A multi-millionaire property developer was killed on Sunday evening when he crashed his Pagani Zonda into a metal fence in Watford.

William Barranos, in his fifties, was pronounced dead at the scene, although a passenger in his twenties was unharmed. The crash happened in a 30 mph zone, but it seems safe to say the Pagani was not travelling at 30 mph. Local people say the doors of the car had been ripped off and the driver had been flung out of the car. No other car was involved in the crash.

It appears that no eye-witnesses saw the crash directly, but local people reported the sound of the car accelerating very hard and then a very loud bang at the point of impact. As the Pagani Zonda is made from carbon-fibre, and features an exceptionally strong bodyshell, the damage suggests a high-speed impact. Indeed in 2011 a German Pagani owner survived a crash on an Italian autostrada while allegedly driving at over 190 mph, thus inadvertently demonstrating the strength of the car.

The passenger in the car appears to have been a friend of the driver's son – whether the driver was showing off the performance of the Zonda is not clear. The passenger was wearing a seat belt but, as the driver was found a few yards from the wreckage, it appears Barranos was not.

According to the Daily Mail, the car had been seen the previous day driving along the same road at very high speed.