A COURT has heard of the aftermath when an “ungrateful son” tried to kill his parents for a £230,000 inheritance by allegedly driving them into a canal.
Stephen Seddon, 46, staged the “accident” by driving into a Manchester canal with his father Robert Seddon, 68, mother Patricia, 65, and nephew Daniel, 27, all aboard the BMW car.
The father of three from Seaham, County Durham, who had an “insatiable thirst” for his parents’ money, was the sole beneficiary of their £230,000 estate and stood to get the lot in their will.
Seddon later played the hero after his parents survived the alleged canal murder plot so he later completed the double-killing, Manchester Crown Court heard.
The elderly, quiet and unassuming couple were found blasted at close range with a sawn-off shotgun at the family’s suburban home in Sale, Greater Manchester on July 4 last year.
Four months earlier on March 20, Seddon made the first unsuccessful attempt to get his hands on their money by allegedly staging the canal crash.
He told police later a brick in the road may have caused him to swerve off the road and into the water.
Seddon hired a BMW and drove from his home in the North East on the pretext of taking his parents and nephew, who has learning difficulties, out for a belated Mother’s Day meal.
Ruth Carroll told the court she was driving along Canal Road in Timperley, south Manchester, around 8pm on a dark, cold but dry night when she noticed headlights of a car being driven fast coming towards her “all of a sudden.”
“At the time I thought it might be joyriders - just the speed,” she told the court.
“The lights sort of went off to my left and I saw the side of the vehicle, then it seemed to go up and it went into the canal.”
Miss Carroll pulled up and called emergency services before getting out of her car.
“I saw some people standing on the canal bank. There was the car and then I saw somebody sat on top of the car. He appeared to be kicking backwards at the car, shouting, ‘Help me! Please help me!’
“A little bit after I got out of my car there appeared to be an older gentleman get out of the canal.”
Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, asked the witness: “Did you see anything out of the ordinary during the time you were in the vicinity and observing these events?”
“No,” Miss Carroll replied.
“Any brick or obstruction in the road at the time?”
“No,” she again replied.
Elliot Fox lived in the Bridge Apartments overlooking the canal and from his balcony could see the BMW’s lights on under the water.
Mr Fox told the jury he dashed to the scene and saw Seddon in the water trying to break the windows of the car.
The defendant then climbed up on top of the vehicle to kick back against the windows with his heels.
“At this point I had to shout for him to get off the car, as it was making it sink,” Mr Fox said.
“I repeated it and he got off the car.”
Daniel Seddon had got out of the car through the front passenger window and reached the far canal side, Mr Seddon senior had managed to get out of one back window with the help of his son, but Patricia Seddon was still in the car.
“The female passenger could not get out of the windows. She wasn’t moving, sitting completely still and remained there until the car eventually became fully submerged,” Mr Fox said.
A fireman showed “huge heroism”, the court heard, by jumping into the murky waters of the Bridgewater Canal and swam with an axe to break the back window of the vehicle.
“He was saying, ‘I have her hand!’ through the back window. Two other firemen had to go in to assist.
“The car was submerged for one or two minutes but eventually she was pulled out of the car.”
Later “out of curiosity” he checked the scene for evidence of a brick but found none.
Seddon denies two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. The trial was adjourned until Monday.