Beds, Herts & Bucks

Maids Moreton: Murder accused 'distressed' after death

Peter Farquhar Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption Peter Farquhar was a guest lecturer at the University of Buckingham and had written a number of books

A man accused of murdering a university lecturer was "distressed, sad and quite angry" after the death, a court heard.

Magician Martyn Smith, 32, and church warden Benjamin Field, 28, are accused of killing Peter Farquhar, 69, in Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire.

Prosecutors also allege they planned to kill his neighbour, Ann Moore-Martin, 83, to benefit from their wills.

Buckingham University's head of welfare Deidre Bunker said student Mr Smith told her Mr Farquhar was an alcoholic.

Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption The trial heard Ann Moore-Martin had told her family she loved Benjamin Field

She told jurors at Oxford Crown Court that when Mr Smith sought bereavement support, "he said a friend of his had recently died and he felt distressed, sad and quite angry.

"He said Mr Farquhar was an alcoholic and thought that he had dementia originally and he was quite angry that he had died from alcoholism."

Mr Farquhar was found dead in his home in October 2015 with a half-empty bottle of whisky next to him.

His death was treated as alcohol-related after a pathologist found he was three-times the drink-drive limit, a concentration capable of causing his death.

The jury heard Mr Smith had been in a pub drinking on the day of Mr Farquhar's death and told friends he "couldn't remember anything after 6pm".

Prosecutors allege he and Mr Field murdered him at his home.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin lived three doors away from each other in Maids Moreton

The court previously heard Mr Field was engaged to Mr Farquhar and had also seduced Ms Moore-Martin - persuading them both to change their wills.

The defendants tried to make the pair think they were losing their minds, prosecutors claim.

They allegedly laced Mr Farquhar's food and drink with drugs and neat alcohol and wrote "messages from God" on mirrors belonging to Ms Moore-Martin, who died of natural causes in May 2017.

Mr Field, of Wellingborough Road, Olney, Buckinghamshire, denies murder, conspiracy to murder, possessing an article for the use in fraud and an alternative charge of attempted murder. He has admitted four charges of fraud and two of burglary.

Mr Smith, of Penhalvean, Redruth, Cornwall, denies murder, conspiracy to murder, two charges of fraud and one of burglary.

The trial continues.

Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption University lecturer Peter Farquhar, left, and church warden Ben Field, who is accused of his murder

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