Page last updated at 06:28 GMT, Monday, 28 July 2003 07:28 UK

New life for farmer Martin

by Nic Rigby
BBC News Online

Bleak House exterior
Tony Martin intends to return to his Norfolk farmhouse
Farmer Tony Martin, released from custody on Monday, must face up to life outside prison including death threats from supporters of the teenage burglar he shot and killed.

Since August 1999 Martin has become a reluctant celebrity - seen as a hero in the eyes of many in this country and abroad.

Martin is expected to return to his dilapidated farm Bleak House in Emneth Hungate, Norfolk.

Former Conservative MP Teresa Gorman has even offered to help bring the property up to scratch and give it a "woman's touch".

The isolated farmhouse may also need security improvements and Norfolk Police are advising Martin on how they can help him.

He loves his dogs and he loves his farm and he loves babysitting and giving them teddy bears - he's a real softy actually
Martin's cousin Wendy Mitcham

Martin has received a number of threats to his life and the BBC has been told that there is a 25,000 bounty on his head.

The cost of protecting Martin some put as high as 200,000 a year, although Norfolk Police refuse to be drawn on this.

A mobile police station has been installed over the last few days at his farmhouse which will be manned 24 hours a day for several weeks to ensure his safety.

A Norfolk Police spokesman refused to discuss security arrangements at Bleak House.

The spokesman said in a statement: "While, of course, the Norfolk Constabulary has made plans to assist with Mr Martin's return to private life, it would be operationally inappropriate to discuss them publicly."

Martin's cousin Wendy Mitcham believes the 58-year-old farmer will want to return to his peacocks, dogs and crops.

Tony Martin
Martin killed a burglar and sparked fierce national debate

"Knowing Tony he'll want to resume his old life and go back to how he started (as a farmer)," she said.

"He loves his dogs and he loves his farm and he loves babysitting and giving them teddy bears - he's a real softy actually.

"He's knows it's going to be difficult. You will never get it out of you. He's going to have nightmares no doubt."

Martin's farm, on which he grows corn, and has apple orchards, has been worked and tended to by contractors during his time in jail.

Ms Mitcham also said Martin is thinking of going to the USA to meet the head of the National Rifle Association actor Charlton Heston, who has supported his case.

Hall and stairs inside Martin's house
Martin's home is in a dilapidated state at present

She said he was likely to have a big welcome waiting for him when he returned to Emneth.

"As far as I am aware there are going to be big banners across the road saying: 'Welcome back Tony'. He will be very pleased," she said.

Martin's friend Malcolm Starr added: "Although I have tried to explain there will be a lot of people, especially the media, around all the time, he's ignoring that.

"The way he's talking he is going back and seems to be more concerned about his crops and his dog."

video and audio news
Aerial views of farmer Tony Martin's isolated farm

Burglar cannot sue jailed farmer
15 Apr 03 |  England
Martin's parole bid fails
16 Jan 03 |  England
Manslaughter verdict for Martin
30 Oct 01 |  UK News

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