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Man who murdered his parents gets two life sentences

Martin Ruddy, 28, from south Tyneside leaving North Tyneside Magistrates Court today charged with the murder of his parents Eric and Carol Ruddy''15 December 2014
Martin Ruddy, 28, from south Tyneside leaving North Tyneside Magistrates Court today charged with the murder of his parents Eric and Carol Ruddy''15 December 2014

A debt-ridden son who murdered his parents for their money then staged a break-in so he could blame intruders has been given two life sentences.

Martin Ruddy, who stood to inherit almost £90,000, bludgeoned Eric Ruddy, 64, then cut his face with a knife as he lay dying after he refused to hand over cash.

The callous killer then strangled disabled mum Carol Ruddy, 54, using an HDMI television cable in the living room after he caught her trying to call for help.

Durng a 48 second 999 call, Mrs Ruddy managed to say just “please, can you hurry up” before her desperate plea to the operator was disconnected.

Judge Paul Sloan QC said the son’s actions were borne out of “selfishness and greed” and said Ruddy must serve at least 35 years before he can apply for parole.

Judge Sloan said Ruddy had been “determined” to extract more money from his father, having already borrowed £4,000 and resorted to violence and murder when he was refused.

Eric and Carol Ruddy, who were murdered at their home in Newcastle. Their son, Martin, has been accused of killing them.

Eric and Carol Ruddy, who were murdered at their home in Newcastle. Their son, Martin, has been accused of killing them.

In the hours before the killings, Ruddy drugged his parents with antidepressants prescribed to him then began his mission to get his hands on cash.

But the judge said: “Your father’s will was not to be overborne, when he resisted your demands for money and I have no doubt that he did, you attacked him.

“You struck him repeatedly with some blunt implement, probably a brick, causing fatal head injuries.

“Having killed your father, you then began to hatch a plan. The plan was to convince the police that ruthless intruders had entered your house and attacked your father.

“You decided to make it appear the attack upon your father had involved a knife and you drew a serrated knife, in a controlled manner, across his face three times as he lay on the floor.

“Your disabled mother eventually managed to contact the emergency services but you caught her in the act.

“She only managed to utter the words ‘please, can you hurry up’ before you ended that call and then you proceeded to kill your own mother, strangling her with a television cord.”

Judge Sloan said the killings of the couple were “despicable” and said Ruddy will have to live for the rest of his life knowing what he did.

The judge told him: “The murders represent a gross breach of trust and power.

“Your parents were killed in their own home by a son who should have provided them with protection.”

Newcastle Crown Court heard that after the murders Ruddy, 29, injured himself, stabbed his chest with a pair of nail scissors and trashed the house before going to a neighbour to raise the alarm.

Ruddy, whose marriage was in the process of breaking down, told detectives his parents’ home had come under attack by strangers as they sat watching an Olly Murs programme on television together and that the attackers left him as the sole survivor.

He claimed two men stormed into the living room when his dad answered a knock at the door and another raider was heard searching around upstairs.

Ruddy claimed he had been knocked unconscious by the attackers when the cruel killings of the devoted couple were carried out.

Former bin man Eric Ruddy suffered blunt force trauma to the head, which had also been cut with a knife or knives.

His wife Carol, an ex Newcastle University employee, had two bruised lines around her neck from ligature strangulation.

Ruddy provided police with detailed descriptions of two of the men he blamed for the killings, saying one was ginger haired and one brown haired and both were wearing dark clothes with gloves.

But jurors heard during the trial that scientific evidence and cctv footage revealed no trace of the hooded strangers being at the terraced house in Bentink Road, Elswick, Newcastle, that night last December 12.

Former doorman Ruddy, who ran security business TM securities and had a fitness supplements shop at the Nook in South Shields, South Tyneside, called TM supplements and also confessed to being a drug dealer, denied murder throughout.

He frequently broke down in tears while in the witness box when giving his account of what happened that night and said he had a “loving” relationship with his parents.

After just over an hour deliberation, jurors rejected his raid story outright and found him guilty of the murders of his mum and dad.

Judge Sloan said the jury “saw through the web of deceit” Ruddy had sought to spin.

His aunt Doreen Nichol, a sister of Eric Ruddy, said the family has been “torn apart” by the killings and that the grief has been made worse knowing that the couple’s son was responsible.

Grieving relatives have attended the trial daily, where the horrors of what happened in the house that night were revealed to the jury.

Prosecutor John Elvidge QC told the court: “The prosecution say Martin Ruddy killed his parents and then set to cover his tracks by staging a burglary, inflicting injuries on himself with a brick and scissors.

“Extensive CCTV footage has been recovered from the vicinity of Bentink Street and no-one matching the description of the intruders can be seen approaching the premises or surrounding area.”

Mr Elvidge added: “The prosecution case is there was not burglary, there were no intruders, it was the defendant who killed his own parents.

“Precisely what led Mr Ruddy to kill them may never be known.”

Mr Elvidge said Ruddy’s life was “running out of control” at the time of the killings, with his marriage at breaking point and his finances in a mess with over £5,000 in debt.

The court heard Ruddy’s behaviour had been “erratic and volatile” in the weeks leading up to the killings, and he had been given anti-depressants by his doctor after falsely claiming to be grieving the death of his father.

Traces of the same anti-depressants he had been given by the GP were found in his parents’ bodies after their deaths.

The court heard Mrs Ruddy had £342 in her bank account at the time of her death, while her husband had £87,019.

Mr Elvidge said: “Martin Ruddy was appointed executor to both wills.

“The sole beneficiary in the event of both of their deaths was their son, Martin Ruddy.”

On the night of his parents’ killings, Ruddy turned up at a neighbour’s house with a pair of nail scissors sticking out of his shoulder, claiming the family had been attacked by strangers.

When the neighbour checked the Ruddy house, Mr Ruddy snr, a retired bin man, was lying in the hallway with his head resting on a small pillow.

Mrs Ruddy, who had mobility and health problems after suffering a stroke, was lying face down in the living room, with her arms by her side, in a “soldier like position”.

Despite efforts from the neighbour, and the emergency services who were quickly on the scene, neither could be saved.

The house was in disarray, with drawers emptied on to the floor.

During police interview, Ruddy said he had been shopping at Asda with his mother that afternoon then was at home watching television with his parents in the evening.

Mr Elvidge said: “He said they were sitting in the sitting room watching Olly Murrs on ITV. He wasn’t sure of the time.

“He said his father answered a knock at the door and was pushed back into the sitting room by two males, in their 20s, in black hoodies, wearing gloves.

“When asked what they wanted they said to be quiet.

“One had a hammer.

“He thought there was someone else (with them) because he heard noises downstairs in the back room.”

Ruddy told detectives his father tried to leave and was followed by one of the intruders.

He claimed when he tried to go in search for his dad he was knocked out and went for help from the neighbours when he regained consciousness.

He told neighbours “three people took us hostage and robbed us” and said he had not realised he was stabbed with scissors.