A retired teacher’s young lover allegedly murdered him by secretly feeding him drugs and alcohol just a year and a half after they were betrothed.
Ben Field, 28, has been accused of pairing up with Martyn Smith, 32, to feed psychedelic drugs to Peter Farquhar, 69, in order to get into his will.
Oxford Crown Court heard that Field and Mr Farquhar were betrothed at a private ceremony in West Hampstead, London, in March 2014.
In a diary entry from the time, Mr Farquhar said of the ceremony: ‘It is one of the happiest moments of my life. Gone are the fears of dying alone.’
He added: ‘We took the train to London, to a church in Hammersmith. To have this wonderful young man in my life until I die… It was a beautiful day in London. God is good to me. Far more than I deserve.’
Peter Farquhar, 69, and Ben Field, 28, were betrothed in a private ceremony in West Hampstead, London, in March 2014
They had met at the University of Buckingham when Mr Farquhar was a guest lecturer and Field was a student.
Snaps from the day show the couple exchanging knives and a ring as gifts marking their union.
Prosecutors claim Field suffocated Mr Farquhar to death in October 2015 after a sustained ‘gaslighting’ campaign where he led him to believe he had gone insane at his home in the village of Maids Moreton in Buckinghamshire.
Field and Smith reportedly fed him psychedelic drugs, which they had served him on his toast and in his chocolate.
The retired English teacher and lecturer had been besotted with his young lover, and had grown increasingly dependent as his health deteriorated, the court had heard.
In a journal entry read to the jury by Mr Saxby QC and Detective Sergeant Richard Earl, who appeared in the witness stand, Mr Farquhar wrote in lovestruck disbelief.
He wrote: ‘He [Field] wants to make a commitment and live here – thank you God. A knife is the wedding ring of brotherhood.’
At the end of the hearing, the jury were shown an image of the couple standing on a hilltop after sealing their relationship, gazing down with happy smiles from the misty summit.
Field has been accused of secretly feeding Mr Farquhar drugs and alcohol for months in order to get his inheritance. Pictured: the pair at the summit of Dunkers Beacon after getting engaged
Describing the day they became engaged, at the summit of Dunkers Beacon in North Somerset, devout Christian Mr Farquhar wrote: ‘We embraced each other totally on that summit hilltop… God is good to me.’
The prosecutor told the jury most people assumed Mr Farquhar had drunk himself to death, including a coroner who conducted an investigation into his death, and that after Mr Farquhar died Field collected the inheritance of £20,000 and his home.
The pair were also accused with attempting to murder 83-year-old Ann Moore-Martin, pictured, who lived just a couple of doors down the road, and who Field was also in a sexual relationship with
Smith collected £10,000, the court heard.
The pair were also accused with attempting to murder 83-year-old Ann Moore-Martin, who lived just a couple of doors down the road, and who Field was also in a sexual relationship with.
Benjamin Field, from Olney, is charged with one count of murder, one count of attempted murder, one count of conspiracy to murder, one count of burglary, three counts of fraud and one count of possession of an article for use in fraud.
He has admitted the three fraud counts and the burglary.
Martyn Smith, from Redruth, Cornwall, denies all the charges against him – one count of murder, one count of attempted murder, one count of conspiracy to murder, three counts of fraud, one count of burglary and one count of possession of an article for use in fraud, namely the will of an 101-year-old woman called Elizabeth Zettl, who Field lodged with.
Also in the dock was Tom Field, 23, from Olney, who is Benjamin Field’s brother. He was charged with fraud by false representation.
The prosecutor told the jury this was in relation to an alleged incident where the two Field brothers and Smith convinced Ms Ann Moore-Martin that Tom Field needed £27,000 to buy a kidney dialysis machine so he could remain at university. He denies fraud.
The trial continues.