Maids Moreton: Murder accused admits faking relationships
A man accused of murdering a university lecturer and conspiring to murder a retired headmistress has admitted fraudulently being in relationships with them both.
Benjamin Field, 28, said he pretended to have "romantic feelings" for Peter Farquhar, 69, and Ann Moore-Martin, 83, to gain financially from their wills.
The pair lived in the village of Maids Moreton in Buckinghamshire.
The church warden denies murder and conspiracy to murder but admits fraud.
Giving evidence for the first time in his trial at Oxford Crown Court, Mr Field was asked by David Jeremy QC, defending: "Did you suffocate him, Peter Farquhar? Administering drugs and gaslighting him? Did you intend to kill him?"
Mr Field replied: "I did not."
Mr Jeremy then asked his client: "Did you conspire to murder Ann Moore-Martin? Did you attempt to murder Ann Moore-Martin? Give her drugs or tried to poison her? Encouraged or assisted her to commit suicide?"
The church warden said he "did not" but told the court he did speak to Miss Moore-Martin about suicide "on several occasions".
Mr Field said he convinced the retired headmistress he had "romantic feelings for her" and that they "were in a genuine romantic relationship".
"I was pretending to have a real relationship with her, that was false," he said.
He told the court he entered into the fake relationship "to gain from her, to get her to change her will and, when she died, to inherit from her."
Mr Farquhar died in October 2015 while Ms Moore-Martin died of natural causes in May 2017.
Mr Field, of Wellingborough Road, Olney, Buckinghamshire, denies murder, conspiracy to murder, attempted murder, and possessing an article for use in fraud. He has admitted four charges of fraud and two of burglary.
His brother Tom Field, 24, of the same address, denies a single charge of fraud.
Martyn Smith, 32, of Penhalvean, Redruth, Cornwall, denies murder, conspiracy to murder, two charges of fraud and one of burglary.