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Saturday, 29 June, 2002, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Burglar sues jailed farmer
Tony Martin
Tony Martin was jailed for the shooting
The farmer jailed for the manslaughter of a 16-year-old burglar is being sued for up to 50,000 by one of the men who broke in to his home.

Brendan Fearon, 32, was wounded in the shooting at Tony Martin's Norfolk farmhouse which ended in the death of teenager Fred Barras.

Fearon now plans to sue Martin for thousands of pounds in damages - claiming assault and trespass against the person.

Brendan Fearon
Brendan Fearon: Plans to sue

But friends of the jailed farmer expressed their anger at the news.

Malcolm Starr, a businessman who has led a campaign to secure Martin's release, said he was astonished Fearon intended to demand compensation from the 57-year-old farmer.

Mr Starr said a solicitor's letter written by lawyers acting for Fearon had been sent to Martin's home at Bleak House Farm, Emneth Hungate, Norfolk, where the burglar was shot in the legs in August 1999.

The letter, dated 20 June, read: "Re: Our client Brendon Fearon. We act on behalf of the above named and are instructed by him in connection with a claim for damages as a result of assault and trespass in relation to the incident of the 20 August 1999."

Fearon, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, is thought to be hopeful of gaining up to 50,000 by taking out a no-win, no-fee action against Martin.

Mr Starr said of Fearon: "I am amazed at the audacity of this, but I suppose these people are long-term criminals who just don't care.

'1 compensation'

"I'm sure all right-thinking people will think this is madness and it will confirm Tony's view that the system seems to be hell-bent on protecting the criminals and not the victims.

"I suppose Fearon has nothing to lose. The ideal scenario now would be for the courts to award 1 in compensation and fine him 5,000 for wasting the court's time."

Martin is currently serving a five-year sentence after his murder conviction was reduced to manslaughter by the Court of Appeal.

The farmer is reportedly due to be considered for parole in October, although it has been suggested that his release could be delayed until July next year.


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