An undercover TV researcher who murdered a cannabis dealer and went on the run for 16 years has been jailed for a minimum of 24 years.
Christopher Guest More, 43, was convicted at Chester Crown Court on Thursday of the murder of Brian Waters, 44, a father-of-two who was tortured in front of his family at a cannabis farm in Tabley, on June 19 2003.
He was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm to Suleman Razak, who worked at the cannabis farm.
The court heard the killing was carried out because of a £20,000 drugs debt owed to John Wilson, who has already been convicted of the murder along with two other men, Otis Matthews and James Raven.
Sentencing More on Friday, judge Sir Peter Openshaw described the case as one of “sadistic and gratuitous violence”.
He said: “The attacks on both men were more than an attempted extortion with menace. The sustained barbarity and sadism of the attack was intended to deliver a clear message not just to Brian Waters, but also to others, that if you crossed John Wilson, and failed to pay what he considered was due, there would be very serious consequences.”
The court heard Mr Waters was tortured for three hours before his death and suffered 123 external injuries during the ordeal, in which he and Mr Razak 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.
The attack happened front of his daughter Natalie, who had just turned 21, and son Gavin, then 25, while his wife, Julie, was kidnapped from their home in Nantwich and driven to the farm.
In a statement read to the court, Ms Waters said: “Every single day I have memories of what happened flash into my head.
“Whenever I think about my dad and try and remember happy childhood memories I always see the image of him sitting in the chair in the barn, suffering.”
Gavin and Mrs Waters were in the public gallery of court for the sentencing.
More, who used his surveillance and investigative skills to track down Mr Waters’ cannabis farm, fled to Spain two days after the killing.
He was one of Europe’s most wanted criminals when he was arrested in Malta in 2019, where he had been living under the name Andrew Lamb and working as a yacht captain and businessman.
Sir Peter said: “I have no doubt that going on the run for 16 years, with warrants for his arrest in force, is a seriously aggravating factor, for during all that time the family of Brian Waters – and indeed Suleman Razak – were denied justice.”
During his trial, More, who had done undercover TV work including with journalist Donal McIntyre, claimed he had befriended Wilson because he planned to sell a story on him being a police informant and thought he may lead him to a cannabis farm he could film for a Dispatches documentary.
Source: (Cheshire Live)