Son 'Killed His Parents For Inheritance'

Becky Johnson, North of England Correspondent
Son 'Killed His Parents For Inheritance'

A man has gone on trial accused of shooting dead his parents in order to claim his inheritance.

A jury at Manchester Crown Court was told that Stephen Seddon, 46, from Seaham, County Durham, murdered his parents because he had money problems and was the sole beneficiary of their wills.

Robert Seddon, 68, and his wife Patricia, 65, were shot at their home in Clough Avenue, Sale, Greater Manchester, in July 2012.

Months earlier, the prosecution alleges, their son had tried to kill them in a staged car accident.

The court heard that Mrs Seddon had been shot in the head "at very close range" and was found in the hallway. Her husband was shot in the living room and was found slumped on the sofa.

Opening the prosecution case, Peter Wright QC told the court "the killer wanted to make it look like Robert was responsible" and had placed the sawn off shotgun in the lap of the dead man, putting his right hand on the weapon.

The court heard that Stephen Seddon, who is married and a father of three, had lost his job in October 2011. His family was living on benefits claimed by his wife.

He was indebted to his parents, who were described as "unassuming" pensioners who lived a "modest but comfortable" life.

They had given their son almost £40,000 and bought a house for him on the agreement they would pay the mortgage and he would pay rent to them.

In spite of this, the court heard, Stephen Seddon had an "insatiable thirst for cash" and had made a number of online applications for loans. He knew he would inherit £230,000 if both his parents died.

The jury was told that on March 20, 2012, Seddon made his first attempt to kill them. He had hired a BMW and driven to his parents' home in Sale telling them he was taking them for a surprise belated Mother's Day meal out.

Witnesses saw the car speeding along a stretch of road in Timperley which runs alongside the Bridgewater Canal, then swerving suddenly and plunging into the canal.

The jury was told that when firefighters arrived at the scene Stephen Seddon was standing on the roof of the car. He was told to get off because he was making the car sink.

His parents were trapped in the back seats. They were rescued and Stephen Seddon went on to give "many and various" accounts of the cause of the accident, claiming to some people he had blacked out and telling others he had hit a brick on the road.

The court was told that after his parents survived Stephen Seddon "needed to resort to a more certain method by which to bring about their deaths, one by which he could maintain the pretence that any such event was as a result of a terrible tragedy rather than a double murder at the hand of an ungrateful son".

Stephen Seddon denies murder and attempted murder. The trial continues.