The Catch-up: Shocking story of how ‘cruel, calculating’ church warden murdered lecturer

What happened?

A church warden is facing life in prison for murdering a university lecturer after a cruel campaign of physical and mental torture. Benjamin Field, 28, was found guilty of killing Peter Farquhar, 69, in order to benefit from his will. His co-accused, magician Martyn Smith, 32, was found not guilty. The pair were both cleared of a charge of conspiracy to murder Mr Farquhar’s near-neighbour Ann Moore-Martin, and Field was also acquitted of her attempted murder. Field’s younger brother, Tom, 24, was found not guilty of a £27,000 dialysis machine fraud by pretending to Ms Moore-Martin that he was seriously ill.

‘Cruel, calculating, manipulative, deceitful’

Before Field killed Mr Farquhar, he manipulated his victim and subjected him to a shocking campaign of cruelty. Field began a fraudulent relationship with Mr Farquhar, who struggled with his sexuality because of his religion. Field conducted a “betrothal” ceremony with Mr Farquhar while also having a string of girlfriends, and was in a sexual relationship with Ms Moore-Martin, who was 57 years his senior.

During the deception, Field spiked Mr Farquhar’s food and drink with neat alcohol and hallucinogenic drugs, and wrote messages on Ms Moore-Martin’s mirrors purporting to be from God. Field killed Mr Farquhar by trying to make his death look like an accident or suicide and told the jury his victim could have died from taking his usual dose of flurazepam and drinking whisky. The University of Buckinghamshire graduate had admitted fraudulently being in a relationships with Mr Farquhar and Ms Moore-Martin as part of his plan to get them to change their wills.

Senior investigating officer Mark Glover said Field fitted the profile of a psychopath. “Cruel, calculating, manipulative, deceitful. I don’t think evil is too strong a word for him,” he said. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Read more

Pensioner believed messages written by lover telling her to change her will were from God (The Telegraph)

Britain's oldest court witness gives evidence over church warden and magician's 'gaslight murder plot' (The Telegraph)

Student accused of plot to kill 83-year-old lover and murdering lecturer admits interest in ‘extremes of death’ (The Independent)

Church warden who poisoned elderly lover had list of 100 other targets (The Independent)

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