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Last Updated: Friday, 8 August, 2003, 08:01 GMT 09:01 UK
Martin delighted to be home
Tony Martin returns to Bleak House
Mr Martin arrived at the farm with newspaper reporters
Farmer Tony Martin has returned to his home in Norfolk for the first time since being freed from jail.

Martin, 58, arrived at the farm - Bleak House - at Emneth Hungate at about 0530 BST on Friday.

He said: "I'm delighted to be back home at Bleak House and particularly to have been reunited with my dog Otto after a very difficult four years.

"I now have a business to run and I'm looking forward to getting back on my combine harvester."

However, it is thought Martin, who was freed from prison after serving two-thirds of a five-year sentence for manslaughter, may only be making a short visit to the remote farm.

He arrived at Bleak House accompanied by journalists and it is thought the house is too dilapidated to live in.

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.

I feel very strongly that important questions of householders' rights have been raised by my case
Tony Martin
But Martin is set to challenge Fearon's right to claim legal aid to sue him for compensation.

One of his supporters said he planned to counter-sue for damages.

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

Peter Sainsbury, who has campaigned for Martin since he was jailed, said it was "fantastic news" that the former prisoner was back on his farm.

He said: "I imagine he is absolutely delighted at going back after all these years.

"That is his home, his business and his life.

"He has every right to return to his home and expect the authorities to look after him. He is in his rightful place.

Bleak House
Martin says he is delighted to be back at Bleak House
"If he was not allowed to return home then what society are we living in?"

In a statement Martin said: "Thank you for your interest in my case I am delighted to be back here at Bleak House and particularly delighted to be reunited with my dog Otto after a very difficult few years.

"There are a few things I would like to say.

"I would like to thank everyone who has written to me in prison with letters of support and the many friends who have stood by me.

"I feel very strongly that important questions of householders' rights have been raised by my case and still have to be answered by the government.

Victims' rights

"I hope that my case will continue to provoke debate and it is my sincere hope that our government and our courts will properly recognised the rights of victims of burglaries over criminals.

"Nobody should feel in fear living in their own home."

He added: "I am looking forward to getting back on my combined harvester.

"My only wish is to as far as possible get my life back to normal."

Tony has expressed the feelings and frustrations of how many decent British people feel
Friend and neighbour Richard Portham
Richard Portham, a neighbour and friend of Martin, said: "I am glad he is back.

"He always said he would go back home because this is his home and it has been in his family for well over 100 years.

"Tony is the sort of person who would think himself a coward if he did not go back.

"But I don't think it is a very satisfactory situation. This case has raised much wider questions.

"Tony has expressed the feelings and frustrations of how many decent British people feel."

Martin was released from prison on 28 July and was instantly plunged into a fresh controversy after a newspaper reportedly paid him 100,000 for exclusive interviews.




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