Tony Martin and the Bleak House Tragedy

by John Sanders | History |
ISBN: 1874358370 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGrads-Cafewing of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom on 5/13/2005
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
7 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGrads-Cafewing from Cambridge, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom on Friday, May 13, 2005
This is the enthralling story of a murder case that touched a raw nerve among millions of British homeowners.

Tony Martin, a Norfolk farmer, killed a burglar and wounded another when they raided his isolated farmhouse, appropriately named Bleak House. For that he received the severest penalty that can be applied — imprisonment for life.

The central issue was, did he use reasonable force to defend his property, and perhaps his life. In this dramatic reconstruction of events, John Sanders arcgues that there was no other way that Martin could have acted in the circumstances. Examining the evidence, he concludes that the trial was gravely flawed.

Here is a murder set against a background of tension and high drama, and involving poitics and police resources. It is a case that will be talked about for years to come.

Journal Entry 2 by wingGrads-Cafewing at on Friday, May 13, 2005

Released 14 yrs ago (5/13/2005 UTC) at



Journal Entry 3 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Friday, May 27, 2005
Cool, my first OBCZ, and very well appointed it is too :)

Now that i've found it, I will hope to get into the University Centre more often, although quite a trek from my office way up Hills Road.

About the book; still very topical with his (Martins) release and the ongoing 'reasonable force' debate. It will be interesting to find out what really happened...

(16/06) Finished, review to follow...

Journal Entry 4 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, August 16, 2005
I think people may either really hate this (and not finish it), or, like me persevere and find it rewarding for offering a rational, middle-Englanders view of the state of the nation; our woeful rural policing, inconsistent justice system, moral malaise and our political correctness (or political corruption?) OK so I might be a middle-aged reactionary, but that doesn’t make me wrong ;-)

The author presents an unapologetically partisan view of the events leading up to the shooting of Brendan Fearon and death of Fred Barras, at Bleak House in 1999, and the subsequent trial and bizarre conviction of Tony Martin.

John Sanders has written this book with a journalist’s eye – not great literature – and it suffers a bit with sensational newspaper-like headlines and some dull catalogues of crimes and events. But, there are enough snippets to keep it interesting, including, some Romany history & lore, "the word chore means identically to steal, to take, or to puts no value judgement on the word"

I like to think that the ‘tragedy’ of the books title is not specifically about Tony Martin’s conviction, but more about the general contrariness and lack of apparent fairness in the way that criminal justice operates and the shadowy underclass who live and go about there chosen criminal ‘careers’; this conspiracy of the feckless and the soulless is causing people to live in fear of their property and their safety. This is an important story that has to be told and retold until people get the message...

I will leave the last word to senior policeman at the time, trying to make sense of policing policy, "We are looking at the quality of life in town centres. It’s far wider than catching criminals. It’s taking part in the wider social matrix, if you like. Catching criminals is still an integral part of police work, but we can’t just think it’s a one tactic service." Oh dear.

Journal Entry 5 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Friday, September 23, 2005
This running order meets everyones postal preferences I think:

sunflowergirl - E.Yorks, UK
spacecadetlv426 - Hull, UK
Gembear - Oxon, UK
LyekkaMarengo - PA, USA

Hopefully we might pick up more participants as we go along...this being a perpetual 'ray, i.e. I don't want it back, but would love as many reviewers as poss

Journal Entry 6 by BookGroupMan at on Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Released 14 yrs ago (10/4/2005 UTC) at



Off 'oop north' on the first leg of this bookray. Bon voyage :)

Journal Entry 7 by sunflowergirl from Carlisle, Cumbria United Kingdom on Friday, October 07, 2005
I received the book this morning, thank you. I'm looking forward to reading it, I did have another ring book arrive three days ago so I'll finish that and then get on with this book. I shouldn't be too long.

Journal Entry 8 by sunflowergirl from Carlisle, Cumbria United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 09, 2005
First of all, I must apologise for being slow to read this book. I found it was a book that I could only take in small doses, I think it's due to the style it's written in.

I did find the book fascinating though. I learnt things I didn't know about what led up to the tragedy, and I found more out about the things I did already know. It was interesting to read the book when I did as the issue of what constitutes "reasonable force" has been back in the media recently.

Most of all I am shocked at the way the police treated Tony Martin and what he had to live through.

Thanks for letting me be a part of this book ray. :o)

* * * * * * *

spacecadetlv426 is next on the list so I'm going to pass the book to him next time I see him (probably this weekend).

Journal Entry 9 by sunflowergirl from Carlisle, Cumbria United Kingdom on Sunday, November 27, 2005
I passed this book to spacecadetlv426 2 weeks ago, I'm really sorry that neither of us have journalled before now.

Journal Entry 10 by spacecadetlv426 from Hull, East Yorkshire United Kingdom on Sunday, November 27, 2005
My girlfriend has just realised that she didn't journal to say she'd passed the book to me and that I hadn't journalled to say I'd received it. I'm very sorry about this. I am slowly reading this book and will journal my thoughts on it when I've finished it. Thanks for letting me borrow the book.

Journal Entry 11 by spacecadetlv426 from Hull, East Yorkshire United Kingdom on Sunday, December 18, 2005
I found this book quite difficult to get in to, whether it was the author having a rant every now and then or the fact that I've had end of semester exams, I'm not sure. I've ended up skimming through the book and reading the bits that caught my eye. The bits that I have read were really interesting and I have learnt things about this case that I didn't know before. I'm glad I had the chance to read this book and I'm sorry that I've had it for so long.


I've Pm'd Gembear today to ask for their address, I'll post the book on once I have it.

Journal Entry 12 by spacecadetlv426 from Hull, East Yorkshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, January 04, 2006
I posted this book to Gembear today by 2nd Class Post.

Journal Entry 13 by Gembear from Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Thursday, January 19, 2006
Received the book but couldn't access the site, not sure if it was the site malfunctioning or our computer. Either way it was very frustrating not being able to log on, sorry about that!

I've a few books ahead of this one but I will get to it as soon as possible.

Journal Entry 14 by Gembear from Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Monday, February 20, 2006
A very interesting read. I was impressed with the number of cases researched where similar situations led to very different results because of who the perps were. As an Australian I find the whole idea that gypsies should somehow be treated differently from everyone else totally unacceptable. We are or should be, all equal under the law. As with Sunflowergirl I found that I needed to read and digest portions of it hence being a slow read. It is now off to the U.S.A.

Journal Entry 15 by LyekkaMarengo from Warriors Mark, Pennsylvania USA on Monday, February 27, 2006
Received safe and sound in State College, PA, USA. I love the true crime genre so I'm looking forward to this one.

Thanks for passing it on.

Journal Entry 16 by LyekkaMarengo from Warriors Mark, Pennsylvania USA on Monday, August 20, 2007
Looks like I never came back to post a review of this one. Sorry about that. This was very different from most of the true crime stories that I've read. I suspect because I'm usually reading book dealing with American crimes and the American process. It was interesting to see a different system. There is no doubt that Tony Martin killed the person in this trial and he never said otherwise. The main point of the book was, what the judge and jury felt about using reasonable force to defend your property and possibly your like. Tony Martin is not an especially likeable defendent and sadly that probably had a lot to do with how the trial turned out. I read this some time ago but I don't remember having the "density" problem that others ran into. However, I do remember the author rants that at least one mentioned. I always try to read these books with a healthy dose of skeptisism and realize that the author is presenting his case in a certain way to get a certain reaction.

Anyway, I'm now sending this off to Fungirl503 in Portland, OR who is also a true crime fan and this one is not on her bookshelf, so hopefully she will like it.

Journal Entry 17 by fungirl503 from Portland, Oregon USA on Tuesday, September 25, 2007
thanks for the books. I do love true crime. when I am done reading this book I will make sure it goes to a new home so it may have many more travels :)

Journal Entry 18 by fungirl503 at Portland, Oregon USA on Sunday, August 29, 2010
so unfair on what happen to tony Martin. I am so glad to be living in the USA. This book is going to a friend

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