Church warden who murdered elderly lover for inheritance ordered to pay £150,000

Church warden who murdered elderly lover for inheritance ordered to pay £150,000

A church warden who lured an retired lecturer into a relationship and killed him for his inheritance has been ordered to pay back almost £150,000.

Benjamin Field, 29, befriended dedicated churchgoer Peter Farquhar, 69, and persuaded his target to add him to his will. As soon as he was set to be the main beneficiary, he started plying his victim with a cocktail of drugs and spiking his whisky, hoping his eventual death would look like suicide or an accident.

He was convicted by a jury at Oxford Crown Court of Mr Farquhar’s murder in the village of Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire, in 2015 but acquitted of the attempted murder of neighbour Ann Moore-Martin, who he deceived in a similar way.

The Baptist minister’s son had pleaded guilty to defrauding Mr Farquhar of £160,000 from his will and of cheating Ms Moore-Martin of £4,000 to buy a car and £27,000 for a dialysis machine. Today Field appeared via video link at Oxford Crown Court for a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Judge Ian Pringle said Field had made £193,921 from his crimes but that his available money, and therefore the recoverable amount, was £146,561.

He added: ‘The defendant will have until September 18 in which to pay that sum although there is provision if this is not possible for him to have a further three months to do so.’

The judge said Field would be jailed for a further 16 months if he failed to pay up.

The court heard how 84% will be paid to the estate of Mr Farquhar and 16% will be paid to that of Ms Moore-Martin.

Speaking after the hearing, the Crown Prosecution Service’s Kathryn Curtis said: ‘Field ruthlessly exploited two beloved members of a small Buckinghamshire village so they would hand their life savings over to him.

‘This was a highly unusual case and today’s hearing means Field can no longer profit from his cruel actions, as he has been ordered to return the swindled money to the families of Mr Farquhar and Ms Moore-Martin.

‘Working to take this money from Field is the last chapter in seeing him finally face justice.’

In a previous hearing, it emerged Field is appealing against his murder conviction.

Mr Farquhar’s family branded his killer a ‘deeply malevolent and thoroughly evil man’ when he was jailed for life in October last year.

Detectives described Field as a psychopath and said he would have posed an ‘ongoing danger to society’ had he not been stopped.