- Zac Brettler, 19, plummeted from a luxury Thames-side apartment in 2019
The Met Police is coming under intense pressure over its ‘failures’ when probing the death of a oligarch-obsessed teen who plunged to his death from a Thames tower block.
Zac Brettler, 19, plummeted from a luxury Thames-side apartment development in 2019 and died of ‘drowning and multiple injuries’. His fall was captured on the MI6 building’s CCTV across the river.
Scotland Yard detectives believed Zac had committed suicide and reportedly only visited the apartment four days after his death.
But they have been heavily criticised by Zac’s 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 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’.
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.
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.
Zac had spent his final evening with two friends – gangster ‘Dave’ Sharma, 55, and the son of a Tory donor and cryptocurrency trader Akbar Shamji, 52, both of whom he was in a financial dispute with.
They 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.
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?’
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.
Two days before he died, Zac told a friend that someone had threatened his family and searched for information about witness protection on the same day, the newspaper reported.
He got to know Sharma after they agreed to become prospective business partners.
Sharma and Shamji exchanged text messages on the day of Zac’s death in which they said the dispute would be sorted ‘one way or another’. At 4.30pm Sharma sent a note menacingly declaring: ‘He’s not allowed to run away now.’
At 10.30pm, six hours later, Sharma messaged a friend saying he had been ‘heating up knives and cleaning the blood’, before adding in a voice note: ‘Come to f***ing Pimlico and pick up this f***king car and drop me home, bro.
‘I don’t wanna drive right now. And give me the f***ing pill when you get here man, s**t’s about to go wrong. Wrong!’
Sharma, also known as Indian Dave, had previously been arrested in 2002 for a heroin smuggling operation. A year later he was linked to a consequent gangland murder when his friends shot dead man they thought was an informant and believed was trying to kill Sharma.
He later fled to France, escaping a manhunt led by European-wide police network Europol.
When Sharma returned to London some years later he was never arrested, with Zac’s father questioning whether it was because he had now become an informant.
A Met Police spokesperson previously 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.’