Prosecution completes summary of its case in Maids Moreton murder trial

On day five of the trial at Oxford Crown Court relating to the deaths of Peter Farquhar, 69, and Ann Moore-Martin, 83, from Maids Moreton, Oliver Saxby QC laid out the prosecution’s case for the lesser charges.
Library image of Oxford Crown CourtLibrary image of Oxford Crown Court
Library image of Oxford Crown Court

He began by speaking briefly about the burglary at 5 Manor Park Road, the same road that Mr Farquhar and Ms Moore-Martin lived on.

An elderly couple had lived there until their passing in February 2015 and June 2016 respectively.

Ann Moore-Martin, who was in a relationship with Ben Field throughout 2016, kept a spare key to the property, as neighbours often do.

Library image of Oxford Crown CourtLibrary image of Oxford Crown Court
Library image of Oxford Crown Court

Ben Field, who was the only defendant charged with this crime, has pleaded guilty to using the key to gain entry and take a bottle of Drambuie and a cardigan in June 2016.

Mr Saxby then moved on to the burglary, in August 2016, of an address in Buckingham owned by Jonathan Elliman, 83, whom Ben Field and Martyn Smith referred to as ‘the jellyman’.

Mr Elliman was a friend of Peter Farquhar and this is how the defendants came to know him.

Martyn Smith denies being part of the plan to steal three antique rifles and a bayonet, worth around £450, from Mr Elliman.

Ben Field pleaded guilty to the offence – indeed the stolen items were found at a flat in Towcester that Field was renting during a police search.

At this point the prosecution turned to text messages between Field and Smith, which they argue shows that Smith was involved in the burglary.

Field wrote to Smith: “Jellyman tomorrow maybe?”

Smith replied: “That’s cool. Will be up for that.”

And in another exchange, Field wrote: “Dealing with Operation Jellyguns.”

Smith replied: “Ok, great.”

Finally the prosecution came to the story of Liz Zettl, now aged 101, who also lived in Buckingham.

Both Ben Field and Martyn Smith are charged with being in possession of an article for the use in fraud, namely her will.

Ms Zettl was friends with both Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin and from time to time took lodgers. Martyn Smith lodged with Ms Zettl in 2016.

Mr Saxby told the jury that evidence showed that Martyn Smith had emailed an electronic copy of her will from her computer to his own email address in August 2016.

His fingerprints were also found on the original hard copy of the will during the subsequent police investigation.

The police investigation also found an electronic copy of the will on a University of Buckingham server used by Ben Field, and Ms Zettl’s keys were in his possession.

Both defendants deny this charge.

While wrapping up the summary of the prosecution’s case, which took three-and-a-half days to make, Mr Saxby spoke about some of the relevant events during the arrests and initial interviews with Ben Field and Martyn Smith.

Oliver Saxby told the jury that there had been three arrest dates; March 2017, January 2018 and November 2018.

When arrested the first time in March 2017, Mr Saxby says that Ben Field said to police: “I know what this is about and I’m not worried.”

Mr Saxby described Ben Field during these early stages as “full of bravado.”

The prosecution said that after the arrests in 2017, Martyn Smith texted a friend:

“I feel I am innocent but I knew what Ben was up to.”

When arrested again in January 2018, the court was told that Ben Field had tried to escape out of his girlfriend’s bedroom window and was found by police hiding in an outbuilding.

At one point soon after this, the police left Field and Smith alone in a transport vehicle with a recording device.

During their conversation, Field said to Smith: “I think I’ll get away with most of it.”

Mr Saxby said to the jury: “This is not the language of an innocent person, it’s the talk of an arrogant, guilty person.”

Ben Field, 28, and Martyn Smith, 32, are charged with one count of murder, one charge of conspiracy to murder, three counts of fraud, one count of possession of an article for the use in fraud, and one count of burglary.

Additionally, Ben Field is charged with one count of attempted murder.

Tom Field, 24, is charged with fraud.

The trial continues.