Peter Farquhar death and killer Ben Field: The story behind C4's Catching A Killer documentary

Harriet Brewis, Tim Baker
Channel 4
Channel 4

Channel Four’s Catching a Killer series has always dealt with difficult material, but tonight’s episode offers a particularly harrowing tale of gaslighting, greed and cold-blooded murder.

It tells the story of lecturer Peter Farquhar, 69, who was found dead at his home in the quiet village of Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire.

His death in 2015 was not initially treated as suspicious.

Around the time of Mr Faquhar’s death, his neighbour Anne Moore-Martin, 81, started seeing messages from "God" scrawled across mirrors in her home.

She then tried to suddenly change her will to benefit her 26-year-old boyfriend Ben Field.

During a later police investigation, officers discovered that Field had also received more than a hundred thousand pounds after Mr Farquhar’s death.

Ben Field is serving life in prison (PA)
Ben Field is serving life in prison (PA)

Soon the threads of a deadly and multifaceted deception began to unravel.

This 90-minute documentary uses footage of the police investigation and narration from Mr Farquar’s painfully evocative diary to tell this stranger-than-fiction story of love and betrayal.

But who is the charismatic killer Ben Field? And what were the circumstances leading up to the murder of Mr Faquhar and the messages to Ms Moore-Martin.

Here’s the true story behind Catching a Killer: A Diary From The Grave:

The show focuses on events in Maids Moreton (PA)
The show focuses on events in Maids Moreton (PA)

Benjamin Field, now 29, is now serving a life sentence for the crimes outlined in the documentary.

Back in 2011, Field came across Mr Farquhar at the University of Buckingham.

Field took advantage of the pensioner’s old age loneliness to seduce him.

The younger man set about a campaign of gaslighting, as well as secretly drugging the senior more than 50 times to present the picture that Mr Farquhar had a drinking problem.

Field read the pensioner’s diary in order to stay ahead of him and know his thinking.

Mr Farquhar and Field (PA)
Mr Farquhar and Field (PA)

Nursing home worker Field proposed to Mr Farquhar on his 68th birthday and the pair went through a “betrothal ceremony”.

During this time Field was still involved with numerous women.

Mr Farquhar changed his will to include Field. After staying in a nursing home for a few days in October 2015, the lecturer became more lucid and so Field killed him.

He slipped him a drug known as Dalman and fed him whisky, before strangling him on October 25, 2015 and getting more than £100,000 from the will.

At the same time, Field had started a relationship with Mr Farquhar’s neighbour - Anne Moore-Martin.

The 81-year-old former headteacher was a devout Catholic and treated her niece, Anne-Marie Blake, like a daughter.

Field seduced Ms Moore-Martin as well, filming an intimate video of the pair in case he needed to blackmail her.

The trickster also scrawled messages on mirrors in Ms Moore-Martin’s home that he claimed were from God, convincing her to put him in her will.

Field left messages he claimed were from God (PA)
Field left messages he claimed were from God (PA)

Field’s scheme fell apart when he met Ms Moore-Martin’s solicitor - the same person who had overseen the changes to Mr Farquhar’s last testament.

Diana Davis “smelt a rat” and - working around the legal constraints of client privilege - managed to inform Ms Moore-Martin of the previous will.

With love-letters and fake messages from God, Field managed to convince the octogenarian to make him a beneficiary in December 2016.

Three months later, she fell ill. Field was caught by her niece, Ms Blake, returning to his victim’s home and the police were called.

Ms Moore-Martin died in May 2017 of natural causes, but was “deeply affected” by what she found out had happened to her.

Ian Farquhar, brother of murder victim Peter Farquhar (Channel 4)
Ian Farquhar, brother of murder victim Peter Farquhar (Channel 4)

Field was found to have a number of personality disorders, including a psychopathic one but Mr Justice Sweeney found this did not diminish culpability.

Field was convicted for the murder of Mr Farquhar, and fraud by false representation against Ms Moore-Martin.

He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 36 years in October 2019.