Two dead OAPs at the centre of sleepy village murder mystery as police arrested their lodger, his brother and a magician pal

TWO dead pensioners were at the centre of a village murder mystery last night after police arrested their lodger, his brother and a magician mate.

Wealthy novelist Peter Farquhar, 69 — a former head of English at £12,000-a-year Stowe School — died three years ago.

Quiet neighbour Ann Moore-Martin, who lived three doors from him in Maids Moreton, Bucks, died aged 83 last May.

The deaths were not thought to be connected or suspicious until yesterday when dawn raids saw three men arrested.

Police were understood to be quizzing Ben Field, 27 — who lodged with both OAPs — and his magician mate Martyn Smith, 31, on suspicion of murder plus a fraud potentially totalling thousands of pounds.

Field’s Cambridge graduate brother Thomas, 22, was also understood to have been held on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud the affluent neighbours.

It is believed Ben and Smith struck up a close relationship with Mr Farquhar and persuaded him to publish a book from old manuscripts.

They set up a company that aimed to release more of his work. The firm filed no acc­ounts and was later dissolved.

Cambridge-educated Mr Farquhar’s car­eer involved a stint as senior English master at Manchester Grammar School.

His first book — titled Between Boy and Man — tells of a school chaplain who struggles to ­reconcile his Christian faith with his gay impulses.

Last night neighbours told how Baptist minister’s son Ben lived with the teacher before his health rapidly declined.

Ben then moved in with Mrs Moore-Martin, also an ex-school teacher, before her health deteriorated.

Sources said it later emerged that both OAPs were victims of a “substantial” fraud.

Detectives were last night believed to be focusing inquiries on how the pair died.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: “The causes of death are yet to be determined.”

Cops last night confirmed they were questioning a 27- year-old man from Towcester, a 31-year-old from Redruth and a 22-year-old of Milton Keynes.

Meanwhile Maids Moreton locals expressed their shock.

James Hancock, 57, who lived opposite Mrs Moore-Martin for 23 years, said: “This place is comparable to a sleepy village and it’s like Midsomer Murders — you don’t expect it on your doorstep.”

Betty Cooke, 87, said: “It’s shocking.”” target=”_blank” title=”Click to share on Twitter

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