These are the final hours of an oligarch-obsessed teenager who plunged to his death from a luxury tower block after spending a night with a gangster and a millionaire crypto businessman – as the Met comes under renewed pressure to solve the mystery.
Zac Brettler, 19, plummeted from the 5th floor apartment in the Riverwalk complex on Millbank at 2.24am on Friday, November 29 – with his fall caught on CCTV from the MI6 headquarters opposite.
The public schoolboy had arrived at the flat at around 4pm the day before with businessman and Tory donor’s son Akbar Shamji, 52. They then spent several hours inside the property with its owner, gangster ‘Dave’ Sharma, 55.
What happened next is unclear, but at 10.35pm, Shamji messaged a friend saying ‘I have just been heating up knives and clearing up blood’ before warning them ‘s*** is about to go wrong’.
At 1.45am, Shamji left Zac in the flat alone with Sharma. At 2.12am, the gangster phoned Shamji for nine minutes, leading to him turning his car around and going back to Riverwalk. He returned at 2.34am, around 10 minutes after Zac fell.
At just before 3am, CCTV footage showed Shamji going downstairs and peering into the river.
Zac Brettler, 19, plummeted from a luxury Thames-side apartment development in 2019 and died of ‘drowning and multiple injuries’
Scotland Yard detectives believed Zac took his own life and reportedly only visited the apartment four days after his death.
But they have been heavily criticised by his grieving parents for missing crucial evidence with questions remaining as to why they decided not to forensically test smears resembling blood on the walls in the bathroom and bedroom.
A ‘couple of metres of glass’ had also being wiped clean on the balcony where Zac is believed to have jumped. But again this area was never tested.
The teenager was eventually found at the base of the tower block with a broken jaw – the cause of which could not be determined – and injuries to his hip, which smashed into the embankment wall, according to The Times.
His parents – Rochelle and Matthew Brettler, both 61 – have always thought their son was trying to escape from what was inside the room and have accused detectives of showing ‘no curiosity’.
The youngster had become enamoured with wealth during his time at Mill Hill School in north London, an exclusive £30,000-a-year boarding school where many pupils were the children of Russian oligarchs.
In order to play up his connections, he had adopted multiple different alter egos, including that of a Kazakh man, a friend of Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk and the son of a dead Russian oligarch.
The teen’s heartbroken parents deny that he was suicidal – saying he emailed his mother on the night he died about booking a driving test and his overnight bag contained enough clothes to last several days.
‘I knew Zac and it just wasn’t right,’ his father told The Sunday Times.
‘The overnight bag he’d taken, the messages he’d sent, the plans we’d made. It didn’t sit well with anybody, not out of any stigma issue, but it didn’t. Also, who commits suicide in front of someone else?’
Sharma and Shamji were both arrested on suspicion of murder but neither were ever charged.
Sharma later died in 2020 in the same flat from an apparent drug overdose.
A blood-like stain found in a bedroom of the property during a forensic search. Like another stain, it was never tested (Photo obtained by The Sunday Times)
His grieving parents – Rochelle and Matthew Brettler, both 61 – have always thought their son was trying to escape from what was inside the room and have accused detectives of showing ‘no curiosity’
Prior to his death, Zac was calling himself Zac Ismailov.
He told new friends that he had recently inherited his late father’s fortune but he was being blocked from accessing it by his mother, who lived in Dubai.
He got to know the Shamji after they agreed to become prospective business partners.
The businessman then put Zac in touch with Sharma, who lived alone in an apartment at the Riverwalk development, in the hope he could give the teenager a home while he resolved his ‘inheritance dispute.
Messages in the run up to Zac’s death showed Sharma was getting more and more interested in the teenager’s wealth, writing on the morning of the tragedy: ‘I’m thinking f*** this little kid.’
The teenager had become enamoured with wealth during his time at Mill Hill School in north London , an exclusive £30,000-a-year boarding school where many pupils were the children of Russian oligarchs
Zac’s fall was captured on the MI6 building’s CCTV across the river (seen here bottom right). Pictured main in this picture is the building he jumped from
Poplar coroner’s court held an inquest into Zac’s death and recorded an open verdict in 2022.
A Met Police spokesperson said: ‘Our sincere condolences remain with Zac Brettler’s family, and we understand the uncertainty about how their son died must continue to be the cause of unimaginable pain.
‘Whenever someone dies unexpectedly in London, we have established policing protocols to follow, and the investigation into Zac’s death was led by an experienced detective.
‘The team worked hard to explore every possible hypothesis, which were shared with Zac’s family, but ultimately we were not able to provide fuller answers.
‘The case was also reviewed by specialist homicide detectives to ensure every line of enquiry had been exhausted.
‘As with any case, we would always encourage anyone who they believes they have additional information or evidence to contact police. Any new information will be examined on its own merit by a team led by experienced detectives.’
This image shows the Riverwalk development on the left and the MI6 building on the other side of the river