Accused admits grandparents were a target at Maids Moreton murder trial

Ben Field, Ann Moore-Martin, Peter Farquhar
Ben Field, Ann Moore-Martin, Peter Farquhar

Murder accused Ben Field spent a fifth day on the witness stand at Oxford Crown Court in the Maids Moreton trial on Friday (14 June).

The defence began by reminding Mr Field that the prosecution case is that he almost certainly suffocated Peter Farquhar, aged 69, on the evening of 25 October, 2015.

Adding that it would “run the risk of him waking” and causing a struggle, David Jeremy QC asked:

“Is that something you would do?”

Mr Field replied:

“It isn’t something I did, not at all, no.”

Mr Jeremy inquired if Ben Field was the sort of person to attack from the front or the back.

After a short delay, Mr Field said:

“I only pause because it’s an interesting question but I think the back, yes.”

Mr Jeremy asked if his client felt guilty about the death of Peter Farquhar given that he has admitted to secretly drugging him.

“Somewhat but not wholly. I didn’t think that my doing this would kill him,” Mr Field replied.

The defendant was then asked to compare his relationship with Peter Farquhar to Ann Moore-Martin.

Mr Field said:

“My relationship with Peter started very naturally and it was only later in the friendship that I saw the opportunity of gaining from it. With Ann the idea of using her for gain was in my mind from the beginning.”

“Was there anything honest in the relationship with Ann,” David Jeremy asked.

“No. The relationship was false,” Ben Field responded.

When Mr Jeremy asked Mr Field to describe his feelings for Ms Moore-Martin, he said:

“Very close to indifference.”

Evidence was presented, including from various text messages between Mr Field and Martyn Smith, who is also charged with conspiracy to murder Ann Moore-Martin, which suggested that Mr Field spoke to Ms Moore-Martin about suicide on numerous occasions.

By way of explanation, Ben Field told the court:

“I was encouraging her to think for herself about a topic that’s extremely important, I wasn’t encouraging her to do anything.”

Mr Field continued:

“It’s the difference between showing someone where a pelican crossing is and pushing them into the road.”

Mr Jeremy was moved to ask how then did Mr Field persuade Ms Moore-Martin to give him money.

Ben Field said:

“I let her persuade herself.

“I pretended to love her when I didn’t. So that’s how I did it.”

Later the court was read a statement made by Ms Moore-Martin before she died. It included the following lines:

“It’s difficult to say how I came to change my will – it just crept up on me.

“Ben never did ask me for money – he was clever, really.”

The jury was now presented with more text messages between Martyn Smith and Ben Field in which they talk about “currying favour” with Liz Zetl, whom both are accused of having possession of her will for use in fraud.

Ben Field said:

“It’s word play on going for a curry. The reference is to dining.”

Mr Jeremy asked about Mr Field’s planning with regards to defrauding Ms Moore-Martin, pointing the jury once again to the nine cards that his client had made referencing the work of Spanish writer Baltasar Gracián, specifically his book ‘How to use your enemies.”

The jury was shown that under ‘action points’ Mr Field had included, ‘re-mortgage house’, ‘life insurance’ and ‘Tom dies’.

Mr Jeremy inquired as to how pretending his brother had died could extract money from Ann Moore-Martin.

Mr Field replied:

“Funeral costs. Being too grief-stricken for work.”

Referencing his list of ‘clients’, Mr Field explained that not everyone on the list was a target for fraud. Some, including his brother Tom and Martyn Smith, were simply people who had been useful to him and may be again in the future.

Mr Field added:

“But the rest are all targets for fraud.”

“Including your grandparents?” Mr Jeremy asked.

“Yes, I think that’s what I was thinking,” Ben Field responded.

In another note, the court was told that Mr Field had considered hypnotism as a way to defraud someone.

The defendant explained that his intention was to take the money from a ‘client’ to book a cruise holiday but then to merely hypnotise his target into thinking they’d gone on a cruise, and thus pocket the money himself.

David Jeremy QC asked:

“Did you see any practical difficulties with that?”

Mr Field replied:

“Yes, obviously there are enormous practical difficulties with that.”

It was also pointed out to Mr Field by the defence that his list mentioned talking to his grandfather about euthanasia.

Mr Jeremy asked what this meant.

Mr Field said:

“I’m not sure how that leads to profit. I think my list has got away from me here. I’ve forgotten what it’s supposed to be about.”

David Jeremy now asked about the dialysis machine fraud. Ben Field admits to falsely telling Ann Moore-Martin that his brother Tom required a kidney dialysis machine that cost around £26,000.

“Did you tell Tom?” Mr Jeremy asked the defendant.

“No. I was simply using his name. It wasn’t for him and he didn’t know anything about it,” Ben Field said.

David Jeremy asked if he was worried that the game would be up when Tom Field met Ann Moore-Martin.

Ben Field said that at the time he told Ms Moore-Martin the following:

“Tom is very proud. He doesn’t like being helped by us.”

Mr Jeremy pressed his client by suggesting that he must still have been a bit concerned something revealing would be said.

Mr Field replied:

“A little bit. But if that had happened I would have just made something else up.”

The court was now told of another of Ben Field’s tactics in the defrauding of Ann Moore-Martin, namely his creation of a false, back-dated diary titled ‘Letter to the saints.’

In this Mr Field wrote about not being able to bear having to leave 6 Manor Park, Ms Moore-Martin’s property, in the event of her death, suggesting he might have to kill himself. Mr Field wrote, “this cannot be survived.”

The jury was told by the defendant that his plan was to accidentally leave the contrived diary in Ms Moore-Martin’s house, and that she would find it, read it and think:

“Good grief, the only way I can save Ben is by giving him my house.”

When asked why he thought it would work, Mr Field said:

“I suppose because I knew her.”

Soon after this, Mr Field confirmed to the court, he began his mirror writing campaign.

Mr Field wrote messages on Ms Moore-Martin’s mirrors, mostly in her bathroom, purporting to be from God, and suggesting that she should leave her house to Ben Field.

Asked about how this idea came about, Ben Field told the court:

“I saw the marker in a stationery shop and thought oh I know what I could use that for. The marker was the seed of the idea.”

Mr Jeremy then asked how Ms Moore-Martin had reacted to the messages.

Mr Field said:

“She seemed utterly delighted and convinced. I told her I had received similar messages myself.”

Mr Field was reminded of text messages between himself and Martyn Smith talking about the mirror writing. In one text, Mr Smith had inquired as to what Mr Field was doing that evening, asking “more mirror work?”

Ben Field explained to the jury:

“He knew I was doing this thing making messages appear but I didn’t tell him my real motives.”

Mr Field added regarding former magician, Martyn Smith:

“I was creating spooky experiences and I thought he might be interested.”

Tom Field had also written text messages referencing the mirror writing, the court heard.

Ben Field said:

“I told him Ann wanted to have visions so I’m providing them.”

Ben Field, 28, and Martyn Smith, 32, are charged with one count of murder, one charge of conspiracy to murder, three counts of fraud, one count of possession of an article for the use in fraud, and one count of burglary.

Additionally, Ben Field is charged with one count of attempted murder.

Tom Field, 24, is charged with fraud.

The trial continues.