Norfolk farmer will serve just eight years of his sentence

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The Independent Online

The Norfolk farmer Tony Martin, who is serving a life sentence for shooting dead an unarmed teenage burglar, is likely to spend just eight years in prison.

The Norfolk farmer Tony Martin, who is serving a life sentence for shooting dead an unarmed teenage burglar, is likely to spend just eight years in prison.

The minimum "tariff" is revealed in a leaked report which gives details of the recommendation by Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, on the length of sentence that Martin should serve.

The report, obtained by this evening's episode of ITV's Tonight with Trevor McDonald programme, also reveals that the trial judge recommended a minimum term of eight years, but changed his mind and suggested nine.

Martin's conviction at Norwich Crown Court in April for murdering Fred Barras, 16, with a shotgun, and wounding an accomplice, provoked a national debate about rural crime and the right of a home owner to use force in self-defence.

The recommendation for an eight year tariff - the minimum length of time Martin would have to serve in jail before he could apply for parole - will have to be agreed by Jack Straw, although the Home Secretary usually follows the judge's guidance.

Details of the tariff - among the lightest given for a life prisoner - were included in a report written by the trial judge, Mr Justice Owen. He said he thought Martin was unlikely to reoffend, but noted that he had not acted in self defence and deliberately fired at the burglars.

The Lord Chief Justice, who has to review all judges' recommendations and offer his opinion, believes "mitigating circumstances" mean that Martin should be considered for release in eight years' time.

Mr Straw will not decideon the tariff until an appeal by Martin has been heard later this year.

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