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Journalist Crick hails ‘inspirational’ teacher amid village double murder probe

Channel 4 News political correspondent Michael Crick said his former teacher Peter Farquhar was “somewhat of a father figure to many of us”.

TV journalist Michael Crick has spoken of his shock after police launched a murder inquiry into the deaths of his “inspirational teacher” and an elderly neighbour.

Thames Valley Police have announced that they are treating the deaths of 69-year-old Peter Farquhar in October 2015 and Ann Moore-Martin, 83, who died a year-and-a-half later in May 2017, as murder.

The two pensioners both lived in the village of Maids Moreton, near Buckingham, Buckinghamshire.

Three men have been arrested in connection with the deaths and four properties in three locations around the country are being searched.

Mr Farquhar was a retired part-time English lecturer at the University of Buckingham, having previously taught at Manchester Grammar School and Stowe School in Buckinghamshire.

Channel 4 News political correspondent Mr Crick, who was taught by Mr Farquhar at Manchester Grammar School and who remained life-long friends with him, said he was shocked by the police investigation.

He told the Press Association: “Peter’s death was very sudden and sad and it is all the more distressing that police are treating it as a possible murder.

“He was one of the most extraordinary teachers of my life and many former pupils of Stowe and Manchester Grammar School would agree.

“He was a very inspirational teacher to whom I owe a lot. He was somewhat of a father figure to many of us.

“He kept in touch with successive generations of pupils and guided them through their early careers.

“He was a deeply committed Christian.”

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(Michael Crick/Twitter)

According to Mr Crick’s 2015 obituary of Mr Farquhar in The Guardian, he was born in Edinburgh before being educated at Latymer Upper School in London and Churchill College, Cambridge.

As well as lecturing, Mr Farquhar published three novels, and a character in the 2013 football film Believe was based on him during his time teaching in Manchester.

Professor Stefan Hawlin, English literature programme director at the University of Buckingham, said: “He was a charming, erudite and deeply thoughtful man, he was thoroughly learned in literature. He was very well thought of.”

Neighbours spoke of their shock as it was confirmed Mr Farquhar’s death, and that of Ms Moore-Martin, were being treated of murder.

Audrey Coatesworth lived nearby for 30 years.

She said: “She kept herself to herself. She was a very pretty woman, kept her hair nice.

“She had a little dog that she would walk – you recognise her because was striking, she had blonde hair.”

James Hancock said: “Both were nice people, both teachers, both elderly.

“Anne was a friend of ours.

“You saw people coming and going and you didn’t know who they were. With hindsight you think you could have done something.

“Anne became ill. She became vulnerable.”

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: “Thames Valley Police has made three arrests in connection with a murder investigation after two elderly residents died in Buckinghamshire.

“The causes of death are yet to be determined.

“As part of the investigation four properties are currently being searched. These include one property in Milton Keynes, two properties in Towcester, Northamptonshire, and an address near Redruth in Cornwall.”

The arrested men are a 27-year-old man from Towcester, Northamptonshire, who has been detained on suspicion of two counts of murder, two counts of conspiracy to murder, two counts of suspicion of fraud by false representation, one count of conspiracy to defraud and two counts of burglary.

A 31-year-old man from Redruth, Cornwall, has been arrested on suspicion of two counts of murder, two counts of conspiracy to murder, two counts of suspicion of fraud by false representation, one count of conspiracy to defraud and one count of burglary.

And a 22-year-old man from Milton Keynes has been 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.

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