Tony Martin taken to hospital

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Farmer Tony Martin was today (Friday) being voluntarily assessed in hospital as a “precaution” after confronting an intruder on his property.

Mr Martin (67) was convicted of murder after he shot a burglar dead during a raid on his Emneth farm in 1999.

The conviction caused widespread controversy and it was later reduced to manslaughter on appeal.

On Thursday (May 9) - 14 years after the incident - Mr Martin found another intruder trying to steal car batteries from one of his outbuildings at Emneth Hungate.

The man fled and Mr Martin decided not to chase him.

But this morning Mr Martin walked into Wisbech police station after telling friends he was “worried about what he might do.”

He was said to be undergoing a mental health assessment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.

Close friend Malcolm Starr (63) said: “One person would be scared of being burgled, but he is absolutely terrified. He is obsessed with it. He is so conscious of it happening again.

“Anyone else would think after 14 years that everything is back to normal. But Tony doesn’t feel that.

“He reacts differently to how other people would because of his Asperger’s.

“I think he went to the police as a precaution. He was worried about what he might do. He probably felt like he didn’t know which way to go.

“I have never heard him so down. I wonder if he is going to change his lifestyle. It is almost as if he has given in.

“I just hope he doesn’t do anything stupid.”

Mr Starr added: “Anyone of us who gets burgled might pick up a piece of wood and have a go at them, but Tony cannot do that - he would be immediately arrested.”

Before going to police, Mr Martin said he had challenged the intruder who dropped one of the new £90 batteries but decided not to chase him.

He said: “I couldn’t face going through all that again. I wished I had but, after everything I’ve been through in the past, I just couldn’t face all that hassle again.

“It isn’t the first time it’s happened since I’ve been out of prison - it’s happened two or three times.

“I haven’t changed my views about what happened in 1999 but the whole experience has made me lose faith in the system and I didn’t want to be made out as the criminal again.”

He added: “There were weapons inside the shed so, if I had wanted to fight him off, I could have.”

Mr Martin was living alone at his Bleak House farm when he was burgled in 1999, fired his shotgun towards the intruders.

He caught Fred Barras (16) and Brendon Fearon (then 29), inside his house and Fred died from his injuries.

Mr Martin was jailed for nine years for murder, but on appeal his sentence was reduced to three years.

Last year Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced that the legal bar on what could be considered “proportionate” force would be raised.

He added that this could give householders who react with force when confronted by burglars more legal protection.

Norfolk police were called to Thursday’s attempted raid at Mr Martin’s farm and said investigations were still ongoing.

A Cambridgeshire police spokesperson said: “A man came into a police station in Wisbech this morning (Friday) with concerns for his health. Officers spoke to him and took him to a hospital in King’s Lynn to be assessed. There is no further police involvement.”