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Tony Martin bailed after arrest in illegal firearm probe

Published 01/01/2016

Tony Martin, the farmer jailed for shooting dead a teenage burglar in 1999, has been arrested for possession of an illegal firearm
Tony Martin, the farmer jailed for shooting dead a teenage burglar in 1999, has been arrested for possession of an illegal firearm

Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer jailed for shooting dead a teenage burglar, has been released after he was arrested for possession of an illegal firearm.

Martin, 71, served three years in prison for shooting dead Fred Barras, 16, at his home in Emneth Hungate, Norfolk, in 1999. He was initially found guilty of murder but this was reduced to manslaughter on appeal.

He was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of possessing an illegal firearm during a police search of his home, but was released "pending further enquiries".

A Norfolk Police spokesman said on Thursday: "Officers have this evening finished their search of the address and the man, who was arrested on suspicion of possession of an illegal firearm, has been released on police bail until late February 2016. "

Mr Martin was living alone at his farmhouse in Emneth Hungate, nicknamed Bleak House, when he caught Brendon Fearon, then 29, and Mr Barras, 16, inside. He fired his shotgun three times towards the intruders, killing Barras.

The case provoked a national debate about the measures homeowners can take to defend their property.

Since being released from prison, Mr Martin is understood to have spent some of his time living on the grounds of the property.

In 2013 he told the Press Association he had once again confronted a burglar at the property.

He said he caught the would-be burglar while checking on an outbuilding. They drove off when confronted and Mr Martin decided not to attempt to stop him, adding: ''I couldn't face going through all that again.''

He said: ''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.''

Speaking at the time, Norfolk Police confirmed the incident had been reported to officers but no suspect was ever caught.

A woman who said she was a family member answered Martin's phone to the Press Association this morning.

She said: "We want everyone to just leave him alone.

"He is just trying to live his life and he is not the man he has been portrayed to be.

"This whole thing is upsetting him and his family."

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