‘Drugs on toast tor­ture’

Novelist was ‘fed hal­lu­cino­gens as part of mur­der plot and saw hideous packs of black in­sects’

Daily Mail - - Life - By Josh White

A RE­TIRED uni­ver­sity lec­turer was served hal­lu­cino­genic drugs on his toast as part of a plot to mur­der him and claim his es­tate, a court heard yes­ter­day.

Peter Far­quhar, 69, be­gan to ques­tion his san­ity as he was al­legedly tar­geted in a sus­tained cam­paign of men­tal tor­ture.

The for­mer head of English at the pres­ti­gious Stowe School was see­ing ‘hideous packs of black in­sects’ af­ter the drugs were put in his food and he was sub­jected to the psy­cho­log­i­cal ma­nip­u­la­tion known as ‘gaslight­ing’, it is claimed.

The author was also left a ‘drib­bling sham­bles’ af­ter his drinks were ‘su­per­charged’ with near-pure al­co­hol, a jury was told.

One neu­rol­o­gist, obliv­i­ous to the truth, came to the con­clu­sion that an un­known con­di­tion must be ‘rapidly de­stroy­ing his cere­bel­lum’.

In­stead, his lodgers in Maids More­ton, Buck­ing­hamshire – deputy church war­den Ben Field, 28, and ma­gi­cian Mar­tyn Smith, 32 – were lac­ing his food with the pow­er­ful hal­lu­cino­genic 2C-B be­fore they fi­nally suf­fo­cated him, Ox­ford Crown Court was told.

Field and Smith are also ac­cused of plan­ning the death of the author’s neigh­bour Ann Moore-Martin, 83, hav­ing also got her to change her will. Field is said to have started sex­ual re­la­tion­ships with both pen­sion­ers as part of the plots.

At one point, the two stu­dents – who had met Mr Far­quhar at the Uni­ver­sity of Buckingham, where he was a guest lec­turer – took him to the launch of his 2015 novel A Wide Wide Sea at Stowe while he was un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs.

The jury was told he ap­peared ‘frail, very un­well, very con­fused, slumped at a ta­ble, vis­i­bly strug­gling to sign books’. Pros­e­cu­tor Oliver Saxby QC said: ‘[A witness] re­mem­bers [him] call­ing out there was light com­ing into his eyes. Ap­par­ently, he thought he was be­ing at­tacked by shards of light.’

De­spite his or­deal Mr Far­quhar called Field, who he had ‘mar­ried’ in a church cer­e­mony in 2014, a ‘per­fect com­pan­ion’.

But from Oc­to­ber that year, Mr Far­quhar’s con­di­tion de­te­ri­o­rated as the drug­ging and ‘ gaslight­ing’ es­ca­lated, the court heard.

The jury was shown ‘cal­lous’ video clips Field had recorded of Mr Far­quhar, in­clud­ing one of him ap­par­ently hal­lu­ci­nat­ing and talk­ing of a ‘they’ he was wor­ried about, while Field taunted him by ask­ing who the imag­i­nary person was.

Mr Saxby said: ‘It is Field’s tone which you might like to bear in mind and the com­plete and ut­ter lack of em­pa­thy.’

In Oc­to­ber 2015 Field al­legedly mur­dered the author with Smith’s ‘as­sis­tance’, fool­ing friends, fam­ily and even the coro­ner into think­ing he had drunk him­self to death.

But sam­ples taken af­ter his body was ex­humed re­vealed ‘re­peated ex­po­sure’ to drugs. The pathol­o­gist’s re­port con­cluded they would have ac­cen­tu­ated the ef­fects of al­co­hol and ‘could have al­lowed third party in­ter­fer­ence... for in­stance, smoth­er­ing’.

Field in­her­ited £20,000 from Mr Far­quhar and a life in­ter­est in the house, while Smith got £10,000.

The court pre­vi­ously heard how the pair also ma­nip­u­lated spin­ster Miss Moore-Martin into chang­ing her will. She sur­vived the or­deal but died of nat­u­ral causes two months af­ter her niece’s con­cerns led to a po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Field, of Ol­ney, Buck­ing­hamshire, and Smith, of Re­druth, Corn­wall, deny mur­der and con­spir­acy to mur­der. Field also de­nies an al­ter­na­tive charge of at­tempted mur­der.

Field’s younger brother Tom, 24, de­nies fraud in re­la­tion to a claim he helped ex­tract £27,000 from Miss Moore-Martin by pos­ing as an ill pa­tient in need of a kid­ney dial­y­sis ma­chine. The trial con­tin­ues.

‘Com­plete and ut­ter lack of em­pa­thy’

Trial: Church war­den Ben Field, left, and ma­gi­cian Mar­tyn Smith

Left a ‘drib­bling sham­bles’: Author Peter Far­quhar

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