A church warden accused of driving a lecturer mad then killing him for his inheritance once compared himself to someone who could ‘snake talk his way into an old man’s house like a sociopath’, a court heard.
Benjamin Field, 28, entered into relationships with former school English teacher Peter Farquhar, 69, and retired headmistress Ann Moore-Martin, 83, to inherit money from their wills, it is claimed.
Field, who a court heard was in a relationship with Mr Farquhar and living at his Buckinghamshire home, told his trial that he made the comment during an online chat with a friend whom he was trying to impress.
The jury at Oxford Crown Court heard he wrote of a lifestyle of lies and the ability to ‘snake talk [his] way into an old man’s house like a sociopath’, which could happen if you had the skills to charm and ‘remain covert’ while ‘all sense of hope are extinguished’.
Benjamin Field (right), 28, entered into relationships with former school English teacher Peter Farquhar (left), 69, to inherit money from his will, it is claimed
Field denies killing Mr Farquhar and conspiring to murder retired headmistress Miss Moore-Martin following a sustained campaign of ‘gaslighting’.
Mr Farquhar, a novelist, died in October 2015, while Miss Moore-Martin, who lived a few doors away in the village of Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire, died in May 2017.
Field is on trial alongside magician Martyn Smith, 32, accused of murdering Mr Farquhar and planning to kill Miss Moore-Martin.
Field said the snake talk comment was about ‘deviousness’, adding: ‘I have lied to him (Mr Farquhar). He believes that I love him.’
Field, 28, is on trial with magician Martyn Smith, 32, accused of killing Mr Farquhar and conspiring to murder retired headmistress Ann Moore-Martin, 83, (pictured)
Peter Farquhar (left), 69, and Ann Moore-Martin, 83, died within a year and a half of each other
Asked by his defence lawyer David Jeremy QC if he was snake talking from the witness box, Field said: ‘No, I am not. There is no way for me to prove it. All I can do is keep on telling the truth.’
He added: ‘There has been no bit of snake talking since I took the stand.’
Field has told the jury he had pleaded guilty to fraudulently pretending to be in a relationship with Mr Farquhar and Miss Moore-Martin.
He has said that he intended to gain financially from Mr Farquhar’s will and that he also ‘gaslighted’ him for around six months.
The pensioners lived three houses apart in the village of Maids Moreton in Buckinghamshire
This involved moving things around so that Mr Farquhar was confused and irritated when he could not find them.
Field suggested that he had a deal with Mr Farquhar to be his companion for the rest of the pensioner’s life but also said he had cheated on him and had relationships with women.
In his online chat, Field, who is the son of a Baptist minister, had also suggested that he could train as a vicar.
Field told the court that it was not because he had a strong faith or religious calling but because ‘it was just another scam that I thought I could pull’.
He said he did not intend to join the church.
Field said the most important relationships in his life were with his family and former girlfriend Setara Pracha who he began seeing in October 2014.
Field said he ‘fell in love with her very fast and very hard’ and that it also made him less happy about being with Mr Farquhar.
Benjamin Field (left), 28, and Martyn Smith (right), 32, are on trial at Oxford Crown Court
This relationship ended when Field was caught being unfaithful to her.
Field said he initially secretly started drugging Mr Farquhar to try to get him to sleep properly but then just progressed to being cruel.
The more positive ‘sunnier side’ of his feelings towards Mr Farquhar had dwindled by summer 2015 and instead he ‘disliked him and enjoyed treating him negatively’, according to Field.
Oxford Crown Court saw footage of novelist Mr Farquhar, pictured, in bed and struggling to string words and sentences together
Mr Farquhar had done nothing to deserve this, according to Field who said he was later genuinely sad when he died.
Field told the court: ‘Part of my sadness was about how I treated him and how he spent his last year. This was something I felt I had obviously caused. I had been cruel to him but I did also miss him and grieve his loss.’
Field also stated that Smith did not play a part in covertly drugging Mr Farquhar.
Field and Smith deny charges of murder, conspiracy to murder and possession of an article for the use in fraud.
Field, of Olney, Buckinghamshire, also denies an alternative charge of attempted murder.
But he has admitted four charges of fraud and two of burglary.
In addition Smith, of Redruth, Cornwall, denies two charges of fraud and one of burglary.
Cambridge University graduate Tom Field, 24, Benjamin Field’s younger brother, of Olney, Buckinghamshire, is also on trial accused of a single charge of fraud.
The trial continues.