Seaham man goes on trial charged with murdering parents over £230,000 will

The Northern Echo: FOUND DEAD: Patricia and Bob Seddon, of Clough Avenue, Sale FOUND DEAD: Patricia and Bob Seddon, of Clough Avenue, Sale

AN "ungrateful" father-of-three executed his elderly parents with a sawn-off shotgun to inherit £230,000, a court heard.

It is alleged Stephen Seddon murdered Robert Seddon, 68, and Patricia, 65 - who had already bought his house and gifted him £40,000 - after the couple survived a car crash he had faked months earlier.

The 46-year-old, of Seaham, County Durham, shot his parents at close range before planting the gun in his father's lap to make it appear a murder-suicide, Manchester Crown Court was told.

Peter Wright, QC, prosecuting, said the unemployed businessman was in debt and decided his parents "had to die" so he could inherit everything.

Mr Seddon, of Benevente Street, Seaham, denies two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

The bodies of Robert and Patricia Seddon were found on July 6 last year at their home in Sale, Greater Manchester.

''In the immediate aftermath of shooting this elderly couple, the killer placed the shotgun used to dispatch both of them, in the lap of Robert Seddon, taking his right hand and placing it on the weapon in order to give the impression that he shot his wife and proceeded to take his own life," Mr Wright said.

''The person responsible not only wanted rid of Robert and Patricia Seddon, a quiet, unassuming, elderly couple. He wanted to lay a false trail."

''A trail, we say, he hoped would lead away rather than towards a man with a considerable motive to kill these two people. That man was their son, the defendant, Stephen Seddon.''

Mr Wright said the couple enjoyed a "modest but comfortable" life but tragedy struck in 2008 when their daughter, Lesley, died aged 40, leaving them to raise her son Daniel.

They made a will in October 2009, naming each other as beneficiary, with an estate, after liabilities, valued at £230,00.

But if both died, Stephen Seddon ''got the lot''. That's why they both had to die."

Stephen Seddon, who lived in Seaham with wife Nicola and their children, had been jobless since October 2011.

Mr Wright said: ''At the time of these murders, he had money problems and an insatiable thirst for cash."

The jury heard that on March 20 last year Stephen Seddon, also known as Nic, made his first attempt to kill his parents by faking a car accident.

Hiring a BMW, he drove to Manchester on the pretext of treating his parents to a surprise meal, he added.

With his parents and nephew in the car, he drove along a road beside the Bridgewater Canal in Timperley, south Manchester, when the car veered into the water.

Mr Wright said the defendant explained he had a heart problem and had clutched his chest and the car went in the water. Tests found nothing to indicate a heart attack. He also suggested he had hit a brick, but no debris was found.

Mr Wright described Mr Seddon as ''doubly fortunate'' to be carrying a lock-knife and car crooklock he used to cut his own seatbelt and break the windows.

"The accolades showered upon him as the rescuer of his parents may have been music to his ears but did little to alleviate his financial problems.

''He needed to resort to more severe methods to bring about their deaths, which were not a terrible tragedy but rather a double murder at the hands of an ungrateful son.''

In December 2011, Seddon's parents took equity from their own home to buy their son's Seaham terraced home for £89,950.

''In addition to provision of a roof over their son's head, he (Robert Seddon) also provided their son with a substantial amount of cash over the same period - a little under £40,000,'' added Mr Wright.

''Even this was insufficient to satisfy the needs of Stephen Seddon.''

The trial, expected to last six weeks, continues.

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