Body was exhumed revealing 'campaign of poisoning' as son of Milton Keynes vicar stands accused of grisly murder

Mr Farquhar’s body was exhumed on May 30 2017, two years after he was buried, so a second post-mortem examination could take place after Field and Smith were arrested on suspicion of murder.

Samples obtained from Mr Farquhar’s body, including his hair, showed he had consumed less alcohol than had been thought and there were sedatives in his system.

Peter Farquar

Peter Farquar

On March 13 and 14 2017 Field and Smith had been arrested and addresses linked to them were searched. A folder or wallet was found containing multiple small, clear grip bags which had sedative and hallucinogenic drugs inside them.

The court was told how a number of books were found as well, including one titled ‘The Young Poisoner’s Handbook’.

The jury heard that Ben Field was in the habit of reading through diary entries made by his betrothed retired teacher, Peter Farquhar and even copied down choice extracts, to see how his poisoning campaign was progressing.

Mr Saxby said: “Field was in the habit of snooping, of looking at Mr Farquhar’s journals - at one stage Mr Farquhar realised this is what he had been doing. He caught him doing it but Field was not only reading what Mr Farquhar was writing - he was gaining an insight into Mr Farquhar’s thinking and seeing how his plans were playing out on him.

Ben Field

Ben Field

“He was also logging some of them, in whole, in part or in summary, in his own diaries. Quite why, only he can say. Doing so probably made keeping a handle on so complex and carefully planned and coordinated a project, or series of projects, easier. But, the Crown would say, Field is an arrogant man and it seems as though he derived satisfaction, enjoyment, even pride, from cataloguing much of what was going on.”

The prosecutor told how a book called Five Last Acts - The Exit Path: the arts and science of rational suicide in the face of unbearable, unbelievable suffering, by Chris Docker, which details options and methods for rational suicide, was found among Field’s possessions.

The jury heard that anyone who read that book would know that mixing sedatives and alcohol was recommended as a means of killing oneself.

It was also revealed that, despite Mr Farquhar believing he and Field were in a loving relationship, Field was seeing two women - at one point he was seeing all three of them at the same time.

Ann Moore Martin

Ann Moore Martin

Mr Saxby said: “So, to the extent Field felt any feelings towards Mr Farquhar, these are likely to have been fairly limited - even from the outset.

"As things developed, of course, his actions - and the extent to which he was wiling for Mr Farquhar to suffer, at his hands, whilst concealing the reason why - belied a deep abhorrence for Mr Farquhar and all he stood for. As, from time to time, both he and Smith made clear in their messages to each other.”

The trial continues tomorrow.

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