An undercover TV researcher who worked on Channel 4’s Dispatches went on the run for 16 years after torturing and murdering a father-of-two drug dealer in front of his children at a cannabis farm, a court heard today.
Christopher Guest More Jr, 43, is charged with murdering Brian Waters, who was tortured and killed at a Cheshire farmhouse over a drugs debt, the court heard.
A jury at Chester Crown Court heard Mr Waters, 44, was killed in a disused cow shed at Burnt House Farm in Tabley, near Knutsford, on June 19, 2003 and another man, Suleman Razak, was tortured at the same time.
Mr Waters’ son Gavin, then 25, and daughter Natalie, who turned 21 the day before her father’s death, were also at the farm and his wife Julie, then 42, was abducted from their family home in Nantwich and taken there, the court was told.
Nigel Power QC, prosecuting, said three men – John Wilson, James Raven and Otis Matthews – were convicted of Mr Waters’ murder and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm to him and to Mr Razak following trials between 2004 and 2007.
He said: ‘This defendant, Christopher Guest More Jr, the man you are to try, fled the country on June 21 2003 and for 16 years evaded capture until 2019, when he was discovered living a new life under an assumed name in Malta.’
Christopher Guest More Jr (left) is charged with murdering Brian Waters (right), who was tortured and killed at a Cheshire farmhouse over a drugs debt, the court heard
Christopher Guest More Jr fled the UK after the murder of Brian Waters, who was killed in front of his two adult children at Burnt House Farm (pictured) in Tabley, in June 2003
Christopher Guest More Jr arriving at Chester Crown Court under high security
BBC reporter convicted over brutal farmhouse murder
In 2004, a jury at Chester Crown Court found James Raven, of Bolton, Greater Manchester, guilty of murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.
Co-defendant John Wilson, 55, of Glossop, Derbyshire, was found guilty of the same charges.
Ashley Guishard, 30, of Sale, Greater Manchester, was cleared of all charges.
Otis Matthews, then 29, was sentenced to life after a third retrial.
Wilson had ordered the attack after falling out with Mr Waters over a debt.
During the eight-week trial it emerged that Raven and his cousin Christopher More earned up to £500 a day working on undercover assignments for the BBC and Channel 4.
Over two years Raven worked on programmes including the BBC’s MacIntyre Uncovered and Crooked Britain, as well as Channel 4’s Sleepers, infiltrating gangs involved in car crime and drugs.
BBC producers knew heavily-tattooed Raven had previous convictions for violence. They believed he was a reformed character, the court heard.
The jury was also told that More, who drove a Porsche Boxster and lived in a converted barn, would brag about his undercover work to women.
The jury was told More, who was 25 at the time and living in Lymm, had been involved in undercover work for television programmes, often working with Raven, his cousin.
In 2002, More and Raven were asked to locate a cannabis farm for covert filming by a production company working for Channel 4 show Dispatches, which was filming a programme about the reclassification of the drug, the court heard.
Mr Power said: ‘But, although they said that they had located an illegal grow, what is sometimes called a cannabis farm, this avenue was not pursued and the programme was transmitted without any work from Mr More or Mr Raven.’
The court heard Mr Waters had set up a cannabis farm with his friend Mujahid Majid, known as Johnny, in June 2002.
Mr Power said: ‘The farm was set up at Burnt House Farm in Tabley, that area where ultimately he was to be murdered.’
The jury was told Mr Waters also had a cannabis farm in Holland, where he would regularly travel and broker deals for other people, including drug dealer Wilson, now 71.
Mr Power said Mr Waters owed money to Wilson and at one point had to work to pay off £20,000 which was confiscated from him as he travelled back from Holland.
Mr Power said: ‘When we come to tell you about about drug dealing shortly, you will hear that John Wilson was a drug dealer and provided this defendant with cocaine from time to time.’
More denies the murder of Mr Waters and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm to Mr Waters and Mr Razak.
Guest More Jr became one of Britain’s most wanted fugitives before he was arrested in Malta after 16 years on the run.
Detectives have been seeking the 41-year-old since he left the country shortly after the murder of Brian Waters on June 19, 2003.
His millionaire father Christopher More Snr, who runs a private investigation and fraud detection agency, admitted flying out to Malaga with a suitcase full of his son’s clothes, but claims he did not know at that time his son was suspected of committing a serious offence.
He was jailed for nine months in 2004 and ordered to pay the £130,000 costs of bringing the case to court.
Former undercover BBC researcher James Raven, 60, Otis Matthews, 41, and John Wilson, 69, are serving life sentences after being convicted of Mr Waters’ murder.
More is alleged to have been with the men when they stormed the derelict property, where Mr Waters was running a cannabis farm, in a row over a drugs debt.
The men tied Mr Waters to a chair before battering him in front of his son Gavin, who was also attacked, and 21-year-old daughter Natalie, who was held at gunpoint and forced to watch.
Brian Waters was tortured to death in front of his family at the farmhouse
Police at the scene of the crime in 2003. The murder of Mr Waters was planned to exact revenge on him for the debt and took place in what was described as a ‘makeshift torture chamber’
The 44-year-old victim was whipped, burned and attacked with a staple gun in a three-hour ordeal during which he sustained 167 injuries, a trial heard.
They pumped electric shocks through his body, drove staples into his head and neck, poured acid down his back and burnt molten plastic over his face.
He was then hung upside down and sexually assaulted with an iron bar, causing fatal internal injuries.
More’s cousin Raven worked on programmes including the BBC’s MacIntyre Uncovered and Crooked Britain, as well as Channel 4’s Sleepers, infiltrating gangs involved in car crime, drugs and counterfeiting.
A Chester Crown Court trial in 2004 heard More also bragged about work as a surveillance-type journalist and had been following Mr Waters’ son nine days before the murder in what he described as a ‘reconnaissance’ mission.
After the systematic torture in the cow shed at the farm, Mr Waters’ body was dumped in a milking parlour.
Mr Waters, a former chemists’ worker, had rented Burnt House Farm since 2002 and used it to grow cannabis, a court heard.
But he was also involved in narcotics trafficking with one of his killers, drug dealer John Wilson, and was said to have owed him £20,000.
The murder of Mr Waters was planned to exact revenge on him for the debt and took place in what was described as a ‘makeshift torture chamber.’
The killers broke into the farmhouse and destroyed the cannabis farm, then attacked the stepson of Mr Waters’ business partner, battering him senseless and dragging into the barn where he was tied up by his ankles with his face submerged under water.
He was burned with chemicals and a pillowcase covering his head was set on fire as the gang laughed at his distress.
Mr Waters then arrived at the farm and was suspended upside down and used as a ‘human punchbag.’
When Waters’ son Gavin and a woman arrived at the farm they were abducted at gunpoint, and she was sexually assaulted.
Brian Waters’ wife Julie was also abducted from the family home and taken to the scene of the murder.
She arrived to discover that her husband had been murdered.