Old Bailey trial for men accused over Maids Moreton pensioner deaths

Anne Moore-Martin
Anne Moore-Martin

Two men charged in connection with the deaths of two people living in Maids Moreton are due to stand trial later this month.

A pre-trial hearing took place on Wednesday in relation to the deaths of Peter Farquhar, 69, and Ann Moore-Martin, 83. Mr Farquhar died in October 2015 and Ms Moore-Martin, a neighbour, died in May 2017.

Peter Farquhar

Peter Farquhar

Benjamin Field, aged 28, of Wellingborough Road, Olney, and Martyn Smith, aged 32, of Penhalvean, Redruth, Cornwall have been charged with one count of murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit murder, two counts of conspiracy to defraud, three counts of fraud, one count of being in possession of an article for use in fraud, two counts of burglary.

Ben Field is charged with one further count of fraud.

Tom Field, aged 24, of Wellingborough Road, Olney, is also charged with one count of fraud.

Peter Farquhar lived at 3 Manor Park, Maids Moreton at the time of his death on 26 October 2015. Initially it was thought he had died from alcohol poisoning.

Mr Farquhar was born in Edinburgh in 1946 and gained a first class degree in English from Churchill College at Cambridge University. He went on to teach English in Manchester for 34 years and then at Stowe School from 1983 to 2004. From 2007 until the time of his death he was an occasional lecturer at the University of Buckingham.

Mr Farquhar also published three books in his lifetime; Between Boy and Man, A Bitter Heart, and A Wide Wide Sea.

The latter was actually the first book he wrote but went unpublished until he was persuaded to release it in 2015.

Mr Farquhar was a committed evangelical Christian who worshipped and preached at Stowe Parish Church for 20 years.

Former pupil and friend of Peter Farquhar, journalist Michael Crick, wrote at the time of his death: “Few people taught by Peter Farquhar, as I was, would ever forget him. A powerful personality, who taught English for 34 years at Manchester grammar school and Stowe school in Buckinghamshire, Peter, who has died aged 69, gained unusual respect and affection from his students. Dozens became close friends for life.”

Further attesting to his influence, another former pupil, film director David Scheinmann, included a character in his 2013 film 'Believe' called Mr Farquar based on Peter Farquhar.

Ann Moore-Martin lived at 6 Manor Park, Maids Moreton, at the time of her death on 12 May, 2017 - just three doors down from where Peter Farquhar had lived.

Ms Moore-Martin was a former head teacher at a Catholic School.

At a hearing on the 21 March this year, Ben Field admitted fraud by claiming to Ms Moore-Martin that he needed £4,400 for a new car, and that his brother Tom Field was suffering from a kidney ailment so severe he needed a dialysis machine. He also pleaded guilty to two burglaries in which he stole a bottle of Drambuie, three rifles and a bayonet.

Martyn Smith denied three counts of fraud and involvement in the theft of the rifles and bayonet.

Tom Field, aged 24, denied a single fraud charge.

Benjamin Field and Martyn Smith deny conspiring to murder the two pensioners, the murder of Mr Farquhar and the attempted murder of Ms Moore-Martin.

The pair are remanded in custody. Tom field remains on bail.

The trial begins at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, 30 April and is expected to last between 10 and 12 weeks.

This newspaper will be covering the trial and bringing you updates as it progresses in print, and at www.buckinghamtoday.co.uk.