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8 June 2015
By Rob Kennedy
A son allegedly murdered his mum and dad then tried to cover his tracks by staging a break-in and injuring himself with a brick and scissors, a court heard.
Martin Ruddy is alleged to have strangled his mum, Carol, with a HDMI cable and killed his dad, Eric, by inflicting knife wounds and blunt force trauma to his head.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the couple had anti-depressants in their system of the kind prescribed to Ruddy weeks earlier and which can cause drowsiness.
Jurors were told the 28-year-old, who was in financial peril at the time and whose marriage was on the rocks, stood to be the sole beneficiary of more than £87,000 in Eric’s will.
However Ruddy insists he did not kill his parents and said hooded men turned up at his mum and dad’s home in Elswick and attacked him and them as they sat watching Olly Murs on television.
But prosecutor John Elvidge QC said there were no intruders and that former door supervisor Ruddy was trying to cover his tracks.
Mr Elvidge said: “The defendant has claimed that they were attacked in the course of a burglary when three intruders, one armed with a hammer, forced their way into the house.
“The prosecution case is there was no burglary and there were no intruders. It was the defendant who killed his own parents.
“The prosecution say he killed his parents then sought to cover his tracks by staging a burglary and feigning injury to himself with a brick and scissors.”
The court heard that by the time of the alleged murders in December last year at Carol and Eric’s home on Bentinck Street, Elswick, Ruddy’s life was allegedly “running out of control”.
Mr Elvidge said: “His finances were in a perilous state, his marriage had reached breaking point and his behaviour was erratic and volatile.
“Remarkably in August, September and October last year he was telling people his father was dead, a fiction he maintained and embellished before it became fact.”
It was around 10.20pm on Friday December 12 when Ruddy knocked on a neighbour’s door with a small pair of nail scissors sticking out of the front of his right shoulder, saying he had been stabbed by intruders.
The neighbour went into the house and saw Eric lying on his back in the hallway with a pillow under his head, clearly dead.
In the living room, Carol was lying face down and had a HDMI cable from the television around her neck, with her walking stick under her body.
Ruddy shouted ‘My mam’ and lay down beside her and was calling ‘Mam, mam’ and shaking her as if to try to wake her up, the court heard.
As the neighbour tried to revive Eric, Ruddy was telling other neighbours who had arrived that intruders had taken them hostage and stabbed him.
A post mortem showed a ligature had twice been put round Carol’s neck and was tightened from behind.
Eric had been subjected to sharp and blunt force trauma and there were wounds to his head caused by a knife or knives, the court heard.
Ruddy was found to have a superficial abrasion to the head and a bleeding wound from the scissors.
Tests revealed the presence of an anti-depressant prescribed to Ruddy weeks earlier in the systems of his parents. The court heard Carol had never been prescribed it and Eric had not been given it since 2004. It can cause drowsiness, dizziness and fatigue.
The court heard Ruddy, who had been to Asda with his mum earlier that day, had been due to look after his children that night but failed to turn up.
His wife rang him 22 times between 5.30pm and 10.05pm but got no reply. She also tried Carol and Eric’s landline five times and got no answer.
She then got her cousin to ring the landline and it was picked up but no-one spoke.
At 9.30pm a 999 call was made from Carol and Eric’s landline which lasted 48 seconds. The operator said a female voice said something like ‘Please hurry up’.
Around an hour later there was another 999 call, this time from a neighbour raising the alarm.
When Ruddy was arrested he repeated his account about the intruders in police interviews.
Mr Elvidge said: “He said they had been watching an antiques show and Coronation Street and Emmerdale and were sitting watching Olly Murs on ITV when his father answered the door and was pushed back in the sitting room by men dressed in black hoodies and wearing gloves.”
Ruddy said he was hit and knocked out and when he came round he saw his dad on the floor and went next door for help. He said it was only when he came back he saw his mum.
He said he had a good relationship with his parents.
Mr Elvidge said Ruddy was in debt to the tune of £5,700, which he was being chased for.
He said: “The defendant had substantial debts which he was unable to discharge.
“He was in a debt management programme but was in arrears and creditors had begun to take legal action.”
Police found wills belonging to Carol and Eric in their bedroom cabinet. Eric had £87,019 in cash savings and Ruddy was the sole beneficiary and executor of the will. Carol had £347 in a bank account.
The court heard former binman Eric had taken early retirement after his wife suffered a tumour and a stroke in 2006.
She was left paralysed down one side and wore a leg brace and required a stick and wheelchair to get about.
Ruddy’s wife and two young children left their rented home at the start of November last year after their marriage deteriorated.
The court hear Ruddy was a former door supervisor in Blyth and had worked for a security firm and a company which provides fitness supplements.
He went on the sick in August last year, saying his dad had died, then made the same claim to his GP the next month, saying he was an alcoholic and had commited suicide. He was prescribed anti-depressants.
Ruddy, from South Tyneside but of no fixed address, denies two counts of murder. The trial continues.