Son suffered ideas of suicide before attack

Police probe: Crime Scene Investigation officers outside the Martens' home
Police probe: Crime Scene Investigation officers outside the Martens' home
Share this article

A son accused of trying to murder his 97-year-old father has told a court it felt as though someone else was carrying out the attack at the time.

Stefan Martens, whose father Janek had been a Second World War fighter pilot, admitted having had suicidal thoughts and trying to harm himself.

But he insisted he had never intended to kill his parent who he had looked after for around 20 years.

He told the court he picked up two tools one morning, intending to take them back to the garage. But instead, he had ended up using them to injure his father.

Giving evidence at his Preston Crown Court trial he said “My intention was to cause him some harm. I’m not proud to say it. I have not come up with a proper conclusion why I did it. I don’t think I ever will.

“If only I could turn the clock back to that day.”

The defendant, 57, of Blackpool Road North, St Annes, denies a charge of attempting to murder his father in March this year, but has pleaded guilty to causing him grievous bodily harm with intent.

Mr Martens senior had a number of injuries, including a cut to his neck. He went on to suffer a cardiac arrest, but survived.

He was found lying in a back room where he slept.

The defendant spoke in his evidence of striking his father around half a dozen blows to the head with a hammer. He did not know why he then used a saw as well.

“It felt like it wasn’t me who was doing it. I have never done a thing like that in my life and never will again. I remember him saying ‘stop it, I’m your father, I’m your father’.”

“I thought ‘what am I doing’? And I phoned the police.

“I felt like I had done him some serious damage, some serious harm.

“It was never my intention to kill my own father”.

Martens also told the jury he is presently at Guild Lodge mental health hospital. In the past he worked for 32 years as a refuse collector, a job he enjoyed. He was medically discharged from that job after suffering back problems.

He said he had been proud to look after his father. His own health began to deteriorate and he started to think he wasn’t doing a good job caring for him.

Suicidal thoughts also started, with him thinking the world would be better off without him. The court heard he had low self esteem and lacked confidence.

In 2008 he was given cognitive behavioural therapy but, after two or three sessions, felt it was not for him.

Twelve months ago he took a lot of paracetamol tablets with drink, but was sick.

A few nights before the incident with his father he placed a bag over his own head, but took it off.

The day before the attack he wondered what it would be like to throw himself off a railway bridge in town.

That night he did not sleep and the thought of ending his life crossed his mind, as did the thought of ending his dad’s life.