Farmer no hero

ISN'T it tragic that Norfolk farmer Tony Martin has been refused parole and won't be able to return to Bleak House for another six months?Well, no! Actually it's quite worrying that a man like this will be back in the community by the summer.

ISN'T it tragic that Norfolk farmer Tony Martin has been refused parole and won't be able to return to Bleak House for another six months?

Well, no!

Actually it's quite worrying that a man like this will be back in the community by the summer.

Before we all get too dewy-eyed and sentimental about the injustice suffered by a man defending his property, let's look back at the facts:

Martin illegally held a firearm – a pump-action shotgun.

He had set up a booby-trap for burglars throughout his house.

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Evidence was presented – and believed by the jury at his trial – that he shot teenager Fred Barras while the youngster was trying to get out of his house. It was not in self-defence.

Martin had earlier told a police officer he would like to put gypsies in one of his fields, surround them with barbed wire, and machine-gun them.

A neighbour told his trial that Martin had spoken about burglars and gypsies and said if he ever caught them, they would be shot.

Capital punishment for burglary in this country was abolished before Victoria came to the throne – and Martin was wrong for taking the law into his own hands.

He hasn't shown a drop of remorse for the fact that he killed a 16-year-old. He insists he has nothing to apologise for.

And – what is most frightening – he seems to regard himself as the folk hero that some others have suggested he is.

Martin's murder conviction was reduced to manslaughter only because his original trial had not been told that he had a personality disorder.

A hero? I think not!

Once he is released, I just hope that the local police in Norfolk keep a very close eye on him – he looks like a walking danger to himself and other people.

n What are your views on Tony Martin. Should he, like some people think, be hailed a hero or should he be kept in prison for the safety of himself and others?

And what lengths should we be allowed to go to in order to protect ourselves and our property?

Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30, Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail:

IN ALL the controversy about the future of the Co-op Juniors at the Regent, it's hard not to feel a bit sorry for Ipswich mayor Richard Risebrow.

To all intents and purposes he is Mr Co-op Juniors.

Until he retired a couple of years ago, he ran the Co-op Education Department which organises the Juniors' productions.

He's still an active volunteer – always busy behind the scenes when there's a production at the Regent.

You can tell he's bursting to defend the Juniors – but because of his civic position he has to remain neutral.

That's all right, Richard, we understand – but we know where your heart is!

THANK heavens Ipswich MP Chris Mole has come out fighting after the announcement of 700 job loses in the electricity industry in his constituency.

His anger at the way he was treated is understandable – frankly he was sold a pup in his discussions with the company and was left looking rather foolish by a giant conglomerate that clearly doesn't have the interests of this area at heart.

MPs do need to be diplomatic much of the time – but there comes a time when they have to let their gut feelings come out.

He was duped by the company – and if I had been misled like he was, I'd be furious.

I have heard criticisms of Mr Mole that he always seems too conciliatory, that he doesn't like to upset people.

Over the Powergen issue he's finally shown his teeth – let's see more passion in future, Chris.

BY THE time you're reading this, Suffolk County Council should have finished its debate about the proposed move to Russell Road.

All the indications are that the councillors will agree to the move.

It really does look like the classic win-win-win situation, an offer that cannot be refused.

Suffolk County Council will get a new state-of-the-art headquarters full of energy saving features for little over half its value.

Suffolk College will get new buildings and space to develop into the university the county has needed for so long.

And Ipswich Village will get a prestigious tenant in its largest office block which will give a massive boost to that area of the town.

Hard as I look, I cannot see any disadvantages in this deal – it really does look like manna from heaven.

The only slight worry I have in the back of my mind – and it is only very small – is the old saying: "If something's too good to be true, it probably is!"


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