A man who claimed he would ‘get away with murder’ has been sentenced to life in jail at Oxford Crown Court.
Ben Field, aged 28, of Wellingborough Road, Olney, was found guilty by unanimous verdict at Oxford Crown Court on 9 August of the murder of Peter Farquhar, who died in 2015 aged 69.
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 in fraud.
On Friday he was sentenced at the same court to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum term of 36 years.
Senior investigating officer, Principal Investigator Mark Glover, said: “Peter was in a vulnerable position when he met Ben, due to the fact that throughout his life he had struggled to reconcile his Christian faith with his homosexuality. He had also recently retired from a career that he loved.
“Ben used Peter’s loneliness to ingratiate himself into his life over a period of four years.
“He even allowed Peter to believe that the pair were in a loving, committed relationship, which was never the case. Ben kept up his this pretence throughout this time, telling Peter that he loved him, and sharing a bed with him.”
This deception continued to the point where Ben and Peter underwent a church ceremony in which they betrothed themselves to each other.
During this relationship, Peter changed his will to benefit Ben, with Ben set to inherit a life interest in Peter’s property as well as £20,000 in cash. Ben went as far as to drive Peter to the solicitor’s office to ensure the will was changed.
Mr Glover said: “Over a number of months, Ben secretly drugged Peter, which led to him suffering a number of falls and injuries. Ben suggested to Peter as well as his friends and family, that the reason this was happening was that Peter was an alcoholic, which he was not.
“Ben also suggested that Peter could be suffering from dementia, and over time, due to ongoing ‘gas-lighting’ in which Ben would move and hide Peter’s possessions, Peter believed him.
“It is difficult to imagine the suffering that Peter went through during his time with Ben. He was mystified as to why he appeared to be losing his mind, especially as a number of medical checks showed that he was more than mentally competent.”
On October 25, 2015, Ben murdered Peter at his home in Manor Park, and the following morning Peter’s body was found by his cleaner. The prosecution case was that Ben used a combination of drugs and alcohol in order to kill Peter and then may have suffocated him.
Mr Glover said: “Initially, Ben’s plan was successful, as there was no suspicion around Peter’s death. Ben had created a situation in which it appeared that Peter had been unwell for some time, and then had sadly passed away. However, over time, the truth of his actions became apparent.”
For full details of the case click HERE