Church warden Ben Field found guilty of murdering university lecturer Peter Farquhar in Maids Moreton

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Ben Chapman

A “calculating” church warden has been convicted of murdering a university lecturer after a campaign of physical and mental torture.

Benjamin Field, 28, was found guilty at Oxford Crown Court for the murder of Peter Farquhar, 69, in the village of Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire.

During the trial, the court heard how Field embarked on a campaign drugging, deceiving and defrauding the victim in the lead-up to his death.

Mr Field's co-accused, magician Martyn Smith, 32, was found not guilty.

Field (left) killed Mr Farquhar (right) by making his death look like an accident or suicide. Credit: Thames Valley Police

The pair were both cleared of a charge of conspiracy to murder Mr Farquhar’s close neighbour Ann Moore-Martin and Field was also acquitted of her attempted murder.

He had convinced both he was in a relationship with them, but was really manipulating and torturing the pair.

Field killed Mr Farquhar by making his death look like an accident or suicide.

The court was shown footage shot by Ben Field after he had drugged his older lover with hallucinogens and filmed him talking as part of a ploy to make him think he was losing his mind.

The court was shown footage of Mr Farquahar after he had been drugged. Credit: Thames Valley Police

Field, a Baptist minister’s son, admitted fraudulently being in relationships with Mr Farquhar and his neighbour Miss Moore-Martin as part of a plot to get them to change their wills but denied any involvement in their deaths.

Field, a Baptist minister’s son, admitted fraudulently being in relationship with Mr Farquhar. Credit: Thames Valley Police

Prosecutors told Oxford Crown Court Field and Smith targeted Miss Moore-Martin a few months after murdering Mr Farquhar but they were acquitted of charges relating to her death after 77 hours of deliberations.

Senior investigating officer Mark Glover, a retired detective chief inspector, 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.

Mr Glover said Field had taken pleasure in tormenting his victim and torturing him physically and mentally, adding: “Everything is about Ben Field and Ben Field’s gain.”

Ann Moore-Martin died in 2017. Credit: Thames Valley Police

Chris Derrick, head of complex casework unit at CPS Thames-Chiltern, added: “I think torture is a word that can be used to described Benjamin Fields’ behaviour.”

He added: “He is clearly a very calculating and ruthless man who spent a great deal of time planning what he was going to do.”

Field's brother Tom, 24, a Cambridge University graduate, was cleared of a single charge of fraud.

An aerial view of the former homes of Peter Farquhar, circled left, and Ann Moore-Martin in Manor Park, Maids Moreton. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

Benjamin Field showed no emotion as the jury forewoman returned the verdicts.

When his brother, who was on bail, was released from the dock he hugged his parents.

Mr Justice Sweeney adjourned sentencing against Field until a date to be fixed after ordering a pre-sentence psychiatric report. He was remanded into custody until then.