Page last updated at 13:16 GMT, Friday, 15 August 2003 14:16 UK

Martin: 'I am no hero'

Tony Martin
Tony Martin returned to Bleak House on 8 August
Tony Martin, the farmer who was jailed for killing a burglar at his home, has said his actions do not make him a hero.

But Martin declined to express remorse for shooting dead 16-year-old Fred Barras at his remote Norfolk farmhouse, Bleak House.

He also said that cash from selling his story to a national newspaper would pay for a court case and go to charity.

Martin spoke to BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Friday in his first broadcast interview since moving back into his home in Emneth.

People say 'You can't frighten Tony', but I tell you what - you can frighten anybody
Tony Martin

He said he understood why some elderly people who felt vulnerable in their own homes might see him as a hero, but he added: "I am not a hero, no.

"I just say that I am really just an unfortunate person, a victim of circumstances.

"That's the way I see it, but officially - high up - they don't see it like that."

'Not unfeeling'

Asked whether he felt remorse for his actions, Martin said: "I can't really be responsible for the actions of other people.

"If the people hadn't been in the house, it wouldn't have happened.

"You go on about this remorse. I'm not an unfeeling man.

Tony Martin
Feeding the herd at his Norfolk farm
"I will say that every time (Barras's) family sees me in the paper, all it does, if they are trying to settle down to however people accept personal things, it brings it all back again.

"But I can't do anything about it."

Martin said his position when confronted by intruders in his home had not been properly understood.

He said: "I don't think anybody has had any appreciation. Somebody might have an understanding for my situation in the case.

"At that stage, I am thinking about myself. I don't know what they were doing. People say `You can't frighten Tony', but I tell you what - you can frighten anybody."

(The money) is not for me to do what I like
Tony Martin
Martin denied he had been lying in wait for burglars and insisted his shotgun was not loaded when the intruders entered his home.

He said he was not even aware that he had hit anybody until he was told by police the following day.

"It wasn't pre-meditated, malice aforethought," he said.

"I didn't intend to shoot anybody and I didn't know I had shot anybody.

'Moral man'

"I knew what had happened to me. I didn't know what anybody else was doing."

Martin said any cash raised from selling his story to the Daily Mirror and from an appeal by The Sun would go towards his legal costs in fighting a suit being brought against him by Brendan Fearon.

He refused to discuss estimates that some 200,000 had been raised.

Police at Martin's farm
Police patrol Tony Martin's farm after his release
Martin indicated he was planning to counter-sue Fearon, but was unable to say what the basis for his action would be.

He told Today: "I have not taken any money from the Mirror. I am a moral man.

"(The money) is not for me to do what I like. It is for a legal case and if there is any money over, it is not for me. It will go to charity."

In another interview conducted at an orchard near his property, the farmer told BBC Look East he planned to live in his house again.

"But at the moment I've got far too many important things to do so I'm living like the SAS outside," he said, laughing.

"I've got a hole in the ground - I'm bunkered in.

"And they'll say, there you are, he's paranoid."

video and audio news
The BBC's Peter Lane
talks to Tony Martin at Bleak House in Norfolk

Tony Martin
"If the people hadn't been in my house it wouldn't have happened"


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