Maids Moreton 'murder': church warden and magician charged over deaths of elderly neighbours in Buckinghamshire

A church warden and magician have been charged over the deaths of two neighbours who died more than a year apart in an affluent Buckinghamshire village.

Peter Farquhar died on 26 October 2015, aged 69, and Ann Moore-Martin died on 12 May 2017, aged 83.

Mr Farquhar, whose death was not initially thought to be suspicious, inspired a character in the film Believe and was known for his novels and extensive teaching career at the University of Buckingham, independent Stowe School and Manchester Grammar School.

Ms Moore-Martin, who lived three doors down in Maids Moreton, was a former headteacher at a Catholic primary school in Bicester and lived alone following the death of her mother.

Ben Field, 28, a church warden, and 32-year-old Martyn Smith, a magician, have been charged in connection with the two deaths and were due to appear at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Mr Field, of Wellingborough Road in Olney, has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to murder Ms Moore-Martin and Mr Farquhar, one count of murder of Mr Farquhar, one count of attempted murder of Ms Moore-Martin, two counts of fraud and three counts of burglary.

Mr Smith, of Penhalvean in Redruth, Cornwall, is accused of two counts of conspiracy to murder Ms Moore-Martin and Mr Farquhar, one count of murder of Mr Farquhar, one count of attempted murder of Ms Moore-Martin, one count of fraud and two counts of burglary.

They were originally arrested in connection with the investigation in January this year, Thames Valley Police said.

A 22-year-old man from Olney was also arrested on suspicion of one count of conspiracy to defraud, one count of conspiring to commit fraud by false representation and one count of suspicion of fraud by false representation. He has been released under investigation.

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