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Martin could be released today

PUBLISHED: 11:30 26 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:43 03 March 2010

TONY Martin, the Norfolk farmer jailed for killing an intruder on his property, could be released from prison today on parole.

But although today is technically the earliest he could be freed after serving half of a five-year sentence for manslaughter, it is still unclear whether he will be released.

TONY Martin, the Norfolk farmer jailed for killing an intruder on his property, could be released from prison today on parole.

But although today is technically the earliest he could be freed after serving half of a five-year sentence for manslaughter, it is still unclear whether he will be released.

Parole board officials were due to meet the Norfolk farmer today at Highpoint Prison, to discuss his plans after he is released.

Police have said it is "highly unlikely" that Martin will be released today and he could remain in prison until November.

Martin's friends say he hopes to go abroad when he is freed, and his application to leave the country will delay the decision process.

America has been named as a possible destination, but the US embassy last night said people with convictions were not automatically granted visas.

"They can apply for a waiver," one official said. "It's done on a case-by-case basis, I don't know how long it takes."

Martin's supporters across the Atlantic include Hollywood legend Charlton Heston, who has sent him a copy of his new book, The Courage to Be Free.

Martin sparked a national debate on rural crime when he shot two burglars he caught breaking into his ramshackle farm at Emneth Hungate, near Wisbech, three years ago.

He was jailed for life after a jury convicted him of murdering 16-year-old thief Fred Barras, who died of his injuries. But the sentence was cut to five years last October, when the Appeal Court reduced the conviction to manslaughter.

Martin has been held in a succession of prisons across the country and is currently in Highpoint, near Newmarket.

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