UK Politics

Murder trial jury sent home early over ‘extreme heat’ as UK swelters

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By Emily Mee, news reporter

A jury deliberating over a murder case have been sent home early due to "extreme heat".

It comes as Britain swelters – with temperatures expected to rise to up to 37C (98.6F) by the end of the week.

This could surpass the current daytime heat record for July, which is currently 36.7C (98.1F). And the country could endure its highest-ever night-time temperature on Thursday night.

Image: Many Britons have been sunning themselves in the hot weather

Forecasters say there is a 40% chance the record of 23.9C (75F) – set in Brighton in August 1990 – could be broken.

Jurors are considering verdicts against a church warden and a magician accused of murdering a university lecturer and plotting to kill a retired headmistress.

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Their deliberations were cut short when they complained of unbearable conditions in the room by sending a note to the trial judge, Mr Justice Sweeney.

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The jury said they had the windows open and were using a fan but were unable to concentrate in the "extreme heat".

More from Buckinghamshire

Mr Justice Sweeney said he would allow the panel to be sent home early and continue their deliberations on Wednesday morning.

He said: "It is clearly not appropriate for you to continue to deliberate in the conditions you describe and therefore I am inviting you to stop deliberating for the day."

Other cases being held at Oxford Crown Court have been called off due to a broken air conditioning system.

Benjamin Field, 28, and Martyn Smith, 32, both deny murdering Peter Farquhar, 69, and conspiring to murder Ann Moore-Martin, 83.

Peter Farquhar, left, was defrauded by Ben Field, right
Image: Peter Farquhar, left, was defrauded by Ben Field, right

Field, a church warden, said he pretended to be in love with university lecturer Mr Farquhar, who was said to be torn about his sexuality because of his religion.

The suspect and the victim had been living together in Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire, and had taken part in a commitment ceremony.

Field admitted he had lied about loving the academiRead More – Source