Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Farmer 'confronts another burglar'

Farmer Tony Martin was originally convicted of murder after shooting dead a burglar in 1999
Farmer Tony Martin was originally convicted of murder after shooting dead a burglar in 1999

Farmer Tony Martin, who was jailed for shooting dead a burglar in 1999, has said he has confronted a burglar on his property.

Mr Martin, who was convicted of murder following the 1999 incident but later saw this reduced to manslaughter, said he caught the burglar in the act near an outbuilding at his property near Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, on Thursday.

He said the would-be burglar drove off when he confronted him and he decided not to attempt to stop him, adding: "I couldn't face going through all that again."

A spokesman for Norfolk Police said: "Police were called to reports of an attempted burglary of outbuildings at a property in Wisbech at around 1.20pm yesterday. Inquiries are ongoing."

Mr Martin was living alone at his farmhouse in Emneth Hungate, Norfolk, nicknamed Bleak House, when he caught Brendon Fearon, then 29, and Fred Barras, 16, inside his house.

He fired his shotgun three times towards the intruders, killing Barras. He was initially jailed for nine years after being convicted of murder but the conviction was reduced to manslaughter on appeal and his sentence was reduced to three years.

The case provoked a national debate about the measures homeowners can take to defend their property. Speaking about the latest incident, Mr Martin, who no longer lives in Emneth Hungate, said he was visiting the shed when he saw the man attempting to steal car batteries.

He said: "There were weapons inside the shed so, if I had wanted to fight him off, I could have. I wished I had but, after everything I've been through in the past, I just couldn't face all that hassle again. It isn't the first time it's happened since I've been out of prison - it's happened two or three times.

"I haven't changed my views about what happened in 1999 but the whole experience has made me lose faith in the system and I didn't want to be made out as the criminal again."

Later, Mr Martin took himself to a police station in Wisbech with concerns for his own health. A Cambridgeshire Police spokesman: "Officers spoke to him and took him to a hospital in King's Lynn to be assessed. There is no further police involvement."

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