FOLLOWING the shock news that the Molly’s Den chain of vintage emporia has gone bust, the Daily Echo can reveal that the brand’s former owner resigned as a company director on the same day he was found with a fatal, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

MD Emporium Ltd, the company which owns the Molly’s Den brand, had two directors, John East-Rigby and his wife, Cherry East-Rigby.

The Companies House website shows that Mr East-Rigby had resigned as a director of MD Emporium Ltd on May 8 2019, leaving his wife as the sole director.

On the same day Mr East-Rigby, 65, described as a “serial entrepreneur” in his LinkedIn profile, was found dead at his £1.3 million house at Mockbeggar near Ringwood on the edge of the New Forest.

An inquest opening in Winchester was told that consultant pathologist Dr Sanjay Jogai had conducted a post mortem and said cause of death was traumatic brain injury and a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The previous year a charge had been taken out on the business by the National Westminster Bank to ‘secure all the company’s liabilities to the bank’.

On Tuesday the workers at all three Molly’s Den branches in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Winchester were told they no longer had jobs when liquidators RSM Restructuring Advisory said it had been instructed to assist in placing M D Emporium into liquidation.

A buyer is being sought for the Molly’s Den brand but 26 people are understood to have lost their jobs.

A Bournemouth trader at Molly’s Den, who asked not to be named, said: “I got a phone call at 4.15pm saying what had happened so I contacted the manager later on and he said that the administrators or liquidators just went in and changed the locks on the doors and made them all redundant.”

He had just paid his share of a £525 a month stall fee and calculates that if he loses the money from sales already made, he will be more than £1,000 out of pocket. It is understood that most traders would have already paid their July rental fees upfront.

In an interview given after he and his wife took over Molly’s Den, Mr East-Rigby said: "I'm fit and healthy and feel it's my duty to be out and create wealth. The NHS, mending roads, education – that's not paid for by the government. It's paid for by taxes. I feel wealth generators don't always get the credit they deserve.

“For me, facing the challenges of business is a pleasure, and if it's something I can do, I feel I should.

"It's all about risk and assessing risk. Some things will succeed and some will fail. That's the nature of being an entrepreneur. That's what people don't recognise."

The full inquest into Mr East-Rigby's death will take place in September.