Son found guilty of sawn-off shotgun "execution" of his parents for 230,000 inheritance after they survived car crash he staged to kill them

Son found guilty of sawn-off shotgun 'execution' of his parents for 230,000 inheritance after they survived car crash he staged to kill themStephen Seddon shot Robert, 68, and Patricia, 65, with a sawn-off shotgun
Four months earlier he tried to kill the couple by staging a fake road crash
He drove into a canal with them strapped in the back seats of a carFound guilty of two counts of attempted murder and two counts of murder

By
Anthony Bond

PUBLISHED:

15:19 GMT, 27 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:59 GMT, 27 March 2013

A man with an 'insatiable thirst' for money is facing life in jail today after being found guilty of the cold-blooded 'execution' of his parents for a 230,000 inheritance.

Convicted fraudster Stephen Seddon, 46, shot his parents Robert Seddon, 68, and Patricia, 65, with a sawn-off shotgun at their suburban home in Sale, Greater Manchester.

Just four months earlier, he had tried to murder the couple by staging a faked road accident by driving into a canal with them strapped in the back seats of a car.

Stephen Seddon

Seddon gun

Guilty: Stephen Seddon, 46, left, shot his parents at their home with this shotgun, right. He was today found guilty of killing them and is facing life in prison

Convicted: 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. Patricia and Bob are pictured with Stephen

Convicted: 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. Patricia and Bob are pictured with Stephen

Seddon then 'played the hero' in the aftermath of the 'accident' when bystanders went to their aid in the submerged vehicle.

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 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.

After the failed canal crash plan to kill his parents, Seddon was not investigated for attempted murder – or even charged with any road offence.

Seddon claimed a brick in the road caused him to swerve and plunge into the water – at the only stretch of the road without a crash barrier. No brick was ever found.

He also climbed on top of the car in 'rescue' efforts, until witnesses shouted at him to stop because he was making the vehicle sink.

nic seddon

The court heard Bob Seddon, 68, suspected that a earlier car crash into a canal was an attempt by his son
to kill him and his wife Patricia, 65

Tragic: The couple's bodies were discovered after a neighbour raised the alarm and police broke into their house in Manchester

Tragic: The couple's bodies were discovered after a neighbour raised the alarm and police broke into their house in Manchester

Seddon staged a fainting episode
minutes later, clutching his chest and collapsing to the ground, but
doctors found no problems with his heart.

Seddon's parents did nothing to raise
the alarm, and Seddon himself played the hero to the press after the
crash, claiming to have helped the rescue attempts.

The
whole incident was treated like any other road accident and it was only
after Mr and Mrs Seddon were murdered that police looked at it again.

Detective
Superintendent Denise Worth, from Greater Manchester Police, said: 'There was a lot of accounts from witnesses that something was a bit
strange

Shocking: Seddon had previously tried to murder his father, Robert, 68, and mother Patricia, 65, by driving into a canal with them strapped in the back seats in a fake road accident

Shocking: Seddon had previously tried to murder his father, Robert, 68, and mother Patricia, 65, by driving into a canal with them strapped in the back seats in a fake road accident

Health problems: Patricia Seddon was left unconscious after the crash, and was rushed to a nearby hospital

Health problems: Patricia Seddon was left unconscious after the crash, and was rushed to a nearby hospital

'He said he had hit a brick and had chest pains or could have had a blackout. He didn't really know why he went into the water.

'As a singular incident it was treated as an accident at the time. It was only when we got to the situation in July there was evidence that didn't fit and it was looked back on.'

Asked if police could have done more, Ms Worth said: 'In hindsight – it's a wonderful thing – possibly. I do think we were dealing with a singular incident where nobody was saying anything.

'I think that we were satisfied at the time that it was just a difficult decision to make. He is a very, very convincing man. He revels in that kind of attention.

'I don't think there was any suggestion at the time that it was anything more than an RTA (road traffic accident).'

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.

Happier times: Robert and Patricia Seddon are pictured on their wedding day

Happier times: Robert and Patricia Seddon are pictured on their wedding day

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.

Recovery: A salvage crew is pictured recover a black BMW car which Seddon drove into a canal in Timperley, Greater Manchester in an attempt to kill his parents

Recovery: A salvage crew is pictured recover a black BMW car which Seddon drove into a canal in Timperley, Greater Manchester in an attempt to kill his parents

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.

Greed drove Seddon to murder his parents

Stephen Seddon has become one of the very rare number of people whose greed drove him to the ultimate crime – not only murder but the murder of his own parents.

For Seddon money was his 'whole world' and when he got it, he spent it fast.

Even the lives of his mother and father were just an obstacle to overcome to get his grasping hands on cash.

Close: Pat and Bob Seddon, pictured, had been married for 47 years

Close: Pat and Bob Seddon, pictured, had been married for 47 years

Detective Superintendent Denise Worth, of Greater Manchester Police, said: 'This job is probably one that is very, very difficult for anybody to contemplate.

'That anybody could kill their parents, to plan it, and to do it for money is indescribable. I cannot imagine that there are many people in the world that could do it.'

Seddon was leaching off his parents' modest wealth for years before he murdered them.
In one of the last acts of his life, his father paid his son's 60 speeding fine.

His parents had already bought Seddon's home in Seaham, Co Durham to keep a roof over his family's heads.

Seddon was supposed to pay his father rent – but it was not clear if money ever changed hands.

Seddon grew up in Timperley, a Manchester suburb. His father worked for British Airways and the family were 'comfortable'.

He began offending at the age of just 13, appearing before youth courts for offences of burglary, handling and theft.

Grim: The bodies of the elderly couple were discovered after police were called to their home in Sale

Grim: The bodies of the elderly couple were discovered after police were called to their home in Sale

Further convictions followed as an adult for taking vehicles without consent and he was jailed at Bolton Crown Court in 1989 for a series of offences including obtaining goods by deception, theft and making off without payment.

He met his wife Nicola, an ex-model who is from the Sunderland area, in a lap dancing bar in Manchester 17 years ago and they moved to the North East.

His offending continued and he developed a taste for the high life.

He worked mainly in sales and in the late '90s set up a firm, European Business Support, providing grants to small businesses.

The firm charged businesses 295 on the promise it would help secure European funding.

His firm grew to an annual turnover of 5 million and he had 2 million in his bank account at one point.

Ms Worth said: 'Seddon has had quite a lavish life in some respects.

'He has always had a fair amount of money. He has always had fairly well-paid jobs, so he has not had any financial difficulties.

'When he had his own company he had a really, really lavish lifestyle.'

He bought a Bentley Turbo, hired a chauffeur and enjoyed jetting around the world, staying first class – again it was all just show.

There were no European grants – he simply kept the cash.

In 2000 Seddon pleaded guilty at Teeside Crown Court to fraudulent trading and was jailed for a year.

In the weeks before killing his parents he was desperate for money, applying for high-interest, instant- access loans from various finance firms.

On the day he carried out the killing he had just 5.45 in his bank account.