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EDITIONS
 Monday, 23 December, 2002, 11:11 GMT
Burglar sues farmer
Tony Martin
Tony Martin's sentence was reduced to manslaughter
The farmer jailed for the manslaughter of a 16-year-old burglar is being sued for up to 15,000 by one of the people 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.

While Tony contemplates another Christmas in prison this man is getting on with trying to feather his own nest

Malcolm Starr
Earlier this year Fearon, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, began his bid for compensation against Martin and the farmer launched a counter-claim for damages.

But more details of the compensation claim have emerged as Fearon sues Martin for being unable to work since being shot in the legs during the raid.

A supporter of Martin, Malcolm Starr, who confirmed the writ had been issued, said the timing so near Christmas was "disgusting".

The farmer's mother, Hilary Martin condemned a legal system that allowed Fearon to sue.

Conviction reduced

Martin, 57, is currently serving a prison sentence for shooting dead Fearon's accomplice, 16-year-old Fred Barras, in August 1999 at his farm in Emneth Hungate.

Brendan Fearon
Brendan Fearon was shot in the legs
In October last year, his conviction was reduced to manslaughter by the Court of Appeal and his sentence reduced to five years for the killing and three years for injuring Fearon.

But his release has been delayed because of administrative problems with the Parole Board.

Mr Starr said: "He (Martin) has had so much support from people with Christmas cards and he thought that it was really bad timing for anyone to be issued with such an awful thing just before Christmas," he said.

The writ states Fearon is claiming damages for leg injuries stopping him finding work, says he is concerned about his "long-term sexual functioning" and he is "very tearful" when watching a film where someone dies, according to the Daily Mail.

He is also said to claim he is afraid of fireworks, no longer enjoys ju-jitsu and kick-boxing and is depressed about television shows containing gunfire, said the paper.

Mother's anger

Mrs Martin said: "We are living in a country which is crazy, with crazy laws and no idea about what is right and wrong.

"It is quite unbelievable that this person is doing this. Absolutely absurd.

"We are talking about someone who is a criminal and I don't know how he has got the nerve to do this."

Mrs Martin said her son's life had been destroyed by what had happened.

"When Tony does come out of prison his life is ruined.

"He's got no future with the farming industry the way it is and I don't know what will happen.

"He's got to start all over again.

"He'll be 58 when he comes out and he's not a well man."

It is believed Fearon is taking the civil action as he would not be entitled to criminal injuries compensation as he was carrying out a crime when he was shot.


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