Home defender refused parole as "danger to burglars"

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Jan 3, 2003
Tony Martin is refused parole as 'danger to burglars'

By David Sapsted
Daily Telegraph (London)

Tony Martin, the farmer jailed for shooting dead a teenage burglar, had his application for parole rejected yesterday.

The three members of the Parole Board, who met in London to review his case, gave no reason for turning him down.

A friend of Martin's claimed that it was because a probation report branded the 58-year-old "a danger to burglars".

Others suggested that a primary reason was Martin's refusal to express remorse for shooting 16-year-old Fred Barras when he and another burglar raided his remote Norfolk house at night in August, 1999.

Martin, who will automatically qualify for release on licence in July after serving two-thirds of his five-year sentence for manslaughter, was said to have been resigned to the decision.

Malcom Starr, a friend and leading supporter who visited Martin in Highpoint Prison, Suffolk, called the decision "an absolute disgrace".

He said: "These people on the Parole Board are completely out of touch with public opinion. "All right-thinking people agree that Mr Martin should be released immediately."

Mr Starr, a Cambridgeshire businessman, said Martin told him a Probation Service report to the board criticised the farmer for "not being up to speed with the 21st century and of thinking things were better 40 years ago".

Mr Starr added: "A lot of prisoners lie and say they are sorry about something when they are not. He was not prepared to lie. It is not a question of 'does he feel sorry'. He feels he should never have been intruded on and he acted in self defence."

Richard Portham, another friend, said: "He told me that the Norfolk probation service was recommending that he should not get parole because they considered him a danger to burglars. * * *
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