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07 May 2019
Maids Moreton murder trial – Oliver Saxby QC leading for CrownTweet
The trial of Field, Smyth and Field began last Tuesday at Oxford Crown Court. The three face allegations relating to five victims – Peter Farquhar, Anne Moore-Martin, Jonathan Elliman, Howard Meakin and Liz Zettl.
Ben Field (aged 28) and Martyn Smith (32) were English students at the University of Buckingham at the time. Tom Field (24), Ben Field’s younger brother, was studying music at King’s College, Cambridge.
Ben Field and Martyn Smith are accused of having murdered Mr Farquhar (aged 69, and a retired Head of English at Stowe School)) at his home in Maids Moreton, a village on the outskirts of Buckingham, on the evening of 25th October 2015. They are also charged with defrauding Mr Farquhar regarding his will, which he changed in their favour. Ben Field entered into a relationship with Mr Farquhar, regularly drugging him with sedatives and other drugs, with the assistance of Mr Smyth. Their plan was to make Mr Farquhar’s death look like an accident, or suicide. Hence, they would receive their inheritance (and get away with killing Mr Farquhar).
In so far as Mrs Moore-Martin (aged 83, and a retired Head Teacher who lived two doors down from Mr Farquhar) is concerned, the pair are charged with conspiracy to murder and with defrauding her in relation to her will (which she changed in Ben Field’s favour). As with Mr Farquhar, their intention was that she should die in circumstances that suggested accident or suicide – Ben Field having entered into a relationship with her.
All three defendants also face an allegation of fraud (in connection with a dialysis machine which Mrs Moore-Martin gave Ben Field £27,000 on the false premise that Tom Field needed one if he was to remain at university); and Ben Field and Martyn Smith face offences of dishonesty regarding Mr Elliman, Mr Meakin and Lizz Zettl – the latter, a 101 year old woman whose will the Crown say they had in their possession with intent to defraud.
The Crown’s Opening began on Wednesday and will conclude on Tuesday. The case is a substantial one, with the served evidence running to over 23,000 pages.The case is a uniquely complex one, though with the use of extensive Agreed Facts, a comprehensive Timeline and summaries of ‘read evidence’, the Crown’s case is likely to take only in the region of 4 weeks. The trial is expected to last 8 weeks or so.
Please use the links below for media coverage of the case: