Beds, Herts & Bucks

Maids Moreton: Murder accused admits 'tormenting victim'

Mr Field standing next to novelist Mr Farquhar Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption University lecturer Peter Farquhar, left, and church warden Benjamin Field, who is accused of his murder

A man accused of murdering an author has told a court the way he treated the 69-year-old was "despicable".

Benjamin Field, 28, admitted drugging Peter Farquhar while he was fraudulently in a relationship with him to gain financially from his will.

The church warden said he drugged Mr Farquhar to "torment" him.

Mr Field denies the murder of Mr Farquhar and conspiracy to murder Ann Moore-Martin, 83, in Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire.

Mr Farquhar died in October 2015, and neighbour Miss Moore-Martin in May 2017.

Giving evidence at his trial, Mr Field said he started drugging the university lecturer with benzodiazepines before switching to hallucinogenic legal highs.

He told the jury at Oxford Crown Court he did it "for no other reason other than it was cruel, to upset and torment Peter - purely out of meanness".

"What I did was completely unacceptable, despicable and wicked and in no way reflective of anything he had done to me," he said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin lived three doors away from each other in Maids Moreton

The court heard Mr Field also encouraged Mr Farquhar to drink more alcohol while he was taking sleeping tablets.

"It was a reckless thing but at the time I didn't think it was a terribly reckless thing to do for him," he said.

In 2015 Mr Field decided to move out of Mr Farquhar's home and went to live with Ann Moore-Martin who lived three doors away.

He said he left Mr Farquhar's home because he knew he was treating him badly and would rather leave than be nice to him.

Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption Mr Farquhar died in October 2015 and Miss Moore-Martin died of natural causes in May 2017

Telling the jury why he decided to live with Miss Moore-Martin, Mr Field said: "Early on I saw her as someone I could benefit from."

Mr Field has admitted "gaslighting" and fraudulently being in relationships with both Miss Moore-Martin and Mr Farquhar to inherit from their wills.

Mr Field, of Wellingborough Road, Olney, Buckinghamshire, denies murder, conspiracy to murder, attempted murder, and possessing an article for use in fraud. He has admitted four charges of fraud and two of burglary.

His brother Tom Field, 24, of Wellingborough Road, Olney, Buckinghamshire, denies a single charge of fraud.

Mr Smith, of Penhalvean, Redruth, Cornwall, denies murder, conspiracy to murder, two charges of fraud and one of burglary.

The trial continues.