Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Queen's University academic behind hate campaign 'made up sick son to get shorter sentence'

Dr Patrick Martens has been sent back to jail
Dr Patrick Martens has been sent back to jail
Queen's University Belfast

A former Queen's University academic jailed for waging a hate campaign against a senior colleague has been accused of lying about having a critically ill child in a bid to get a leaner sentence.

Dr Patrick Martens (35) was sentenced to five months in prison for telling his victim he intended to "slaughter" both him and his family during the sadistic vendetta.

Martens had threatened to kill the couple in a six-month hate campaign from August 2011 to January 2012, during which he engaged in more than 500 explicit telephone calls, emails and letters, although he often used different names in a bid to hide his own identity.

The psychology research fellow pleaded guilty at Craigavon Crown Court in October to seven counts of making threats to kill and two charges of harassment, and was subsequently jailed for five months.

Prior to sentencing, his defence lawyer pleaded with Judge Patrick Lynch to allow Martens to return to his native Germany to see his seriously ill son.

That request was granted, to the despair of his victims, with Martens' sentencing put back to a later date in November.

Martens also presented character references, said to have been written by experts in his homeland claiming he had made significant progress having fully conformed with extensive treatment programmes.

However, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal detectives believe he fabricated the story about a sick son in an attempt to evade prison.

They believe he has no children and will fly to Martens' homeland in the coming weeks to liaise with police there.

The court was also previously told he had been receiving extensive psychiatric treatment in Germany with assessments deeming him as no longer posing a threat to others.

The letters, presented to the judge, said he spent eight months as an in-patient at a German hospital.

Martens was said to be perceived by his doctors as having made significant improvements since undergoing treatment.

But that correspondence too is now believed to have been falsified, with Martens accused of having written the letters himself. Sources told this newspaper that Martens, who is still in custody, will be charged with five counts of perverting the course of justice later this week.

His furious legal team are said to have parted ways with Martens having been told of the fresh probe. His victims were a well-respected senior academic and his wife.

They previously told this newspaper of the "horrendous" abuse they received which resulted in the academic taking early retirement from Queen's.

The court was told that in some of the correspondence, he used graphic and threatening language against the academic and his family. A prosecutor also revealed that, ironically, Martens' victim also acted as a harassment officer at the university, tasked with investigating any such reports made by staff or students.

Handing down a five-month prison sentence to Martens in November, Judge Patrick Lynch told him: "I have taken into account reports presented to this court on your behalf and the issue relating to your son. At the same time, I have to take into account the gravity and the nature of these offences," he said.

"It is inevitable that there has to be a custodial sentence taking all matters into account."

The judge sentenced Martens to 12 months concurrent in prison on all nine charges, with five to be spent in custody and the remaining seven on licence following his release.

Martens arrived at Queen's having been disciplined in relation to harassing others at his previous university in England in 2008, the court was told.

It was claimed that while at the English university, Martens had threatened a number of females, for which he also received a police caution. The court heard Queen's University had concerns when Martens arrived regarding how he would conduct himself given his background in England.

A short time after arriving in Belfast a complaint was lodged with Queen's by a women who claimed to have been harassed.

It was while investigating this complaint that the academic first came in contact with him.

"Following on from that set of circumstances arising, the defendant then indulged in a campaign of threats," a prosecutor had told the court.

These included telephone calls to his home, emails and letters, many containing threats to kill.

Showing one such email to Judge Lynch, the lawyer said: "You can see the graphic description of the allegation of what was going to be done", and that the the nature of the correspondence was both "offensive and frightening".

Another email was entitled: 'I'm going to slaughter you'.

At the hearing, Martens' lawyer explained his mother killed herself in July 2011, which had a profound effect on his mental well-being.

The defence lawyer said Martens had spent eight months as an in-patient at a German hospital and was "apologetic" and that he had shown "deep remorse" for his actions.

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Now he's accused of trying to escape justice

Having threatened to slaughter a senior colleague and his family, a sadistic stalker now stands accused of having hoodwinked the judicial system in a deplorable attempt to escape punishment for his crimes.

Queen's University academic, Patrick Martens, told a Crown Court judge of his "deep remorse" for the vile campaign of abuse and begged to be allowed to return to his native Germany to tend to his desperately ill son.

That son, it seems, never existed. So devastating was the systematic abuse at the hands of Martens, it drove a former colleague from his post at Northern Ireland's leading university.

The man, a renowned expert in psychology at Queen's, took early retirement following the sustained period of harassment.

The victim, who requested that his identity remain anonymous, told the Belfast Telegraph his family endured a nightmare.

He said that when the campaign of hatred was at its worst, he was receiving more than 50 malicious phone calls each day.

The victim said Martens – who has suffered mental illness for two decades – first threatened his life, before including the man's wife and then his children in the frightening deluge of correspondence.

Last October, Martens who was a research fellow at Queen's, pleaded guilty to nine offences, including seven threats to kill and two of harassment.

His victims were left stunned when his sentencing was suspended, after Martens, through his defence team, begged to be allowed to return to his native Germany. The former nightclub bouncer and martial arts fanatic said his young son had been rushed to hospital in Germany suffering meningitis.

A defence lawyer told Judge Patrick Lynch the youngster was in a critical condition.

The judge granted Martens bail to return to Germany to see his son, fixing a later date for sentencing. Also, prior to sentencing, the judge was shown letters, said to have been written by leading psychology experts in Germany, which deemed Martens as posing little risk to the public. They were presented to the judge as proof Martens was co-operating with medical experts and was desperate to address serious mental issues which had blighted him for two decades.

At the time, his victims told of their despair at the case being delayed, and shock that Martens had been allowed to leave the country. "Myself and my wife are just devastated," the academic had said.

"We have had to live with this for over two years. Now we know he is out again and could be anywhere." A defence lawyer said Martens appeared to be moving on with his life and suggested a lengthy suspended prison sentence would act as a suitable deterrent in future.

Medical assessments read to the court claimed Martens suffered from a range of mental disorders including obsessive behaviour, depression and anger issues, the symptoms of which he had displayed since the age of 14. Used in his favour too, were claims he had spent several months working with terminally-ill children. Martens, the court heard, was desperate to make amends for his wicked ways.

However, it now appears Martens fed the judge, and his defence team, a myriad of lies.

Detectives believe everything he said in a bid to get a lighter sentence was fabricated.

They have found no evidence Martens has any children and it is claimed the medical experts by whom the assessments on him were said to have been given, deny any knowledge of the correspondence.

Martens arrived at Queen's having been disciplined in relation to harassing others at his previous university in England in 2008.

A short time after arriving in Belfast, a complaint was lodged with Queen's by a woman who claimed to have been harassed.

His academic victim, as harassment officer, then came into contact with Martens as a result.

Martens then turned his attention on him and his wife.

When the allegations first came to light, Queen's suspended Martens pending an internal inquiry.

That inquiry centred on serious allegations of intimidation and abuse by Martens, which were described as "sinister and disturbing".

Martens was arrested in England and brought back to Northern Ireland by police on New Year's Eve 2011. In September of that year he had been barred from setting foot on the Queen's campus following a High Court injunction.

He was also banned from going within five miles of the village where his victims live.

Martens – half-German and half-English – travelled from Hamburg to plead guilty to the offences last October.

A prosecutor said that while it would be frightening to anybody receiving such threats as those made by Martens, it may have been more so for the couple, given their comprehensive understanding of the menace behind Martens' correspondence.

Of their backgrounds in behavioural understanding, the prosecutor said it "would do nothing to quell the concerns this type of behaviour would pose to them".

Speaking after Martens was convicted, his academic victim told this newspaper: "I felt very isolated and all I really wanted was for it to stop. To this day I still struggle with why he targeted me. All we want to do is leave it behind us now."

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