‘Arrogant’ church warden who murdered elderly lover had list of 100 more targets

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A minister’s son who seduced and psychologically tortured an elderly neighbour before murdering him had a list of 100 other targets, police said.

Benjamin Field, 28, was convicted of the murder of Peter Farquhar, 69, on Friday after seducing the academic and author before drugging and killing him in October 2015.

Field, a church warden, preyed on the man in the small village of Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire in order to dupe Mr Farquhar out of an inheritance.

He was caught after Mr Farquhar’s death was re-examined in 2017 when a woman in the village, Ann Moore-Martin, 83, told friends Field had been giving her a ‘white powder’ before her own death.

Field was cleared of conspiracy to murder and attempted murder of Ms Moore-Martin, but admitted fraudulently being in relationships with both people.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Glover, the senior investigating officer for the case, said Field would likely not have stopped at his first two victims.

He said Field had a ‘100 clients’ list of other people he could ‘use’ as future targets, including his parents.

‘His own grandparents were on there, his mum and dad, his brother, his girlfriend, her mother,’ DCI Glover said.

‘Some of them were elderly, they fitted the same profile as his victims, independent, living alone, affluent, no children.

‘If it hadn’t come to light from Ms Moore-Martin and her niece, we may not know about it now and he could have quite easily moved on to other people.’

DCI Glover added: ‘Ben has never shown any remorse for what he has done, and I am convinced he is unable to show human empathy. Ben’s arrogance led him to believe that he would literally get away with murder.

‘I am convinced that had he not been stopped, he would have posed an ongoing danger to society.’

Jurors at Oxford Crown Court heard Field had convinced Mr Farquhar that he was in love with him, before persuading him to change his will and drugging him.

DCI Glover said Mr Farquhar was particularly vulnerable because he felt being gay was at odds with his Christian faith, but was sincerely in love with Field.

Over a period of months Field gave Peter drugs, causing him to fall over multiple times in an attempt to make his death look like it was a result of alcoholism.

‘Ben also mentally tortured Peter, who as an academic thought he was losing the part of him that was most precious – his mind,’ DCI Glover added.

Mr Farquhar’s family have welcomed the verdict, branding the 69-year-old’s killer ‘unbelievably callous’ and ‘arrogant’.

The family said in a statement: ‘Peter was always a very loving and supportive man. It was a great pleasure to have had him in our lives.

‘Hearing Ben Field give his evidence about what he did to Peter has been extremely difficult. His actions have been unbelievably callous, and he has told lie after lie after lie in order to achieve his goals, deceiving everyone he met.

‘Ben Field is an arrogant man who has an extremely high opinion of himself. He used my brother as some kind of object to get his ends.

‘All the things that were precious to Peter, Ben robbed him of.’

Oxford Crown Court heard Field had a ‘profound fascination in controlling and manipulating and humiliating and killing’.

After Mr Farquhar’s death, Field began a relationship with Ms Moore-Martin, leaving her ‘messages from God’ on her mirror in lipstick as part of the fake relationship.

Field will now be sentenced for murder and four counts of fraud at a date still to be set.

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