Man who killed brother in row over family home is jailed for life

Jealous man, 55, who beat his brother to death so he could move back into the family home he felt he should have inherited is jailed for life

  • Brother furious after he was written out of his father’s will and not given house
  • On his 53rd birthday, he broke in and fought with his brother, killing him
  • He then lived in home, looking after the family dog and sleeping in father’s bed
  • Judge jails him, saying the case shows how ‘money can tear a family apart’

Richard Martin has been jailed for life for murder after bludgeoning his brother to death because he was angry at not inheriting their parents’ home

A jealous man who beat his brother to death with a metal pole before moving back into the family home he had been denied by his father’s will has been jailed for life for murder.

Richard Martin was angry after being kicked out of the £500,000 property in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, which his older brother John later inherited.

In June last year, on his 53rd birthday, he broke into the detached house, bludgeoned John to death with a metal bar and a brick, and dragged his body to the garden shed.

When tennis player John, 55, failed to turn up for a game at his local club, fellow members raised the alarm and police went to his house.

They found Richard inside, who told them: ‘John can’t some because he is dead – I killed him.’

Richard Martin, an electrical engineer in a lathe making factory now 55 himself, admitted murder and was today given a life sentence with a minimum term of 18 years.

Judge Richard Foster told him: ‘You murdered your brother in horrific circumstances on what was your 53rd birthday.

‘The background to this case makes sad reading. It is an example of how money and possessions can be a force for evil when they tear a family apart.’

Victim John was a well-known local tennis player and club members raised the alarm after he failed to turn up to a planned game

The court heard the family had moved into the detached house in the quiet area of Leverstock Green in Hemel Hempstead with their parents William and Jean in 1971, when Richard was six years old and John was eight.

They two brothers later got jobs in local factories and remained single.

Twelve years ago, their mother Jean became ill with lung cancer and Richard Martin had played a big part in her care.

But, following the death of the mother in December 2012, Richard was asked to leave the house by his father, William.

John looked after his father in the years that followed, even taking early retirement at the start of 2018 to do so.

Unknown to Richard, his father changed his Will, leaving the house to John.

And when the old man eventually died in November 2015, it was John who inherited his parents’ estate and Richard was left out in the cold.

The changing of the father’s Will meant Richard didn’t get what he assumed was coming to him.

Police found killer Richard in the family home, when they asked for his brother, he replied: ‘He can’t some because he is dead – I killed him.’

There had been trouble in the past caused when Richard turned up at the house and John had obtained a restraining order on his brother and had put new locks on the door.

Richard Martin claimed his brother had ‘set about poisoning the mind’ of their father so that he ended up being disinherited from his estate.

Mr Speak told the court that after his arrest on Monday June 11 last year, Richard Martin was interviewed and told detectives he believed his father’s new will had in fact been a forgery.

The court was told in the build up to the killing Richard was angry and bitter believing his brother John had no right to be in the house.

He told the court: ‘I was angry and frustrated and that’s when I made the decision to go round to the house. I just wanted my brother out of the house. I felt he had no right to be living in that house.

‘I was going to break in and throw him out. It just came to me that morning, I was just so angry and irate,’ he said.

A defence barrister told Luton Crown Court (pictured) the case was a ‘Shakespearean tragedy’

He said he took with him a metal bar to break into the house and having used it to get in, his brother came running down the stairs naked to challenge him.

‘I was fighting with him because I wanted him out of the house. We were screaming and shouting at each other,’ he said.

In the lounge he said his brother had made the comment to him that he had been ‘the perfect son’ and he said that was when he had ‘lost it.’

Richard said: ‘That completely enraged me and that’s when I completely lost it. I saw a brick on the windowsill and picked it up and struck him,’

As his brother lay on the floor he said he jumped on top of him and continued to beat him about the head with the brick.

‘I kept hitting him till I heard him breathe out for the last time and then I stopped. I was in shock and couldn’t fathom out what I’d done.’

He added: ‘I didn’t mean to kill my brother.’

After the killing, Richard Martin lived at the house once more and went to work a usual and looked after Rocky, his family’s pet dog. At night he slept in his father’s bedroom.

He told the court: ‘It was my home. It had been my home for many years. It’s where I felt safe and comfortable.’

Before sentence was passed today, his barrister Justin Rouse QC described the case as ‘something of a Shakespearean tragedy’ where a father had disinherited his son simply for not showing enough emotion while another son had inveigled his way into his father’s affections.


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