A MAN blasted his mother and father to death with a sawn-off shotgun to inherit a £230,000 will after they survived a car crash he had faked months earlier, a court has heard.
Stephen Seddon, of Benevente Street, Seaham murdered Robert Seddon, 68, and Patricia, 65, in their suburban home because they survived after he drove a car into a Manchester canal with them strapped in the back seats in an earlier bid to kill them, it is alleged.
The 46-year-old father-of-three had debts and an insatiable need for cash, Manchester Crown Court was told.
Despite the elderly and caring couple gifting their son £40,000 in cash and buying his home to keep a roof over his head, his parents “had to die” because he stood to inherit everything in their wills, it is alleged.
He shot them both at close range - then planted the gun in his father’s lap to make it look like a murder-suicide at the family home in Sale, Greater Manchester, the court was told.
Seddon denies two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Peter Wright QC, opening the case for the prosecution, told the jury: “On July 6 last year, the bodies of Robert and Patricia Seddon were discovered at their home address, 37 Clough Avenue, Sale.
“They had each been shot at close range with a sawn-off shotgun.
“Patricia Seddon was found in the hallway.
“She had been shot in the head at very close range.
“Robert Seddon was lying on a sofa in an adjoining room.
“He had been shot from a range of about one-and-a-half metres, in all likelihood as he was stood or about to get up from the sofa.
“The killer did not appear to have stolen anything. The house appeared undisturbed. Robbery did not appear to be a motive.
“The killer wished to keep his motive a secret.
“In the immediate aftermath of these executions, the killer had taken steps to make it look as if the person responsible was in fact, Robert Seddon, the husband of Patricia, and the man lying dead on the sofa.
“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.
“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.”
Alleged murder happened on ‘normal’ suburban street
Mr and Mrs Seddon lived in a semi-detached house, which they bought in 1987 and owned outright, and spent their retirement in a “normal suburban avenue in a quiet suburban part of south Manchester”, the jury heard.
They enjoyed a “modest but comfortable” life, with Mr Seddon getting an occupational pension from British Airways and Mrs Seddon her state pension.
Tragedy struck the family in September 2008 when their daughter, Lesley, died at the age of 40, leaving her parents to look after her son, Daniel, who lived with them at the family property.
The couple made a will in October 2009, naming each other as beneficiary if one of them died, with their assets valued at £356,000 and, after liabilities, an estate worth £230,000.
But if they both died, Stephen Seddon “got the lot”, the court heard.
“That’s why they both had to die,” Mr Wright added.
Stephen Seddon lived at 19 Benevente Street in Seaham, with his wife Nicola and their children.
But he had been out of work since October 2011 and by March the following year was under financial pressure.
Mr Wright continued: “At the time of these murders, he had money problems and an insatiable thirst for cash.
“He was the sole beneficiary of their will but, in order to inherit, he needed them both dead.”
The jury heard that on March 20 last year Seddon made the first attempt to kill his parents by faking the car accident.
Instead of using his own VW Passat, Seddon hired a BMW and drove from his home in the North East to Manchester on the pretext of treating his parents to a surprise meal, a belated Mother’s Day present.