A murderer who manipulated and killed a retired academic and defrauded and deceived his elderly neighbour has been sentenced to 36 years in prison.
Thames Valley Police launched a double murder investigation in 2017, following the deaths of two residents in the same road, Manor Park in Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire.
Peter Farquhar was found dead on 26 October 2015, aged 69.
Ann Moore-Martin died on 12 May 2017, aged 83 from natural causes, after a lengthy campaign of deceit was waged against her.
After a twelve week trial at Oxford Crown Court Benjamin Field, aged 28, of Wellingborough Road, Olney, was found unanimously guilty of the murder of Peter Farquhar. He had already pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud and two counts of burglary. He was found not guilty of one count of conspiracy to murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of possession of an article for use of fraud.
He was sentenced today.
As Judge Sweeney spoke of the 'dreadful impact' of his crimes Field's eyes dropped down and he seemed close to tears, his mother and father were both in court, his mother sitting hunched with her hand shielding her face as her son was sentenced.
A tribute on behalf of the family of Peter Farquhar reads: “Peter was always a very loving and supportive man. He was a wonderful brother and uncle and he is very greatly missed. It was a great pleasure to have had him in our lives.
“Peter was a school teacher and so many things in his life revolved around that, and around Stowe School in particular, where he was head of English.
“When he was teaching he would absolutely enthuse the students. People have been in touch with us since he died about how he completely transformed their understanding of literature.
“He retired, mainly to start writing novels, of which he wrote three, but he missed the common room activity and being part of a school community, so he started to lecture at Buckingham University, and he went on to become such a renowned academic. It was here that he first met Ben Field and Martyn Smith.
“Listening to the trial and hearing Ben Field give his evidence about what he did to Peter has been extremely difficult. His actions have been unbelievably callous, and he has told lie after lie after lie in order to achieve his goals, deceiving everyone he met.
“Ben Field is an arrogant man who has an extremely high opinion of himself. He used my brother as some kind of object to get his ends.
“All the things that were precious to Peter, Ben robbed him of. He did it all just to get some money, which we find absolutely astonishing.
“If people hear this story, we hope that they are very, very careful if somebody unexpected walks into the life of a loved one when that loved one is vulnerable and lonely. There must be other people out there like Ben Field and we would not want anybody to have to go through the things that we have.”
A tribute written by the family of Ann Moore-Martin reads: “Aunty Ann was the core of our family. She wasn’t just an Aunt but a mum/Grandmother and aunt all rolled into one.
“Our lives have all been changed forever and the world is a much darker place without her.
“Aunty Ann was an inspiration to us all. She faced challenges with strength and courage, and always wore a smile even in the face of adversity.
“Ourselves and Peter’s family are united in grief and sorrow but also in love and memories.
“Aunty Ann was a kind, gentle, beautiful soul, who touched so many lives, leaving behind a legacy of wonderful memories.
“We are truly blessed to be able to call her our Aunt.”