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Wednesday, 19 April, 2000, 23:04 GMT 00:04 UK
Burglars were experienced criminals
Fred Barras
Fred Barras: First court appearance aged 13
Fred Barras and Brendan Fearon were experienced criminals who had amassed 62 convictions between them.

The pair, along with a third man Darren Bark, who was involved in the burglary expedition to Tony Martin's isolated farm house, were well known to Nottinghamshire Police.

He was a thief but he didn't deserve this

Ellen Barras, mother
All three men had convictions for violence and had all served custodial sentences.

Barras, 16, a gypsy who was born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, had 29 convictions, including assault, six for fraud and seven for theft.

His first court appearance came when he was only 13 years old.

He was found guilty of two assaults, obtaining property by deception and forgery offences.

On bail

By the age of 15 he was sentenced to two months in a young offenders' institution after being convicted of assaulting police, theft and being drunk and disorderly.

In April last year he was ordered to spend 24 hours at an attendance centre after being convicted of burglary and theft.

Brendan Fearon
Brendan Fearon: 33 criminal convictions
When he was shot by Martin he was on bail having been accused of another theft.

The bail notice was found on his body.

Barras had even been arrested a week before his death and charged with stealing garden furniture.

He was released on bail by magistrates in Newark despite police objections.

"He was a thief but he didn't deserve this," his mother Ellen said.

"He first got into trouble at 12 for stealing some bits from a shop. After that he seemed in and out of trouble all the time. They were just petty crimes.

"But even though he kept getting into trouble I never gave up on him."

Fearon, who was born in Newark, had 33 convictions including assaults, burglary and 18 offences of theft.

Tony Martin
Tony Martin: Beginning a life sentence
His first court appearance came at the age of 14 when he was convicted of burglary and theft and given a supervision order.

By the age of 22 he had been given a three-month prison sentence after a string of dishonesty offences.

He was sent to prison again at the age of 24, and again at the age of 27 after being convicted of wounding.

He is currently serving a three-year sentence imposed at Norwich Crown Court earlier this year after admitting conspiring to burgle Martin's home on 20 August.

Bark had 52 convictions at the time of the shootings, including 20 for theft and five for assault.

He is currently serving a three-and-a-half year sentence after admitting conspiring to burgle Martin's home in August last year.

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