Mark Martin (murderer)

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Mark Martin
Born (1979-10-18) October 18, 1979 (age 42)
Other namesThe Sneinton Strangler, Reds
Criminal penaltyLife imprisonment with a whole-life tariff[1]
Span of crimes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Mark Martin (born 18 October 1979[1]) is a British serial killer who has been dubbed the 'Sneinton Strangler' in the media. He was issued with a whole-life tariff and thus will never be released from prison. Two accomplices, John Ashley and Dean Carr, helped him in two murders and they received 25-year and 14-year minimum sentences respectively.


Martin had been born an only child, and he suffered extensive bullying at school due to him having a notable birthmark under his left eye.[1] His father was imprisoned as he grew up and allegedly shared a prison with the Kray Twins.[2] By age 16 he had become a petty criminal.[1] He got married in his early 20s but attacked his wife violently in 2002 and they separated in 2004.[1] By this time he was homeless and slept rough in Nottingham.[1] He and fellow rough sleepers and associates John Ashley and Dean Carr were known and feared amongst the city's homeless community and often stole from their associates.[1] Martin was often known as "Reds" and Ashley was nicknamed "Cockney John".[1] Martin was described as the "leader of the pack", and was said to be a violent, volatile and aggressive bully with a short temper.[1]


Martin was said to want to seek out fame and notoriety.[1] He openly boasted to others that his ambition was to become "Nottingham's first serial killer".[1]

On the night of the 24th of January 2005, Martin was with Ashley, Carr and another homeless woman, 25-year-old Ellen Frith, in a derelict flat in Marple Road in Nottingham.[1] The flat was a well-known location for rough sleepers in the area to congregate and take drugs.[1] At some point in the evening Frith started to eat an apple, when Martin grabbed her by the throat and strangled her to death.[1] He then stuck a syringe into her leg before setting fire to the property while he and his associates escaped.[1] Firefighters put out the fire and found the dead body inside.[3]

A man who had been in the flat the night before came forward to tell the police that Martin, Ashley and Carr were in the flat with Frith that night.[1] Investigators established that they were all there at the point the fire started.[3] Police searched for the men and found Ashley, who said that he had witnessed Martin strangle Firth to death.[3] Two days later Martin rang the police to boast "I think you want me for murder".[1] Dean Carr was subsequently arrested and he claimed both Marin and Ashley had killed Firth.[3]

When he was arrested and brought in for questioning, Martin only answered "no comment" to all police questions.[1] He and Ashley were quickly charged with Frith's murder, but Martin then indicated in interviews that he had been responsible for other murders.[1] Witnesses were able to give names of two other homeless women who had recently disappeared from the city: 18-year-old Katie Baxter and 26-year-old Zoe Pennick.[1] Baxter was said to be in a violent relationship with Ashley and both had been missing since December 2004.[1]

Pennick was last seen on 31 December 2004.[1] Members of the homeless community came forward to tell police that Martin had boasted of killing Pennick and Baxter.[3] Investigators discovered that Martin had lured Katie Baxter to his tent with the promise of 2,000 cigarettes before strangling her to death.[1] Police found the bodies of Pinnick and Baxter almost next to each other under rubble when searching the area next to Martin's tent in February 2005.[1] Forensics established that both had died between 30th December 2004 and 6th January 2005.[1]

Charges and convictions[edit]

Martin and Ashley were charged with the murders of Pennick and Baxter.[1] Charges were dropped against Ashley for the murder of Firth.[1] Dean Carr was subsequently charged with Firth's murder although was not charged with involvement in the other killings.[1] In January 2006 all three men were tried at Nottingham Crown Court.[1] Several homeless witnesses came forward to testify about the defendants' confessions to them and all three were convicted even though they pleaded not guilty.[1]

Carr was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 14 years for his involvement in the murder of Frith.[1] Ashley received a minimum 25-year tariff for involvement in two of the murders.[1] Martin, the ringleader, was convicted of all three murders and given life imprisonment with a whole-life order, meaning he will never be released from prison.[1] On 23 February 2008, The Times publicly reported that he was one of around 50 prisoners to have been issued with whole life tariffs.[4]

Martin became known in the press as the "Sneinton Strangler".[1]


Martin, Ashley and Carr have featured in a number of documentaries:


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj Pick TV (5 October 2021). Britain's Most Evil Killers: Mark Martin: The Sneinton Strangler (Television documentary). Sky UK. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  2. ^ a b Crime & Investigation (European TV channel) (25 October 2021). Killer Britain: Mark Martin (Television documentary). Series 3. Retrieved 14 April 2022.{{cite AV media}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e f Crime & Investigation (European TV channel) (30 October 2012). When Life Means Life: Mark Martin and Ernest Wright (Television documentary). Series 1.{{cite AV media}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  4. ^ Ford, Richard; Strange, Hannah (26 February 2008). "Bellfield joins list of those to die in jail". The Times. London. Retrieved 25 June 2009.