Tony Martin: I'd do it again

THE farmer jailed for shooting dead a teenage burglar and wounding his accomplice has defiantly said he would do it again.

THE farmer jailed for shooting dead a teenage burglar and wounding his accomplice has defiantly said he would do it again.

Speaking nearly 10 years after the events that brought him worldwide notoriety, Tony Martin said in an interview: “I've said it before, and I'll say it again: every man has to have the right to defend his home.”

“It's the mark of a civilised society. Nothing that has happened since my trouble has changed my mind of that.”

Martin shot dead Fred Barras, 16, and wounded Brendan Fearon, then 29, after the pair broke into his isolated farmhouse at Emneth Hungate, near Wisbech in Norfolk on August 20, 1999.

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Eight months later he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. His conviction was later overturned on appeal on the grounds of diminished responsibility, and replaced by manslaughter carrying a five-year sentence.

His sentence for wounding Fearon was cut from 10 years to three, to run concurrently, and Martin was released in July 2003 after serving a total of three years in jail.

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Martin, now 64, was asked by whether he would shoot the burglars again and replied: “More so than ever. Maybe what I did was the best thing that could have happened to this country. I shot that burglar, but then I was strung up on the cross.

“They made me the sacrificial lamb. But somewhere down the road it got everyone thinking: 'Hold on, what if it was my home that was being overrun with those vermin?'”

Asked whether he felt remorse for killing Fred Barras, Martin said: “That's a preposterous thing to even ask. It's absurd. There's only one question. Was I the perpetrator? No. I was the victim.”

Martin's trial heard of his alleged hatred for gipsies, a group that included Barras and Fearon.

Basil Burton, president of the National Romany Rights Association, said yesterday that he supported Martin's actions in shooting the burglars, but that there was a wider problem of discrimination against gipsies.

“I totally agree with what Mr Martin did. In the same position, I would not have hesitated to shoot them. It was unfortunate that the boy was killed but that's one of those things,” he said

“People do tar us all with the same brush. Not all gipsies are thieves and rogues.”

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