Church warden given life sentence for murdering university lecturer

Peter Farqhuar and Benjamin Field at their bethrothal ceremony. (PA)

A church warden who murdered a retired lecturer by spiking his food and drinks with poison has been jailed for life.

Benjamin Field, 28, was found guilty last year of killing Peter Farquhar, 69, from Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire in a sadistic plot to inherit his house and money.

Field was sentenced life imprisonment with a minimum term of 36 years at Oxford Crown Court on Friday by Mr Justice Sweeney.

Prosecutors described Field as a psychopath who posed an "ongoing danger to society" until he was eventually caught.

Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin died more than a year-and-a-half apart. (Getty)

He admitted to frequently giving Mr Farquhar drugs and spiking his whisky in the hopes that his death would look like an accident.

After Field began targeting Mr Farquhar’s neighbour Ann Moore-Martin, 83, in a similar scheme by writing messages on her mirrors purporting to be from God.

Field admitted starting sexual relationships with both pensioners in an effort to get them to change their wills and accepted he had "psychologically manipulated" them.

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He initially denied any involvement in Mr Farquhar’s death in 2015 and Miss Moore-Martin’s death from natural causes in May 2017.

Field denied murdering Mr Farquhar and said he could have died from taking his usual dose of flurazepam and drinking whisky but was convicted by the jury.

The Baptist minister's son pleaded guilty to defrauding Miss Moore-Martin of £4,000 to buy a car and £27,000 for a dialysis machine.

The former homes of Peter Farquhar (second house from top) and Ann Moore-Martin (second house from right). (Getty)

Field had undergone a "betrothal" ceremony with gay Mr Farquhar while also having a string of girlfriends, and was in a sexual relationship with Miss Moore-Martin, who was 57 years his senior.

Prosecutors said Field had a "profound fascination in controlling and manipulating and humiliating and killing" and alleged he had plotted his crimes with his friend, failed magician Martyn Smith, 32.

He had also drawn up a "100 clients" list, including his parents, grandparents and brother, which the prosecution said were future targets.

He also admitted two burglaries and being in fraudulent relationships with Mr Farquhar and Miss Moore-Martin.

Field insisted he had acted alone and not recruited his young brother Tom, 24, or Smith to help with the dialysis fraud.

The jury found Field not guilty of conspiracy to murder Miss Moore-Martin and the alternative charge of attempted murder.

He was also found not guilty of possession of an article for the use in fraud.

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