'Murder confession' letter was 'therapy', court hears

Michael Martin Jnr has been accused of murdering his father, Michael Martin Snr. Photo: contributed
Michael Martin Jnr has been accused of murdering his father, Michael Martin Snr. Photo: contributed Liana Turner

HE WROTE a letter to his beloved wife Candace about feeling terrible guilt over letting his "animal side" take over and committing the "unthinkable".

On the face of it, it was a clear cut confession to the violent bashing and murder of his father. But Michael Phillip Martin has told a court the letter was written as "therapy" to confront nightmares over his father's untimely death.

The 28-year-old is on trial in the Supreme Court in Lismore for the attempted murder and subsequent murder of his father, Michael Anthony Martin, in South Murwillumbah in April and June 2014.

In the letter, Martin wrote: "I feel so guilty... for the way I let myself lose control.... the animal side got the better of me." He later wrote that he "had a choice that night" and "I carried through with my plan".

Martin yesterday told the court his counsellor asked him to write such letters and "sometimes I would burn the letters (to) release the emotions".

Wearing a black suit, white shirt and black rimmed glasses, the softly spoken Martin said he still blamed himself for his father's death.

He said by the time he wrote the letter more than six months after the death of his father "I was completely blaming myself for the crime".

"I'd done nothing in reality but in my mind I felt I'd done every little bit of suffering that (occurred to) my dad."

But the Crown alleged the letter was a cut and dry admission of guilt.

"The letter on its face is a confession... I suggest it's a confession to your wife Candace because it's the truth," Crown Prosecutor Brendan Campbell told Martin.

Martin took out $2.5 million in life insurance policies in his father's name before his father's death. Under the Crown's cross examination he admitted he had lied several times over the insurance policies, including pretending to be his father.

"That was your bright idea, to profit from your father's death and to make that come to fruition you tried to kill him," Mr Campbell alleged.

Mr Campbell asked Martin why he didn't tell police about the insurance policies he had taken out after the April home invasion.

"Did you think it might be important for the people investigating that your father was in fear of his life and got you to take out $2.5 million in life insurance policies?" he asked.

The court heard that Martin later tried to make a claim on one of the insurance policies for which he was the sole beneficiary in July 2014 and discovered he would have to provide a police report and a coroners report in order to make a successful claim.

It was only then that he mentioned to police about a "little" accidental death policy.

The trial, before Justice Peter Hamill, continues.

Topics:  editors picks michael phillip martin murwillumbah murder northern rivers crime samurai sword murder

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