A NORTH East 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 which he had faked months earlier, a court has heard.
Stephen Seddon murdered Robert, 68, and Patricia Seddon, 65, in their suburban home because they survived his bid to kill them last March, by driving a car into a Manchester canal with them strapped in the back seats, it is alleged.
The 46-year-old father-of-three had debts and an insatiable appetite for cash, Manchester Crown Court was told.
Despite the elderly and caring couple gifting him £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, from Benevente Street in Seaham, County Durham, denies two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
The businessman was once vice-chairman of the South Tyneside Committee of the North East Chamber of Commerce.
Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, told the jury: “On July 6 last year, the bodies of Robert and Patricia Seddon were discovered at their home in 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.
“Robbery did not appear to be a motive.”
He added: “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.
“The person responsible not only wanted rid of Robert and Patricia Seddon, a quiet, unassuming, elderly couple, he wanted to lay a false trail.
“That man was their son, the defendant, Stephen Seddon.”
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.
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 trial continues