Church warden pretended to be in love with his alleged victims

By Ali Fortescue, news reporter

A 28-year-old church warden accused of murdering a pensioner to benefit from his will has said he lied about being in love with the victim.

Benjamin Field denies murdering 69-year-old university lecturer Peter Farquhar in October 2015.

The suspect and the victim had been living together in the small village of Maids Moreton in Buckinghamshire and celebrated a commitment ceremony together.

Field, the son of a baptist minister, also denies conspiracy to murder relating to an 83-year-old woman, who later died from natural causes.

Image: Mr Farquhar, a guest university lecturer, died in 2015. Pic: Remembering Peter Farquhar/Facebook

Talking about Mr Farquhar, Field told Oxford Crown Court he had been pretending he loved the academic and novelist "to increase my standing in [his] life and thereby inherit".


He admitted to secretly giving Mr Farquhar drugs and "gaslighting" him for six months, a form of psychological abuse where the perpetrator manipulates their partner, and which can make victims doubt themselves, their memories and judgement.

Field said he would move "things so that he wouldnt find them… I did this vindictively so as to confuse him".

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However, Field said when he was gaslighting the victim, he did not do so intending to kill him.

Peter Farquhar was thought to have entered in to a relationship with his alleged killer
Image: Peter Farquhar was thought to have entered in to a relationship with his alleged killer

The defendant allegedly "psychologically manipulated" the pensioner. He is accused of lacing his food and drink with drugs and neat alcohol.

The court heard that in 2012, Field wrote an email to himself in which he called Mr Farquhar a "pedant" with a "seriously problematic attraction to teens… though I do not suspect him of acting inappropriately in anyway."

In the email, the 28-year-old said he was "seeking to exploit his [Mr Farquhars] vanity" and described their relationship was "vulgarly commercial".

He went on to say: "I do like the man and appreciate some of the things hes done for me".

Field is also accused of conspiracy to murder neighbour Ann Moore-Martin, 83, who died of natural causes in May 2017.

Ann Moore-Martin died of natural causes
Image: Ann Moore-Martin died of natural causes

He is accused of writing messages on mirrors to encourage the pensioner to change her will. Field admits he gaslighted her for "approaching" two years.

He told the court: "I had been pretending to have a real relationship with her that was false… to get her to change her will and ultimately when she died to inherit from her."

However, when asked if he had encouraged Read More – Source

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