Farmer Tony Martin, 78, says he has 'no regrets'

Farmer Tony Martin, 78, says he has ‘no regrets’ and STILL wants to clear his name more than 20 years after being jailed for killing a teenage burglar who broke into his Norfolk home – but fears he is ‘running out of steam’

  • Farmer Tony Martin, 78, shot dead 16-year-old intruder Fred Barras in 1999 
  • Over 20 years on, pensioner has ‘no regrets’ and still wants to clear his name 

A farmer who shot dead a teenage burglar over 20 years ago in a case which made front page headlines has said he ‘doesn’t regret anything’.

Tony Martin, 78, became notorious after he killed 16-year-old Fred Barras after the latter broke into his farm with Brendon Fearon in 1999.

Martin confronted the pair and fired his shotgun, killing Barras and injuring Fearon.

Two decades on from his release, Martin says he would like to clear his name but believes he has little hope of doing so, The Mirror reports.

He is undecided on whether to go through with an appeal to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, telling media he is ‘running out of steam’.

Tony Martin outside his farmhouse Bleak House, in Emneth Hungate, Norfolk, shortly after his release from prison in August 2003

Martin shot dead burglar Fred Barras (pictured), 16, at his farm Bleak House in Emneth Hungate near Emneth, Norfolk, in 1999

Mr Martin 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.’

Mr Martin was convicted of murdering Mr Barras in 2000 but the case hit headlines again just a year later when the verdict was overturned on appeal. Following this, Mr Martin was sentenced to three years in jail for manslaughter

Mr Martin walked free in July 2003 and still firmly believes his manslaughter conviction should also be repealed.

The pensioner inherited the £3million Bleak House Farm in Emneth Hungate, Norfolk, on the death of aunt 40 years ago.

But he says he has not stepped foot in the rundown farmhouse since the fateful night he shot Barras, and instead resides in a neighbouring barn and nearby house.

 He recalled the night of the killing, describing it as a ‘terrifying experience’

Aerial view of Tony Martin’s land at Emneth, Norfolk, where he shot dead 16-year-old burglar Fred Barras in 1999

Having been repeatedly raided before the shootings, Mr Martin confronted Barras and Fearon with an unlicensed pump-action shotgun when they broke into his home on August 20, 1999.

He fired three shots, one in the hallway and two on the stairs. He struck both intruders in the leg and Barras in the back, killing him. 

Fearon, then aged 29, who admitted conspiring to burgle Bleak House, accompanied by Fred Barras, was jailed for three years at Norwich Crown Court in 2000 and was released in August the following year. 

Mr Martin’s case provoked a national debate about the measures homeowners can take to defend their property.

Reflecting on how his life changed, Mr Martin described being cast in people’s minds as a ‘man that wants to kill people’ and that he believed he was ‘a fall guy’.

He added: ‘When people see me they know me, but they know me on the basis not as a friend or an acquaintance, they see me as the guy who shot the burglar.

‘They said I was waiting with a gun – I’ve had a gun ever since I was a child. I don’t know any farmer that doesn’t have a gun.’

In 2018, Mr Martin revealed how intruders tried once again to break-in to his derelict farmhouse, Bleak House at Emneth Hungate, which he has not set foot in since he killed Fred Barras.

He claimed that a ladder which he found propped up against his old home was evidence that burglars had tried and failed to get in.  

The story of Mr Martin’s crime was dramatised in Channel 4’s  The Interrogation, which was based on transcripts of police interviews with him.   

Police at the scene of the crime in 2003, some four years after Fred Barras was shot and killed. Officers had established a mobile police station outside the farmhouse in the wake of reported threats on the farmer’s life

Martin also wounded Barras’s accomplice Brendon Fearon, 29, pictured in 1999 ahead of his trial, with his unlicensed shotgun

The house is overgrown with ivy with windows and doors covered by the algae-stained steel shutters that police put up to keep out intruders 

Mr Martin was portrayed in a Channel 4 dramatisation by League of Gentleman star Steve Pemberton (left)

At his trial, prosecutors claimed Martin had booby-trapped his home and armed himself with an illegal weapon

Mr Martin was portrayed in the drama by League of Gentleman star Steve Pemberton. It also starred Line of Duty’s Daniel Mays as the policeman who interviewed him. 

Prosecutors at Mr Martin’s trial portrayed him as an angry man, with a vendetta against burglars.

It was claimed that he booby-trapped his home and armed himself with an illegal weapon.

The jury rejecting his claims of self-defence and agreed with the prosecutors who said he shot the pair in cold blood.  

Mr Martin still works on his 300 acres of land on his farm, despite not setting foot in his farmhouse for 19 years.

He said he has not ventured inside since the shooting because he fears he will ‘react violently if burgled again.’ 

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