A ‘monstrous’ murderer who brainwashed and killed a retired English teacher drew up a list of up to 100 possible future victims, it can be revealed.
Church warden Ben Field defrauded and destroyed the lives of trusting and lonely pensioners in the Buckinghamshire village of Maids Moreton.
The 28-year-old faces life behind bars after a jury convicted him of murder yesterday.
But police are now expected to widen their probe into the middle-class preacher’s son as they keep an ‘open mind’ over further potential victims. One line of inquiry will include dementia sufferers at a care home where Field worked and tormented one resident. He could now be interviewed in custody.
Church warden Ben Field (right) defrauded and destroyed the lives of trusting and lonely pensioners in the Buckinghamshire village of Maids Moreton. Pictured, with victim Peter Farquhar at their betrothal ceremony in 2014
The son of a Baptist minister, Field wheedled his way into both his victims’ wills by drugging them and inflicting a form of psychological torture known as ‘gaslighting’. He pursued sexual relationships with both pensioners in order to ‘dismantle’ their dignity.
His first victim was Peter Farquhar, 69, a former head of English at Stowe School. The pensioner, who was gay, was duped into ‘marriage’ and signed over his house and £20,000 in cash to Field – who laced his victim’s food and tea with drugs and secretly fed him pure alcohol. Finally, he was suffocated. Field then turned his attention to Mr Farquhar’s neighbour Ann Moore-Martin, who was also deceived into falling in love with Field before changing her will in his favour.
The son of a Baptist minister, Field wheedled his way into both his victims’ wills by drugging them and inflicting a form of psychological torture known as ‘gaslighting’. Pictured, during his graduation from Buckingham University in 2014
Taking advantage of her Catholic beliefs, Field left ‘messages from God’ on mirrors around her home, which urged her to hand over her house and thousands in savings. The 83-year-old died of natural causes months after her ordeal.
At Oxford Crown Court yesterday, a jury unanimously found Field guilty of Mr Farquhar’s 2015 murder. They deliberated for 77 hours following a three-month trial.
He was cleared of trying to kill Miss Moore-Martin, but had already admitted defrauding her of thousands of pounds. Field recorded his crimes across thousands of pages of notes, interspersed with poetry and violent rap lyrics, in which he called himself ‘monstrous’. By the time of Field’s arrest, the University of Buckingham student had assembled a list of 100 more potential targets he dubbed ‘clients’.
At Oxford Crown Court yesterday, a jury unanimously found Field guilty of Mr Farquhar’s (right) 2015 murder. They deliberated for 77 hours following a three-month trial
Among them were his own parents, grandparents and the elderly mother of his girlfriend.
A source close to Operation Naseby, the most complex murder investigation Thames Valley Police has handled, said: ‘It’s possible he killed more. At the care home he came into contact with a number of elderly residents, and we know he had a fascination with death and killing. In the future we may sit down with him and ask him whether he was responsible for any more deaths. Our suspicion is that he may well have been.’
Yesterday it emerged the Church of England will investigate how Field was invited on the road to becoming a vicar, despite warnings over his mental health.
Field had been invited by the Diocese of Oxford to attend a Bishops Advisory Panel, where future clergy are earmarked. It came despite an experienced psychologist – asked by the diocese to help Field deal with unspecified childhood traumas – warning he was a ‘psychopath’.
Yesterday it emerged the Church of England will investigate how Field was invited on the road to becoming a vicar, despite warnings over his mental health. Pictured, Thames Valley Police handout photo of Field in a frame
Questions are now likely to be asked about the Church’s vetting. The diocese said an independent review will examine if any ‘signals of harmful intent were missed’.
It can also be revealed how another pensioner said she was ‘hypnotised’ into changing her will by Field – and later he plotted to have her pushed off a cliff as they walked on a windy day in Dorset.
Another elderly couple living on the same road as Field also died in ‘suspicious’ circumstances, their deaths mirroring murder methods the killer had written about.
He also planned a murder rampage, in which he would suffocate or beat to death up to 50 elderly householders. In other material not shown to jurors, Field was recorded laughing as he told worshippers in his father’s church in Olney, Buckinghamshire, how killing was defensible if done for the ‘greater good’.
Field will be sentenced at a later date. His younger brother Tom, 24, and former magician Martyn Smith, 32, were cleared of acting alongside the killer.