. Inside, the mansion throbbed to house music emanating from the decks of professional DJs hired for the night. Dry ice and, now and then, bursts of confetti, filled the air.
The event was coordinated by high-end events company Hatch, run by Gabriella Reljanovic and Claire Dante. Set designers, pyrotechnicians, sound and lighting experts and security teams were brought in.
A mirrored photo booth was set up for guests to pose for pictures. The piece de la resistance was the temporary floor on top of Mackay’s basement pool where revellers in costumes costing thousands of pounds danced to throbbing music under a laser light show.
On Instagram, one guest described it as ‘that night when the music never ended’. Among dozens of similar posts, another wrote: ‘Always a good time at Giles’.’ Video clips show hundreds of people dancing.
Even the company brought in to clean up, posted before and after photos, writing: ‘We did it last year and we’re back for one final night of mayhem.’
For Mackay’s long-suffering neighbours, however, it wasn’t such a great night. Police were first summoned at 1am. In court this week, prosecutor Sophie Stannard said ‘they heard heavy bass music within their car, with the windows up and the engine running from 30 metres away’.
Neighbours complained the music was ‘intrusive and unreasonable with the windows and doors shut’. At 4am, it was said in court, ‘the party was ongoing and there was loud, thumping bass music’.
Unfortunately for Mackay, it wasn’t the first time one of his parties has incurred the wrath of his neighbours and brought him to the attention of environmental health officers.
He had already been issued with a noise abatement order in 2015, although representing himself in court this week he was adamant this order had been issued when he was in Italy and the party in question was nothing to do with him.
‘If I interrupted the quiet enjoyment of my neighbours, I’m sorry for that,’ he said.
Officials at Kensington and Chelsea Council, however, have described the noise problem as ‘systemic’. Keith Mehaffy, a manager in the council’s noise department says that ‘he clearly has a total disregard for his neighbours’.
And Councillor David Lindsay, who heads the council’s ‘healthy city living’ division, pointed out that Mackay had ignored several invitations to discuss the issue.
‘It is gratifying that court supported our view that he was behaving unreasonably and playing his music very loudly — his neighbours will no doubt be celebrating as well.’ Mackay’s appearance in court this week comes at the end of a turbulent few years.
On October 28 last year Mackay (pictured) threw a Nostradamus-themed ‘end of the world’ Halloween party – at the front of Mackay’s home, flame throwers spewed fire balls into the sky and guests entered the property via a vast light tunnel
He first made headlines in 2012 after falling out with the design team he hired to build his home on the site of a former Thirties telephone exchange in The Boltons. He went into business with two other developers and, after acquiring the site for £13million in 2001, accepted a tender from contractors Walter Lilly & Co to build three houses for £15.3 million.
But when the vast project was hit by delays, he fell out with the contractors. Their dispute ended up at the High Court where a judge described his behaviour as ‘combative, bullying and aggressive’ after it emerged Mackay had sent around 3,700 abusive emails to firms involved in the project.
In one, he wrote: ‘My middle name is “Relentless”. I have the money and anger at this point to push on and make sure that you have to deliver or get punished for not delivering. Never underestimate me.’
He went on: ‘Guess what, when I have forgotten about you in a year’s time, enjoying my £100million home or sailing on one of my 40-metre yachts, you’ll still be trying to wind up some other poor unsuspecting customer with your brand of mediocrity — a sad loser — gaining your kicks and being irritating.’ In other emails, he bragged: ‘Your little Victorian 1,800 sq ft cottage…can fit into my dining room’, and ‘nearest to a Ferrari you’ll ever get is a toy one…’
He described the wife of another business partner as ‘avaricious and jealous’ and ‘needing a ******* good slapping’.
If such behaviour suggests a man revelling in his millions, Mackay’s life wasn’t always like this.
Mr Mackay has an on-off relationship with Russian oligarch’s daughter Khristina, 37, who appeared on the 2013 U.S. reality TV show Meet The Russians
He was born in Carshalton, Surrey, into a successful middle-class family. His father was an industrial chemist who became a management consultant, but his upbringing was still a world away from the moneyed milieu he now inhabits. The family moved to Alderley Edge in Cheshire where he was privately educated at The Ryleys School.
He qualified as a barrister in 1984 but never practised. He made his fortune in property, starting out as an estate agent.
In 1999, he founded Hometrack, a data company tracking property trends in the UK, Europe, Australia and Asia. At the beginning of 2017, he sold it to online property sales website Zoopla for £120 million.
According to a source: ‘He aspires to be even richer than he is. I think the money went to his head.’
The house in The Boltons was meant to be a dream home for Mackay and his then wife Caroline, a former solicitor, and their two children. As well as Francesca, who says she ‘grew up around music and parties’ and was inspired to be a DJ by her father, the Mackays have a son, now 17.
Money was clearly no object for the family’s building project. As well as the basement pool, the home includes a cinema, wine cellar, gymnasium, staff quarters and a state-of-the-art ‘light wall’.
During the £6million court case it emerged that stitching on the library’s leather shelves alone was likely to top £41,000. But the Mackays were unhappy with much of the work. They complained that the ‘American Black Walnut’ for the floors was too orange. There were no ballet bars in the gym. The finish in the children’s bathroom was ‘a disgrace’. Despite such claims Mr Justice Akenhead ruled in favour of Walter Lilly and said it was owed more than £2.3 million.
Sadly, the Mackays’ marriage appears to have fallen apart soon after and their divorce wranglings saw Mackay back in court in October 2015.
This time Caroline claimed her ex-husband had failed to be candid about his assets before the divorce and hadn’t given her enough of his fortune and, after a previous landmark ruling, the Supreme Court agreed to take a fresh look at the case.
The cause of the Mackays’ marriage break-up has never been made public, but three months before the Supreme Court decision, Mackay became a father for the third time after his model lover, Yfke, 36, gave birth to a son.
She appeared beside Mackay at last year’s Nostradamus party in a bathing costume-style outfit, covered in white studs, and an elaborate golden headpiece.
More curious, perhaps, is Mackay’s on-off relationship with Russian oligarch’s daughter Khristina, 37, who appeared on the 2013 U.S. reality TV show Meet The Russians.
Sysoeva (pictured with Mackay), who was privately educated at Repton boarding school in Derbyshire and whose father is believed to have worked for Russian company Lukoil, regularly brags about her lifestyle
In an interview at the time, Sysoeva bragged about her wealth and said she didn’t feel guilty other people ‘don’t have furs or diamonds’. She didn’t identify her partner but said: ‘My man loves me. I like being thin, long-haired, beautiful, crazy for him. I like being his muse. I don’t need to work, to live and work and for him not to see me. It won’t happen.
‘I’m happy, well-groomed, with diamonds, sitting at home. If I want Chanel, he’ll buy it for me.’ Sysoeva, who was privately educated at Repton boarding school in Derbyshire and whose father is believed to have worked for Russian company Lukoil, regularly brags about her lifestyle, posting pictures on Instagram of her holidays in The Maldives and French ski resort Courcheval.
She has two children but denies they are Mackay’s, though she has given her son his first name. In 2014, Mackay spent £5.8 million on a house in Fulham, South-West London where Sysoeva was subsequently registered as living. She now lives in Windsor.
Earlier this year, Mackay was in court again — this time as a victim after he was slapped by another wealthy businessman at bar-restaurant-club MNKY HSE in Mayfair. Simon Lyons, 38, who is chief executive of Enstar Capital, said he acted in self-defence after Mackay racially abused him.
At City of London magistrates court he also claimed he was scared of losing custody of his child after his ex-wife began a relationship with Mackay. In September he was found guilty of common assault and given a one-year restraining order.
Given the tumultuous events of the past few years, Mackay could be forgiven for wanting a bit of peace and quiet, but an appeal hearing is believed to have been scheduled for next year.
For the time being, however, life in The Boltons appears peaceful again. There was no Halloween party this year and attention has turned to Christmas. Houses are bedecked with fairy lights. As is fitting at this time of year, all is calm. All is quiet.
No doubt they are praying it lasts.