Seaham man accused of murdering parents "was on drugs run for Darlington crime gang" (From The Northern Echo)
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Seaham man accused of murdering parents "was on drugs run for Darlington crime gang"
7:31pm Monday 18th March 2013 in News
A MAN accused of killing his parents for a £230,000 inheritance said today he was on a drugs run for organised crime gangs in County Durham on the day of their murders.
Stephen Seddon, 46, told a jury that he drove from his home in Seaham, County Durham, to Carrington, near Manchester, to deliver a holdall of drugs in return for cash.
The father-of-three maintained he returned straight home and did not visit parents Bob, 68, and Patricia, 65, on July 4 last year, Manchester Crown Court heard.
The Crown says Mr Seddon shot them dead at close range with a sawn-off shotgun at their address in Sale, Greater Manchester, after he failed in an attempt to previously kill them four months earlier when he drove into a canal with them aboard.
Giving evidence today, Mr Seddon denied murdering or attempting to murder them and repeatedly said he would "never hurt them".
He said last summer's trip to the North West was to deliver the bag from an organised crime group in Darlington to a counterpart group in Manchester and it was the second such job he had done.
Questioned by his barrister, Alan Hedworth QC, Mr Seddon said: "I never looked in the carrier bag. It was quite obvious what it was...drugs."
Mr Hedworth asked: "Did you have anything to do with the murder of your parents?"
Mr Seddon said: "Absolutely not."
The defendant said it never crossed his mind he would financially benefit from their deaths.
When arrested and interviewed under caution, the jury was told that Mr Seddon chose not to answer "a lot of questions" and that he made no reference to the drugs run.
Mr Seddon explained: "Operating in that league with those people, you don't mention names. It could get you killed."
The jury was told about the defendant's previous convictions which dated back to when he was aged 13 for offences of burglary, handling and theft.
In 2000 he pleaded guilty at Teesside Crown Court to fraudulent trading involving his company that advised on European Union grants.
It was said his then firm had an annual turnover of £5m and he had £2m in his bank account.
Mr Seddon agreed it enabled him to fund a luxury lifestyle which included buying a Bentley Turbo, which was chauffeur-driven.
His conviction for fraud though led to his lifestyle "crumbling down", he said.
He had been unemployed since late 2011 and was financially dependent on his parents.
During cross-examination, Peter Wright QC, said to Mr Seddon: "What you were doing was spending your inheritance in advance of your parents dying."
Mr Seddon said: "I was not expecting them to die."
Mr Wright countered: "I am going to suggest that not only were you expecting them to die but you caused their deaths."
"No", said Mr Seddon.
"Having failed to achieve that in March you set about doing it by different means," said the prosecutor.
"No," he repeated.
Mr Seddon, of Benavente Street, denies two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
The trial continues.