Britain’s oldest court witness gave evidence at a murder trial that heard she may have been the next victim.
Elizabeth “Liz” Zettl, 101, relived the moment she was told by police how two men on trial for the killing of a pensioner had a copy of her will.
The court was shown evidence that the defendants, Martyn Smith, her lodger, and his friend Benjamin Field, had an emailed copy of her will.
Mr Field, 28, a church warden, and Mr Smith, 32, a magician, are accused of co-conspiring to murder retired lecturer Peter Farquhar, 69, in Maids Moreton, Bucks. Mr Field is accused of attempting to murder retired teacher Ann Moore-Martin, 83. Both were allegedly targeted in a “gaslighting” plot.
Ms Zettl appeared in court as a video was shown of her police interview when she was told that Mr Field and Mr Smith had a copy of her will. She suggested the only reason why Mr Smith may have a copy was because he had “scrawled” a telephone number on the back and needed the piece of paper.
It is understood she is the oldest person to ever give evidence in a criminal court. She told police her lodger was “absolutely no trouble”.
The court heard police discovered the will on Mr Field’s university server as an email attachment Mr Smith sent himself from her email address.
The prosecution say this was so they could “see what she was worth”.
After her evidence, Ms Zettl told Mr Justice Sweeney: “Sorry it wasn’t very helpful but my memory’s not as good as it was.” The judge replied: “If we’re all as bright as you are at your age, we will have great cause to be grateful.”
Mr Smith, of Penhalvean, Cornwall, also denies three counts of fraud, one of burglary and one of possession of an article for use in fraud, namely Liz Zettl’s will. Mr Field, of Olney, is additionally charged with one count of burglary, three of fraud and one of possession of an article for use in fraud – also in relation to Ms Zettl’s will. He admitted the three fraud counts and the burglary.
Also in the dock was Mr Field’s brother Tom Field, 23, of Olney, Bucks, who is charged with fraud by false representation.
The trial continues.