A farmer who shot dead a sixteen-year-old burglar who broke into his property ‘felt no remorse’ when he visited his grave.
Tony Martin was jailed for three years after killing Fred Barras with an illegal gun at his Norfolk farmhouse in 1999, in an incident which caused a national debate over homeowners’ rights.
Related Video: Inside Tony Martin’s Abandoned Home 20 Years Later
His conviction for murder continues to divide people twenty years on and provokes heated debate on how far people should be able to go to protect themselves and their property.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, the 74-year-old described how he stands by what he did on the night, claiming to be acting in self-defence and believes he does not ‘have to excuse himself for anything’ and believes the law still falls short in protecting householders defending their homes.
On ‘that fateful night’ on the 20th August 1999, Brendan Fearon, 29, and Fred Barras travelled from Newark in Nottinghamshire to raid the home, aptly named Bleak House in Norfolk, where Martin stored antiques.
Martin awoke to hear noises coming from downstairs and came down from an upstairs bedroom
Realising he had intruders, he opened fire with an illegal shotgun into the darkness, shooting Barras in the back and injuring Fearon, who managed to make a getaway.
Barras died at the scene.
He has since visited Barras’s grave out of 'curiosity'.
‘I was up in Newark at the Midlands Show and there is a huge cemetery there. Well, Mr Barras is there, buried up the far end. It’s quite hard to find.
READ MORE FROM YAHOO
‘There was a man there and I asked where I’d find him and he showed me. And there he was. Then he left me there.’
‘I stood for a minute or so, just looked at the headstone. There was a picture of him on it — the same one I’d seen in the papers.’
‘I didn’t feel anything. I just stood there, totally removed from what I was looking at.
‘I did think about how everything is of our own making, though. And that applies to him.’
He still believes, vehemently, that he did the right thing. ‘I did nothing wrong,’ he insists. ‘I did what anyone would do.’
He was convicted of murder, but the sentence was later reduced to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
The case split a nation over the rights of homeowners to defend themselves, many said that Martin had the right to defend his home and property but prosecutors argued he had anticipated the pair and lay in wait for them.
In Martin's case, they successfully argued he had used excessive force in shooting both burglars in the back as they climbed out of a window.
While in custody, he was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome.
He spent three of his five year sentence in prison and was released in 2003.
He has also told of how he has not been in Bleak House since the ordeal as he feels it is 'tainted'.
He said: 'Everyone has been in except me. When it all happened, it was tainted. Violated'
Martin still owns the building, which has a police cone outside and is now shrouded in ivy, but relies on the kindness of friends to give him somewhere to sleep.
However he feels people are ‘getting fed up’ of putting him up.
He still believes that on that fateful night he 'did nothing wrong.'
In Channel 4 programme The Interrogation of Tony Martin which aired in 2018, he insisted that he would do the same thing all over again.
The same year, an urban explorer captured creepy footage which he claims was taken inside Martin’s abandoned former home.