Was Tony Martin innocent or guilty? Farmer who shot burglar to attend ‘people’s trial’

Tony Martin, pictured in 2017. Picture: Ian Burt

Tony Martin, pictured in 2017. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

His conviction for shooting a burglar who raided his farmhouse divided national opinion. But now Norfolk farmer Tony Martin is to attend a so-called “people’s trial” in Essex amid claims of fresh evidence said to prove his innocence.

Tony Martin, pictured on the 15th anniversary of the Bleak House shootings in 2014. Picture: CHRIS B

Tony Martin, pictured on the 15th anniversary of the Bleak House shootings in 2014. Picture: CHRIS BISHOP - Credit: Archant

Martin, who recently turned 75, was jailed after killing teenager Fred Barras with an illegal gun at the remote Bleak House in Emneth Hungate. He also injured burglar Brendon Fearon.

The farmer's conviction sparked a UK-wide debate about the rights of homeowners to defend their properties from intruders.

Now the Tony Martin Action Group, which is campaigning to overturn his conviction, is to hold a "re-trial" at The Columnbine Centre in Walton-on-the Naze on Saturday, January 18.

Martin will be present for the event, between 6pm and 9pm, where members of the public will be asked to play the part of jurors assessing what action group chairman Christopher Snowling describes as new evidence.

The front page of the Eastern Daily Press after the shootings in 1999. Picture: ARCHANT

The front page of the Eastern Daily Press after the shootings in 1999. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant


You may also want to watch:


What that evidence is will only be revealed on the evening, although Mr Snowling promised it would be a "tremendously exciting event" with some of the evidence dramatised.

The evidence is based on an 800-page book by Brian Pead and Mr Snowling said members of the public still find the case "absolutely riveting".

Most Read

"We're going round with this show, re-educating the public about what really went on," said Mr Snowling.

"It's every human being's right to clear their name."

Bleak House is the Norfolk farmhouse owned by Tony Martin. Picture: Ian Burt

Bleak House is the Norfolk farmhouse owned by Tony Martin. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter