Martin to lodge appeal this week amid claims of jury intimidation

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The Independent Online

The storm surrounding Tony Martin, the farmer convicted of murdering a teenage burglar, deepened yesterday when his lawyers announced that they would be lodging a notice of appeal by Friday.

Amid claims that the jury at Norwich Crown Court had been intimidated, Martin's solicitor said his client had been threatened in prison. The eccentric bachelor, 55, was jailed for life last week after the court was told he had acted as "jury, judge and executioner" when he fired his illegal pump-action shotgun at intruders on the night of 20 August last year.

Fred Barras, 16, was killed by a fatal wound to the back while his friend Brendon Fearon, 30, was seriously injured in both legs. The jury rejected Martin's plea of selfdefence after hearing prosecution claims that he was carrying through his view that criminals should be shot.

Martin is now being held in the hospital wing of Bullingdon prison near Bicester, Oxfordshire, after being moved from Norwich prison late last week. He is likely to serve his sentence in a segregation unit for his own safety once medical checks have been completed.

"There have been threats made both to his life and to harm him, for example scalding him with hot water," said his solicitor, Nick Makin.

Martin was quoted in a newspaper report as saying: "I'm certain I will never get out of here. I'm locked up alongside the very people I took a stand against. The police and prison authorities are taking the threats against me seriously, and so am I."

A spokeswoman for the Prison Service said yesterday: "There are prison units for prisoners who are being bullied or who have threats made against them. Segregation is not just for sexual offenders."

Martin's legal team is also continuing to carry out an investigation into suggestions that jurors at the trial felt pressurised. Martin, of Bleak House, Emneth Hungate, Norfolk, was also sentenced to 10 years for wounding Fearon with intent to do grievous bodily harm and to another 12 months after admitting possession of a firearm without a certificate.

Both terms are concurrent with his life sentence. The farmer was cleared of attempting to murder Fearon and of possessing a pumpaction shotgun with intent to endanger life.