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Co Tipp hideaway of the late JP Getty fails to sell for €5m

THE €5m Irish home where tragic oil heir John Paul Getty III spent his summers has failed to find a buyer, though it has been on the market for over five months.

Mr Getty, who died recently in England at the age of 54, came to international prominence in 1973 when, aged just 16, he was kidnapped in Rome by a Mafia gang. It was only after the gang cut off Getty's right ear and sent it to an Italian newspaper that his billionaire grandfather agreed to pay up. Though Getty was released, he continued to suffer with severe trauma because of his ordeal.

In 1998, Getty bought Gurtalougha House on the shores of Lough Derg near Ballinderry, Co Tipperary, as a "hideaway" for himself and his mother, socialite Gail Getty.

By then Mr Getty was near blind and unable to walk or speak, except for a high-pitched squeak, as a result of a stroke brought on by his chronic drug addiction.

The house and estate, which was bought for €1.27m, has been on sale since September 2010 for €5.2m.

Locals say that Mr Getty and his mother were regular visitors to the Tipperary retreat which had previously operated as a hotel.

Around the time of purchase, he and other members of the extended Getty family received Irish passports under the 'passports for investment scheme' which allowed foreigners who invested more than €1m in an Irish business to qualify for a passport.

The controversial scheme was abolished when it was revealed that Charlie Haughey had personally presented a number of passports to a rich Arab family at a dinner in the Shelbourne Hotel.

Mr Getty and his mother refurbished the 12-bedroom house and grounds extensively, restoring them to their former grandeur. The house is now on offer to a wealthy buyer offering "privacy, spectacular views, woodland walks, magnificent walled garden with guest cottage and extensive lake frontage with private harbour".

John Paul Getty III was the grandson of billionaire oil tycoon John Paul Getty. who amassed a fortune from oil wells and American railroads in the late 19th century.

Mr Getty is survived by his son, the actor Balthazar Getty.

Sunday Independent