Beds, Herts & Bucks

Student denies attempting to kill elderly lover in Buckinghamshire

Ann Moore-Martin Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption Miss Moore-Martin died in May 2017

A church warden accused of plotting to kill his elderly lover has denied hurting her, a court has heard.

Benjamin Field, 28, admits targeting Ann Moore-Martin, 83, as part of a plot to benefit from her will after her death.

Mr Field denies conspiring with his magician friend Martyn Smith, 32, to murder Miss Moore-Martin in Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire.

He told Oxford Crown Court he did not give Miss Moore-Martin drugs.

Mr Field also denies the murder of author and university lecturer Peter Farquhar, 69, with whom he was also in relationship.

Mr Farquhar died in October 2015, and neighbour Miss Moore-Martin in May 2017.

Mr Field has admitted fraudulently being in relationships with both in order to gain financially from their wills.

The court heard that Mr Field had declared his love for Miss Moore-Martin in a series of letters and poems during a year-long seduction.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin lived three doors away from each other in Maids Moreton

Prosecutors allege Field targeted the deeply religious spinster a few months after allegedly murdering her neighbour Mr Farquhar.

Mr Field, a student at the University of Buckingham, also left messages written on mirrors in her home purporting to be from God.

The court heard that Miss Moore-Martin was admitted to hospital in February 2017, having suffered a seizure.

She died in May from natural causes following a stroke.

Miss Moore-Martin changed her will to leave her home to Mr Field, but changed her mind shortly before she died and alleged Field had poisoned her by giving her "white powder".

David Jeremy QC, defending Mr Field, asked him: "Were you the cause of her illnesses?"

Mr Field, who was giving evidence for a sixth day, replied: "No, no way at all."

Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption Author and university lecturer Peter Farquhar, left, and church warden Benjamin Field, who is accused of his murder

Mr Jeremy asked: "Did you administer drugs or powders to her?"

The defendant replied: "Never, no."

Mr Field and Mr Smith deny charges of murder, conspiracy to murder and possession of an article for use in fraud.

Mr Field, of Wellingborough Road, Olney, Buckinghamshire, also denies an alternative charge of attempted murder. But he has admitted four charges of fraud and two of burglary.

In addition, Mr Smith, of Penhalvean, Redruth, Cornwall, denies two charges of fraud and one of burglary.

Mr Field's brother Tom Field, also of Wellingborough Road, Olney, Buckinghamshire, denies a single charge of fraud

The trial continues.

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