Murder of university lecturer, 69, to be turned into BBC crime drama

Murder of university lecturer, 69, by ‘psychopathic’ church warden, 29, in plot to inherit his home and money is set to be turned into BBC crime drama

  • Benjamin Field was jailed for at least 36 years for killing Peter Farquhar in 2015 
  • Warden Benjamin, 29, poisoned Mr Farquhar after being written into his will 
  • The BBC drama will show viewers the events that unfolded before author’s death 

A true crime series about the murder of the university lecturer and author Peter Farquhar has been commissioned by the BBC.

The drama, which has been titled The Sixth Commandment, will explore the death of Mr Farquhar, 69, and the gaslighting campaign of physical and mental torture he was made to endure at the hands of church warden Benjamin Field, 29. 

Field was found guilty in August 2019 of the 2015 killing Mr Farquhar in the village of Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire, in order to inherit his house and money and is currently serving a 36-year sentence.

Detectives branded Field – a Baptist minister’s son – a psychopath and said he would have posed an ‘ongoing danger to society’ had he not been stopped. 

In his trial, the court heard how Field secretly gave Mr Farquhar drugs and spiked his whisky, hoping that his eventual death at his hands would look like suicide or an accident before defrauding him of £160,000 from his will. 

A true crime series about the murder of the university lecturer and author Peter Farquhar has been commissioned by the BBC. Pictured: Undated handout file photo issued by Thames Valley Police of Peter (left) and his killer Benjamin Field (right) 

The BBC drama will show viewers the events that unfolded before the author’s death.

In the trial Field was acquitted of the attempted murder of neighbour Ann Moore-Martin after defrauding her of £4,000 to buy a car and £27,000 for a dialysis machine.

Writer Sarah Phelps, who also penned the BBC adaptation of And Then There Were None, said: ‘This is such a shocking and brutal case – how a murderer hid his manipulation and malevolence in plain sight of a small community, how he insinuated his way into the lives of his victims.

‘It’s a heartbreaking story of such desperate longing and loneliness. But even within the darkness, there is the most astonishing blazing love and courage.

Undated handout photo issued by Thames Valley Police of Peter Farqhuar (right) and Benjamin Field

Writer of the upcoming series Sarah Phelps (pictured), who also penned the BBC adaptation of And Then There Were None, said: ‘This is such a shocking and brutal case’

‘I’m honoured to have been asked to write this drama and to be trusted with the memories and experiences of Peter and Ann’s families.’

Executive producer Brian Woods said: ‘The families of both Peter and Ann agreed to support this powerful story being serialised.

‘This drama will show how these two vibrant and complex souls were groomed and manipulated by an evil predator. 

‘And we hope this series will raise awareness of how vulnerable those living alone can sometimes become.’

Casting for the mini-series is yet to be announced.

During his trial, Oxford Crown Court heard how Field secretly gave Mr Farquhar drugs and spiked his whisky over a two-year period in an effort to make him believe he was losing his mind.

Benjamin Field (pictured) worked his way into the life of a university lecturer before killing him

It was all part of his plan to get the lecturer to take his own life.

To convince him he was losing his mind, Field admitted perpetrating ‘gaslighting’ on Mr Faruqhar by moving things around in his home.

Field persuaded Mr Farquhar that he was doing ‘strange things’ such as putting a crystal glass in the freezer and deleting all the contacts in his phone. 

He also told him he had smashed a prized framed picture, but Field’s diary entries showed he had recorded himself doing these things.

Mr Farquhar sought the help of specialist doctors as he thought he was losing his mind – though none of them could find out what was wrong with him. 

In August 2015, Field spiked the lecturer with the powerful psychedelic drug 2CB on the day of his book launch. 

Mr Farquhar was a retired Buckingham University lecturer and former Stowe School teacher, who had four novels published.  

Field also gaslighted Miss Moore-Martin, a deeply religious retired headteacher, by writing messages on her mirrors purporting to be from God.

He had admitted fraudulently being in relationships with the pensioners as part of his plan to get them to change their wills.


In his trial Field also admitted defrauding another victim, Ann-Moore Martin (pictured), but was cleared of conspiracy to murder the pensioner

Field accepted he had ‘psychologically manipulated’ the retired teachers but denied any involvement in their deaths.

Mr Farquhar died in October 2015, while Miss Moore-Martin died in May 2017 from natural causes. 

Field denied murdering the author and University of Buckingham lecturer and maintained Mr Farquhar could have died from taking his usual dose of flurazepam and drinking whisky but was convicted by the jury.

The judge said that Field murdered Mr Farquhar by covertly giving him drugs and getting him to drink strong whisky and then, ‘if it was necessary, finished him off by suffocating him in a way that left no trace.’ 

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