Church warden who murdered university lecturer Peter Farquhar jailed for life

A “calculating” church warden has been jailed for life, with a minimum term of 36 years, for murdering a university lecturer after a campaign of physical and mental torture.

Benjamin Field, 28, was found guilty at Oxford Crown Court in August 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 of 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.

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.

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

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 Farquhar 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.

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

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.