An undercover TV researcher who spent 16 years wanted by police has been found guilty of the brutal torture and murder of a father-of-two at a cannabis farm.
Christopher Guest More, 43, was convicted by a majority of 10 to 2 of the murder of Brian Waters at Chester Crown Court on Monday, more than 18 years after the killing.
He was arrested in 2019 in Malta, where he had been living under the name Andrew Lamb.
On Thursday, after 12 hours and 14 minutes of deliberations, the jury also found him guilty by a majority verdict of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm to Suleman Razak, who worked on the cannabis farm and was tortured at the same time as the 2003 murder.
More, wearing a grey suit and white shirt, shook his head as the verdicts were returned.
In May, a jury was discharged after it failed to agree on verdicts and a retrial began in November.
More claimed he had befriended drug dealer John Wilson, one of three men already convicted of the murder, because he thought he could sell a story on him being a police informant to the media and he might lead him to a cannabis farm which he could film for a Dispatches documentary.
Mr Waters, a cannabis dealer who was growing the drug at Burnt House Farm in Tabley, near Knutsford, Cheshire, owed Wilson a drugs debt of £20,000, the court heard.
More, who had done undercover TV work including with journalist Donal McIntyre, discovered where the cannabis farm was after following Mr Waters’ son Gavin, then 25.
On June 19 2003 Mr Waters was tortured and killed at the farm in front of his daughter Natalie, who had just turned 21, and Gavin, while his wife Julie was abducted from the family home and driven to the farm.
Mr Waters and Mr Razak, who survived the four-hour ordeal, were tied up and suspended from rafters, beaten, dropped in barrels of liquid, had staple guns used on their bodies and were assaulted with a metal bar.
When police arrived at the scene, following a call made from a phone box by Wilson’s driver David Moran, they found a bag containing cigarette ends, drinks bottles and even a bag of faeces which all had traces of More’s DNA.
James Raven, who did television work with More, and Otis Matthews have also been convicted of murder at earlier trials.
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Giving evidence, More, who had been working as a yacht captain and businessman in Malta, claimed he had gone to the farm that morning to steal cannabis equipment but left when he had an argument with Raven and realised Wilson, who was not at the scene, had discovered he was working undercover.
He left the country for Spain two days later and, after travelling to South Africa, Mozambique and Turkey, settled in Malta.
Detective Inspector Kate Tomlinson, the senior investigating officer, said Mr Waters’ family continued to be affected by the crime.
She said: “They have remained very insular and haven’t been able to move on with their lives.
“They have remained very scared to this day because somebody’s been outstanding for the murder of their husband and father.”
In a statement, the family of Mr Waters said: “What happened at Burnt House Farm on 19 June 2003 has had a significant and long-lasting effect on our family.
“We will never be able to forget events of that day and, even now, more than 18 years down the line, we feel the pain on a daily basis with constant flashbacks.
“We have remained a close-knit family and have provided much-needed support to each other – but this has been an isolating experience for us and not only have we lived in fear of reprisals we have also struggled to trust others as we normally would.
“But we never gave up hope and the verdict today marks the end of an incredibly painful journey in our lives.”
Judge Sir Peter Openshaw said More would be sentenced on Friday.
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