Page last updated at 06:21 GMT, Thursday, 7 August 2003 07:21 UK

Martin to challenge burglar's lawsuit

Tony Martin
Farmer Tony Martin is to counter-sue the burglar he shot at his farm
Farmer Tony Martin is set to challenge the right of a burglar he shot to claim legal aid to sue him for compensation.

And one of his supporters says he will counter-sue for damages.

Martin, 58, of Emneth Hungate, Norfolk, was freed from prison last week after serving two-thirds of a five-year sentence for manslaughter.

In August 1999 he shot dead burglar Fred Barras, 16, and wounded the teenager's accomplice Brendan Fearon, 33, after confronting them at his isolated farmhouse late at night.

Fearon is suing for loss of earnings and compensation for injuries he sustained when Martin shot him.

A report in Thursday's edition of The Sun newspaper says the amount Fearon is claiming in damages has now been upped from £15,000 to £100,000.

Mr Martin is going to counter-sue for the damages he suffered when burgled and there will be a big court case in London next year
Peter Sainsbury
Martin supporter

But Peter Sainsbury, who has campaigned for Martin's freedom, says the farmer will counter-sue Fearon for the damages he suffered when being burgled and would also challenge Fearon's right to legal aid.

Martin's friends say they believe that Fearon has money which he has not declared which could prevent him from claiming legal aid.

"We are going to challenge Fearon's right to legal aid and that process has already started," said Mr Sainsbury.

"Mr Martin is going to counter-sue for the damages he suffered when burgled and there will be a big court case in London next year."

Brendan Fearon
Burglar Brendan Fearon is suing over the injuries he suffered
Mr Sainsbury said he was not surprised at reports of Fearon increasing his claim for compensation, adding: "It comes as no surprise because he's going to make every effort to maximise what he is going to get."

The Sun quotes "a close associate" as the source of its report. Neither Fearon nor his lawyers were available for comment.

The legal battle between Fearon and Martin is due to take place at the High Court in London next year.

Martin has sold his story to the Daily Mirror newspaper for a reported £100,000 and has not been seen at his home since he was released from prison last week.

video and audio news
The BBC's Peter Lane
"The mobile police station here is a temporary measure and then Tony Martin will be on his own"



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