A MAN with an “insatiable thirst” for money was facing life in jail today for the cold-blooded “execution” of his parents for his £230,000 inheritance.
Convicted fraudster Stephen Seddon, 46, had once before tried to murder his father, Robert Seddon, 68, and mother, Patricia, 65, by driving into a canal with them strapped in the back seats in a faked road accident.
Seddon then “played the hero” in the aftermath of the “accident” after aborting the murder plan when bystanders went to their aid in the submerged car.
But after that plan failed, four months later he blasted the couple to death with a sawn-off shotgun at their suburban home in Sale, Greater Manchester.
His parents had made him sole beneficiary of their £230,000 estate in their will - and paid with their lives.
Today, the father of three, from Benevente Street in Seaham, County Durham, was convicted of two counts of attempted murder on March 20 last year and two counts of murder on July 4, after a five-week trial at Manchester Crown Court.
Seddon shook his head in resignation as he stood in the dock as the foreman of the jury delivered their four guilty verdicts.
Seddon was found guilty by a majority of 11 to one on each count following 18 hours and 11 minutes of deliberations by the jury.
The victims’ family shouted “Yes!” and burst into tears, hugging each other in the public gallery.
The court heard the defendant now faces four life sentences but Alan Hedworth QC, defending, asked the judge to consider not giving a “whole life” tariff so that Seddon would spend the rest of his days behind bars.
Mr Justice Hamblen said he would like to reflect on the matter and told the court he will pass sentence tomorrow morning.
He thanked the jury and told them they would be welcome to return to court in the morning to see sentence passed.
Seddon was led down from the dock.
Thirst for money
Seddon had lived the high life in the past, posing in his Bentley Turbo, jetting around the world and staying at the Waldorf Astoria in New York on one trip.
The money came from a scam and he was jailed for fraud but his thirst for money remained unquenched.
Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, described him as the ultimate “ungrateful son” who had an “insatiable thirst for cash”.
His elderly and caring parents had already gifted him £40,000 in cash and bought his home in Seaham, Co Durham, to keep a roof over his head.
They enjoyed a “modest but comfortable” life, with Mr Seddon getting an occupational pension from British Airways and Mrs Seddon her state pension.
The couple, married for 47 years, made a will in October 2009, naming each other as beneficiary if one of them died, with their estate worth £230,000.
But if they both died, their son Stephen “got the lot”.
On March 20 last year Seddon made the first attempt to kill his parents by faking the car accident.
He 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.
With his parents and nephew Daniel in the hired car, Seddon drove along a stretch of road beside the Bridgewater Canal in Timperley, south Manchester, where the vehicle veered off the carriageway and into the water.
Daniel managed to free himself and reach safety while Seddon was seen on the roof of the car, trying to kick the windows in and apparently shouting for help.
Witnesses who ran to assist shouted for him to get off the car - as he was making it sink.
Mrs Seddon was pulled from the water after “huge heroism” shown by one fireman and her life was saved after she was given emergency CPR at the scene.
Seddon gave “many and varied” accounts of why the “accident” happened.
He told a police officer at the scene that he had a problem with his heart, clutched his chest and the car ended up in the water.
He then collapsed to the ground but tests in hospital showed nothing to indicate he had suffered a heart attack.
Seddon also suggested that the car had hit a brick, but no debris could be found and experts thought it would be “highly improbable” for that to be the cause of the crash.
By July last year his father at least had come to realise the terrible truth about his son.
Robert Seddon confided in his GP that he believed the canal “accident” four months earlier had been a deliberate attempt to kill him - and he intended to confront his son.
The next day he was dead.
His wife, still recovering from the car “accident”, tried to fight Seddon when he produced the sawn-off shotgun.
She was found in the hallway, blasted in the temple from close range as she lay on the floor.
His father was shot in the neck as he got up from a sofa in the lounge.
Police believe it was almost a triple murder.
Tragedy struck the Seddons in September 2008 when their daughter, Lesley, died at the age of 40, leaving her parents to look after her disabled son, Daniel, who lived with them at the family property.
Chillingly police revealed that Seddon had taken three shotgun cartridges with him - he did not realise his nephew was in respite care that day and so not at home when the killer came calling.
Seddon planted the gun in his father’s lap, taking his right hand and placing it on the weapon to give the impression of a murder suicide.
But police investigations showed it was not possible for Mr Seddon to have shot himself in the position in which he was found - his arms were not long enough and the recoil from the blast would not leave the weapon resting in his lap.
Police also then began to look again at the earlier car “accident” at the canal.
Seddon’s reaction when police called with the “news” of his parents’ murders, was: “What am I going to do now? I’m going to lose the house, the mortgage is in my dad’s name.”
He denied the shooting and said it was “ridiculous” to claim he had tried to kill his own mother and father and “sick” to suggest he had intended to murder his nephew as well.