Son guilty of trying to kill 97-year-old dad

Crime scene investigators at the house, on Blackpool Road North, St Annes, where a man was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
Crime scene investigators at the house, on Blackpool Road North, St Annes, where a man was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
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A ‘gentle giant’ has been found guilty of attempting to murder his 97-year-old war hero father.

Stefan Martens, 57, was convicted of attempting to kill his father Janek Martens, a former Second World War fighter pilot, following a unanimous verdict by a jury at Preston Crown Court.

He had admitted causing grievous bodily harm but said that he had not intended to end his father’s life.

The court had heard how the attack, which involved a hammer, saw and possibly a chair, had taken place at the home they shared on Blackpool Road North, St Annes at about 8:30am on March 30.

Jurors had heard that Stefan Martens had hit his father half a dozen times with the hammer before continuing the attack with a saw.

He told the court he had only stopped following his father’s pleas and had then thought ‘What am I doing?’

Mr Martens senior was found with blood over his face and arms, a wound to the back of the head, cuts to his face and a 4cm long cut to the right of his neck, as well as an arm injury.

He survived despite suffering a cardiac arrest.

Principal Crown Advocate, Mr Francis McEntee, had told how Stefan Martens had called 999 and said: “I think I have killed my father”.

Summing up ,Judge Stuart Baker had reminded jurors of evidence that Martens had told a psychiatrist who assessed him following his arrest that he had thoughts the previous night about killing his father.

The court had heard that Martens had found life as his father’s full-time carer increasingly difficult and also been medically discharged from his job as a refuse collector after 32 years due to back problems.

He had become depressed and the court was told he had also said he had been feeling suicidal and homicidal in his call to the emergency services.

But Mr Christopher Hudson, defending, had insisted that while Martens had admitted to losing control he had not told the psychiatrist he had intended to kill his father.

He said he had brought the hammer into the house to dust it and had wanted to look at the saw.

Mr Hudson also pointed to testimonials from family, friends and colleagues – including his father - which he said summed up Martens as “an honest straight forward chap who tells the truth” and a ‘gentle giant’.

Mr Baker raised those issues in summing up, and also pointed to evidence from nurse Karen Harte, who had examined and spoken to Martens at the police station just an hour after the incident.

She had told the court he had said he had got the cuts ‘when I tried to kill my father’ - although Mr Hudson had alleged her evidence could not be relied upon because she had described Martens both as ‘talkative’ and ‘quiet’.

Martens had said he could not remember what he had said to the nurse.

Jurors took less than two hours to deliver their verdict.

Martens was remanded in custody until October 29, when he will be sentenced following the preparation of a pre-sentence report.