Farmer Tony Martin says he has never gone back in his former home 15 years after burglar death

12:53 20 August 2014

Tony Martin, who has still not gone into his former home 15 years after the Bleak House shootings. Picture: Chris Bishop

Tony Martin, who has still not gone into his former home 15 years after the Bleak House shootings. Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

Farmer Tony Martin says he’s never gone back in the house where he killed a burglar 15 years ago.

Mr Martin turned his shotgun on two burglars, killing one and wounding the other, in August 1999.

“I still haven’t been back in my house,” said Mr Martin, who was found guilty of murdering Fred Barras and given life, before being freed on appeal, when the conviction was reduced to manslaughter.

“I don’t relish the idea of going back in there, getting arrested and going to prison again. I tidy up around it - it’s surrounded by water at the moment, I call it the Everglades.”

When a car-load of burglars set off from Newark, Notts, to burgle the property, they found Mr Martin waiting with a pump-action Remington.

Fred Barras, 16, was found dead near the isolated property the following day. His accomplice Brendan Fearon, then 28, crawled away peppered with buckshot and raised the alarm.

Mr Martin was charged with murder and jailed for life the following year, when a jury at Norwich Crown Court found him guilty amid a worldwide outcry. The trial judge said the sentence should serve as a warning to those tempted to take the law into their own hands.

But the conviction was reduced to manslaughter and the sentence reduced to five years by the Appeal Court, in 2003. Mr Martin was freed shortly afterwards.

The case sparked a national debate about how much force was reasonable when it came to defending your home.

Mr Martin said he still farms the land around his former home Bleak House, at Emneth Hungate. But he is evasive about where he now lives, claiming he has several homes.

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