An undercover TV researcher who worked on Channel 4‘s Dispatches has been found guilty of torturing a father-of-two to death in front of his children at a cannabis farm.
Christopher Guest More Jr, now 44, murdered Brian Waters, 44, at a Cheshire farmhouse over a £20,000 drugs debt on June 19, 2003, a jury has found.
More was convicted by a majority of 10 to 2 at Chester Crown Court on Monday.
On Thursday, after 12 hours and 14 minutes of deliberations, the jury also found him guilty of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm to Suleman Razak, who worked on the cannabis farm and was tortured at the same time as Mr Waters.
More, wearing a grey suit and white shirt, shook his head as the verdicts were returned.
It comes after a previous trial in May ended in a hung jury when jurors failed to reach a majority verdict following 15 hours of deliberation, leading to a re-trial.
Over three hours, Mr Waters sustained 123 injuries as he was whipped, burned with acid, attacked with a staple gun, hung upside down, suspended head first into a liquid to simulate drowning and beaten inside a cow shed at Burnt House Farm in Tabley, near Knutsford.
Mr Razak described how he himself was also suspended from rafters into a barrel which was filled with fluid, before having plant food poured over his body, a pillowcase on his head set alight, and a staple gun used on his feet and body.
Mr Waters’ son Gavin, then 25, and daughter Natalie, who turned 21 the day before his death, were also at the farm, the court heard.
They were tied up and forced to watch as their father was murdered by his attackers, who tied a bin bag over his head and set it alight, causing it to melt.
Christopher Guest More Jr, 43, (pictured) stood accused of murdering Brian Waters, 44, at a Cheshire farmhouse over a £20,000 drugs debt on June 19, 2003.
Chester Crown Court heard how Mr Waters (pictured) was killed in a disused cow shed at Burnt House Farm in Tabley, near Knutsford, while another man, Suleman Razak, was tortured at the same time
Mr Waters was tortured to death in front of his family at the farmhouse. He was murdered in the shed and his body dumped in milking parlour (Pictured: Scene of torture and murder)
Meanwhile his wife Julie, then 42, was abducted from their family home in Nantwich and also brought to the site, where she discovered the dead body of her husband.
The jury heard Mr Waters died of multiple injuries following the attack. He had staples in his head and body and was assaulted with an iron bar and other weapons, the jury was told.
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.’
Judge Sir Peter Openshaw said More would be sentenced on Friday.
The court heard how More had fled the UK for Spain two days after the murder and, after travelling to South Africa, Mozambique and Turkey, settled in Malta, where he was found living 16 years later in 2019 – working as a yacht captain and businessman.
Nigel Power QC, prosecuting, previously told of how More’s DNA was found on a glove, cigarette ends, a drinks bottle and faeces recovered from the cow shed of the farm, where the four-hour torture session took place.
More had denied being present when the attacks took place but Mr Power said he had made a number of reconnaissance visits to the open land of the farm before the day of the murder.
More claimed that that had been part of his role as an undercover television reporter.
He admitted stealing cannabis and equipment from the farm on the morning of the murder but denied having any prior knowledge of the attacks, the jury was told.
Mr Power said More flew to Malaga, Spain, in the early morning of June 21, 2003, two days after the murder.
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
A European Arrest Warrant was issued in 2004 but not executed until June 6 2019 in Malta.
The court heard that More was using a UK passport under the name Andrew Christopher Lamb.
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.
At the trial of More in March this year, Mr Power added: ‘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.’
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 convicted killer 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.’
Brian Waters was tortured to death in front of his family at the farmhouse in Tabley (pictured)
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 and one of his convicted killers 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.
‘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,’ Mr Power said at the trial.
The court heard More, who drove a Porsche Boxster, did not pay for cocaine supplied to him by Wilson.
Mr Power said mobile phone evidence from nine days before the murder showed the defendant, who was described as a private investigator, appeared to drive to the Waters’ home and follow the victim’s son Gavin to Crewe.
The prosecutor told the court: ‘As Mr More was travelling, following Gavin Waters to Crewe, who was he keeping in contact with but John Wilson.
‘John Wilson, convicted of murder, John Wilson, to who Brian Waters owed a £20,000 drug debt.’
He said More then followed Gavin to his father’s cannabis farm, which Mr Waters had kept secret from Wilson.
Phone records showed More continued to call Wilson while near Burnt House Farm, the court heard.
Mr Power said: ‘Could that call, while Gavin’s at the farm, be Mr More telling John Wilson ‘bingo, I’ve found it’.’
More denied the murder of Mr Waters and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm to Mr Waters and Mr Razak.