A Hemel Hempstead man who beat his brother to death during a violent row over the inheritance of their family home was jailed for life today (June 6).
Richard Martin was left seething after being kicked out of the half a million pound property which brother John had ended up with.
After waking up in his humble bedsit during the early hours of his 53rd birthday, Richard made his way on foot to the detached property in Malmes Croft where he had once lived with his brother and their parents.
Then, after breaking in, he used a metal bar and a brick to bludgeon John to death during a prolonged fight in the hallway, a bedroom and lounge of the house.
After killing 55-year-old John, he dragged the brother’s naked and battered body out through the patio doors to a garden shed outside.
Later that night Richard Martin, an electrical engineer in a lathe making factory, slept in the house for the first time in years and was reunited with the family’s pet Labrador dog, Rocky.
Police discovered what had happened after John failed to turn up on the day he was killed for a Saturday afternoon singles match at the tennis club where he’d been a lifelong member.
John, a retired warehouse operator, had been going to the Leverstock Green Tennis Club in Hemel Hempstead club for 43 years, having joined as a young boy, and no-one could ever remember him missing a game before.
He was regarded as one of the best players at the club.
The following day Monday, June 11 with concerns growing for John, police officers were sent to his home in Hemel Hempstead.
Richard Martin opened the door and told them “John can’t some because he is dead – I killed him.”
In the garden shed the police made the grim discovery.
Today (Thurs) at Luton Crown Court Richard Martin, of Barley Croft, Hemel Hempstead, Herts., admitted murdering his brother in the early hours of Saturday June 9 last year.
He was told he will have to serve a minimum of 18 years behind bars and would not be eligible for release on licence until he is 71.
Passing sentence on Richard Martin, Judge Foster told him his behaviour after the murder was “bizarre and chilling.“
He said “You looked after your brother’s dog. You went out to a public house for a drink. You slept in your father’s old bedroom. The next day you moved the body to the garden shed. You attended your voluntary work with the local Scouts. On the Sunday you went to the cinema with a friend.
“You went to work as usual on the Monday morning, having had breakfast and walked the dog.”
The judge said everything he had heard indicated Richard Martin had been a loving son to his parents.
“So it was that your brother inherited the family home. You felt injustice because of what had happened.”
The court heard although at the start of the incident when he had got into the house Richard Martin had not intended to kill his brother, that was to change when during the fight John said he had been the “perfect son.”
Judge Foster read out part of Richard’s evidence to the court last month in which he said: “It completely enraged me and I lost it. I had not intended to kill him until this point. I became deranged, I felt hatred and lost it.
“I saw a brick and picked it up. I hit him over the head. I jumped on top of him and hit him several times. I only stopped when he stopped breathing for the last time.”
The judge told Martin “I have been able to see you give evidence. You recounted what you did and how you did it, in as cold and callous a manner as the act itself. In my judgement you have no regrets for what you did – to the contrary you still seek to justify it.”