A man accused of murdering his parents in their Victorian home has told a jury his father used to hit him with the leather strap of a horse stirrup during his tough, farm upbringing. He said his parents treated the five siblings differently, reserving special treatment for two sisters, while he and his brother and other sister were hit and punched.

Ian Thomas, 38, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of murder over the death of Pauline, 63, and William Thomas, 65, whose bodies were found in their Wangaratta property.

Defence barrister Theo Kassimatis has previously told the court Thomas shot his father in self-defence after he arrived home to find his mother had been murdered by her husband.

The Crown case is that Thomas strangled his mother Pauline then laid in wait for his father, who he shot, before using the wooden handle of a pick axe to bludgeon his father’s skull.

Thomas gave evidence on Friday that he felt scared most of the time he was around his father.

Asked what one word he would use to described his childhood, he answered, ‘tough’.

‘It wasn’t the happiest,’ Thomas said.

At least one of the five Thomas children was physically punished every day, Thomas said.

Mr Thomas often hit Thomas with the leather strap from a horse stirrup, the court heard.

Thomas said one time he ran from his father, but when he was caught, his father ‘just laid into me’.