THE jury in the trial of an undercover TV researcher accused of murder has retired to begin deliberations and to reach a verdict.

Christopher Guest More Jr, 43, is charged with the murder of cannabis dealer Brian Waters, 44, who was tortured and killed at a Knutsford farmhouse over a drugs debt, the trial heard.

He is alleged to have been one of at least six men involved in carrying out the violence, later fleeing the country before being arrested in and extradited from Malta 16 years on, the court heard.

The jury was told in the opening days of the trial at Chester Crown Court that Mr Waters was killed in a disused cow shed at Burnt House Farm in Tabley, near Knutsford, on June 19 2003 and another man, Suleman Razak, was tortured at the same time.

The court heard how Mr Walters was tied up, suspended upside down, beaten with a metal bar and attacked with an industrial staple gun during a horrific three-hour ordeal.

Nigel Power, prosecuting, said 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.

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 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.

The court heard Mr Waters had set up a cannabis farm at Burnt House Farm with his friend Mujahid Majid, known as Johnny, in June 2002.

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.

He said More denied being present when the attacks took place but said he had made a number of reconnaissance visits to the open land of the farm before the day of the murder.

Joel Bennathan, representing More, told the jury his client accepted helping to steal the cannabis farm on the morning of the day of the murder, but said that More left the scene when he realised something else was happening before the torture of Mr Razak and arrival of Mr Walters.

More denies the murder of Mr Waters and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm to Mr Waters and Mr Razak.

The case continues.