Church warden and magician face trial accused of murder plots

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Benjamin Field and Martyn Smith deny involvement in the deaths of pensioners Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin in Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire

A church warden and a magician are to go on trial accused of plotting the murders of two pensioners.

Benjamin Field, 28, and Martyn Smith, 32, deny involvement in the deaths of Peter Farquhar, 69 and Ann Moore-Martin, 83, who lived three doors from each other in the picturesque village of Maids Moreton, in Buckinghamshire.

Detectives launched a murder inquiry more than two years after the death in October 2015 of Mr Farquhar, a guest lecturer at the University of Buckingham, and seven months after the death of retired headmistress Ms Moore-Martin in May 2017.

Maids Moreton murders
Aerial view of Manor Park in Maids Moreton, near Buckingham, Buckinghamshire of the former homes of Peter Farquhar (left) and Ann Moore-Martin (right) (Steve Parsons/PA)

They also denied conspiracy to defraud by dishonestly causing the pensioners to make one or both of them beneficiaries of their wills.

Smith has pleaded not guilty to three further counts of fraud and the involvement in the theft of rifles and a bayonet. Field and Smith also denied having a copy of another woman’s will for fraud.

Earlier, Field pleaded guilty to fraud by making representations to Mr Farquhar and Ms Moore-Martin that he “knew were or might be untrue or misleading”, that he was “in a genuine, caring relationship” with them.

He also 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 that was so severe he needed a dialysis machine.


In addition Field pleaded guilty to two burglaries in which he stole a bottle of Drambuie, a cardigan, three rifles and a bayonet.

Tom Field, 24, faces trial accused of a single charge of fraud.

Benjamin Field, of Wellingborough Road, Olney, Buckinghamshire; Martyn Smith, of Penhalvean, Redruth, Cornwall; and Tom Field, also of Wellingborough Road, Olney, Buckinghamshire will go on trial at Oxford Crown Court before High Court Judge Mr Justice Sweeney.

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