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Farmer who killed burglar 'still has no regrets' after jail sentence and 'wants to clear name'

Farmer who killed burglar 'still has no regrets' after jail sentence and 'wants to clear name'

He fatally shot one burglar and injured another 24 years ago

Farmer Tony Martin, who shot and killed a teenage burglar in 1999, has said that he wishes to 'clear his name' 20 years after being released from prison but has 'no regrets' over the shooting.

The 78-year-old fatally shot Fred Barras, 16, and injured Brendon Fearon, 29, with a pump action Winchester shotgun after they broke into his isolated farm on 20 August, 1999.

He was found guilty of murder the following year and jailed but the murder conviction was quashed on appeal and he spent three years in prison for manslaughter.

Two decades since his release in July 2003, Martin told the Mirror that while he'd like to clear his name, there's probably little hope of doing that.

He says he's 'running out of steam' so may need to cancel his plan to appeal to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, claiming that the manslaughter conviction should have also been overturned.

Martin still owns the £3 million Bleak House Farm where the pair were shot but said he has not stepped foot in the dilapidated farmhouse since that day.

Instead he lives in a nearby property.

Tony Martin says he wishes to 'clear his name'.
PA

“I went to bed that night with the Farmers Weekly and a bottle of wine. I had the radio on," he said.

“Suddenly, the house was broken into and my life changed. Does that make me a guilty man?"

Martin lived alone and shot the pair after catching them in the farmhouse in Emneth Hungate, Norfolk, that he'd inherited from his aunt 40 years ago.

One shot was fired in the stairwell, then two more as they fled.

Barras died at the scene after being hit in the leg and back. Fearon survived being shot in the leg.

Martin was charged with murder, attempted murder and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

“Can you imagine it? It was a terrifying experience. You go home one night and someone breaks into your house and you get the police jumping on [your] back," he said.

"I’ve had to live with that for more than 20 years.

“Suddenly, I’m this man that wants to kill people.

“I don’t regret anything - what was I supposed to do? Hide under the bed clothes?

“Before I knew where I was I was locked up by the police. It’s unlucky that I was the fall guy.”

Fred Barras, 16, was fatally shot by Tony Martin.
PA

After being plagued by previous break ins, the prosecution accused Martin of lying in wait and opening fire without warning, using excessive force as the burglars fled through the window.

The prosecution also claimed that Martin had booby-trapped his run-down home and repeatedly threatened to shoot any thieves in the months prior.

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

Martin claims he's a 'different person' following his experience in prison.

“It’s 20 years ago and I’m old now. I cope, but that’s about all you can do," he said.

“You may think I’ve got a chip on my shoulder but I’m bound to. I haven’t met anybody who says I was wrong.

"I don’t think people appreciate what happened. I’ve been naive, I’m too honest for my own good and I don’t like dishonesty.

“I would like to appeal but you can’t because you need fresh evidence. My idea of fresh evidence and their idea [of it] are different.

“I’d love to clear my name before I die but it may never happen. The law won’t allow it.”

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, UK News, Crime, True Crime