Prosecutors allege that Field then began secretly slipping sedatives into Mr Farquar’s drinks to make it appear as if he was falling into the grip of “crippling” alcoholism. Friends soon began to notice Mr Farquhar’s decline from a neat, well dressed man into a “dribbling shambles of his former self”, the court heard.Field would also hide Mr Farquhar’s possessions, then pretend to find them, sometimes in the fridge. The older man began to believe that he was “losing his mind”, perhaps due to dementia, and even considered suicide, jurors were told. The pair then became “betrothed” at a formal ceremony, after which Mr Farquhar wrote in his journal: “It is one of the happiest moments of my life. Gone are the fears of dying alone.”A private email written by Ben Field around that time betrayed different intentions, the court heard. In it he described Mr Farquhar as a “closeted, Christian, homosexual, English teaching pedant, with a seriously problematic attraction to teens”.He went on to admit “seeking to exploit both Peter’s vanity and his desire for companionship”.“This is needlessly cruel, of course,” he is said to have written.Mr Farquhar was besotted, however, and was soon persuaded to alter his will so that his home would pass to Field after his death, rather than his own brother Ian. Martyn Smith pictured performing as a magician “I first met Peter in my sixth term of university.”Peter usually acts in a fashion that betrays his fearful nature, over cautious and aged.”Example: when making a cup of tea, he will go to throw the bag into the cup, but is then stricken by apprehension, and goes to toss the thing several times before dropping it in from a distance of three or five inches.”It’s small, but summarises his entire demeanour – desiring to appear masterful, he contemplates showmanship; his aversion to failure inhibits; he ends up looking far more insecure and shaky than if he was not trying to present himself to the world.”At the end of term, I called Peter and invited myself over. The reasons for this are manifold, but centre on career-minded avarice – I wanted to work at the university (where he was a guest lecturer), or at Stowe school (where he had been head of English for 21 years), etc.”So I went over and was amusing and cheered the poor man up. He retired early, to be a novelist, and his day to day existence was lonely. It is also alleged that Tom Field, Ben Field’s younger brother defrauded Miss Moore-Martin by pretending to be “mortally ill” in order to deceive her into giving £27,000 for a dialysis machine.Benjamin Field and Smith deny charges of murder, conspiracy to murder and posesssion of an article for use in fraud. Field also denies an alternative charge of attempted murder. But he has admitted four charges of fraud and two of burglary. Smith also denies two counts of fraud and one of burglary.The trial continues.Email extract written by accused about victim Benjamin Field was a prolific writer, documenting his “thoughts and activities” in diaries, notes and also electronically, a court heard.Among them was a document titled, An email about Peter.Oliver Saxby QC, prosecuting, read extracts of the two page document to the jury.”Peter A Scott Farquhar is a man of many contradictions,” Benjamin Field wrote.”He is a closeted, Christian, homosexual, English teaching pedant, with a seriously problematic attraction to teens, and who continues to privately tutor fourteen and fifteen year old boys in his home.”I do not suspect him of ever acting inappropriately in any way. This is because I know he is a virgin. A cororner concluded however that Mr Farquhar had died from alcohol related causes.Field duly collected his inhertitance, a life interest in Mr Farquhar’s home plus £20,000, while SMith was left £10,000.The pair then allegedly moved onto their next target, Anne Moore-Martin, a deeply religious retired headteacher who lived three doors down the road. The son of a Baptist minister murdered an elderly lecturer as part of an elaborate “gaslighting” plot to seduce pensioners, kill them and keep their homes, a court heard.Ben Field and his alleged accomplice Martyn Smith, a part-time magician, are accused of conspiring to kill Peter Farquhar, 69, and retired head mistress Ann Moore-Martin, 83, in the quiet village of Maids Moreton in Buckinghamshire.Field, 28, gradually deceived both into falling in love with him before persuading them to alter their wills in his favour, it is alleged.Using a psychological technique known as “gaslighting”, he convinced the pensioners they were losing their minds while secretly planning their deaths so he could inherit their wealth, jurors were told.Psychoactive drugs were secretly placed into Mr Farquar’s drinks, while messages were written on Mrs Moore-Martin’s mirrors to trick her into believing she was being contacted by God, prosecutors said.Field allegedly devised the elaborate “project” while Smith, 32, was his willing follower. When the pair were arrested, Smith had already moved in with another elderly woman, now aged 101, and had secured a copy of her will, the court heard.Officers then found a long list of other pensioners that the pair planned to target for their money, labelled “clients”. They also found plans for what Field called “exit strategies”; possible murder methods including car crashes, unwitting overdoses and ‘accidental’ heart failure during sex. Peter Farquhar When Mr Farquhar’s body was exhumed, a second autopsy found traces of sedatives in his hair. Mrs Moore-Martin reversed the changes to her will, but died in a care home shortly afterwards, apparently from natural causes.Ben Field and Martyn Smith’s final target was a woman now aged 101, the court heard.Jurors were told that at the time of their arrests, Smith had started lodging with Liz Zettl, then aged 99, at her home in Buckingham.During their investigation, police found a copy of Mrs Zettl’s will on Field’s university server, prosecutors said. Smith had also emailed a copy of the will to himself.This was “presumably with a view to committing some sort of deception on her”, Oliver Saxby QC said.Smith is said to have helped Field after becoming “carried away” in his friend’s “world of plotting and deceit and death”, the court heard. There were other “antics” carried out by Field, such as burgling the homes of elderly people,“The common theme: Death made to look like accident or suicide – an elderly, ailing life coming to a sad but predictable end,” Mr Saxby told jurors.“For Field, this was a project: Befriend a vulnerable individual, get them to change their will and then make sure they died. Indeed, piecing things together, it is clear that his project became his life’s work – a life’s work of which he was proud and for which he admired himself.” Like Mr Farquhar, the 83-year-old was unmarried, childless and lonely. Flattered by the attentions of a man 57 years younger, she soon fell in love and embarked on a full-blown sexual relationship, prosecutors said.Soon, though, Field began to leave Biblical messages written in white marker on her mirrors, suggesting it was the “will of the Lord” that she should leave her house to him. A devout Roman Catholic and regular churchgoer, Mrs Moore-Martin is said to have interpreted these as direct messages from God.She told a friend that Field was giving her “white powder” to help her sleep. He also took a photograph of Mrs Moore-Martin performing a sex act on him without her knowledge, the court heard.“Something to blackmail her with, presumably, if the need arose,” Mr Saxby said.Eventually, Mrs Moore-Martin agreed to alter her will to leave her home to Field. However a solicitor and Mrs Moore’s concerned niece both raised the alarm and the police were called. “Note: Later in our friendship I edited his second novel for him, and suggested that we collaborate on a book. Retired headteacher Ann Moore-Martin was once pictured meeting Nigel Farage on her doorstep Credit:Paul Rogers/Times Newspapers Former University of Buckingham student and church warden Benjamin Field “This is, once again, my own ambition seeking to exploit both Peter’s vanity and his desire for companionship.”Time passed, I saw Peter again and again. He once came to Olney, and I showed him round the various churches and spoke about the history of the Baptist Christian Tradition in Britain, Blah and Blah.”Typically, though, I would visit him during a free hour or two while I was in Buckingham anyway, and he would make us a meal.”I had, and still have, a very clear model of relationship’s reciprocity or mutuality, which is vulgarly commercial: he gives me things, and he gets me for a length of time.”Historical example: he lets me stay in the spare room, makes me dinner and breakfast, and in exchange he wins at chess and feels a little less lonely.”This is needlessly cruel, of course; I do like the man, and appreciate some of the things he’s done for me. However, that’s not really an interesting thing to say.” It was a classic example of so-called “gaslighting”, Mr Saxby QC said.“It is a form of psychological manipulation where the perpetrator sows seeds of doubt in the mind of a victim so the victim ends up doubting their memory, their sanity,” he told the court.The term comes from the 1938 Patrick Hamilton play Gaslight and its later film adaptations, in which a man dims the lights in his home while convincing his wife that she is imagining the change.“Nobody knew they were drugging him, least of all Peter Farquhar,” Mr Saxby added.It was around this time that Tom Field, Ben’s younger brother, raised concerns about the “project” in an email read out to the court.“Has it gone too far? The will thing isn’t OK,” the younger Field is said to have warned his brother.“It’s all good fun but it’s got to stop at some point.”Mr Farquar was eventually taken into a care home, where his condition markedly improved, it was said. Shortly after returning home, however, he was found dead at home by his cleaner in October 2016, the court heard.“Peter Farquhar did die. Ben Field killed him. Almost certainly by suffocating him,” Mr Saxby told jurors. “If he was to inherit their houses, they had to die. And if he was to enjoy his inheritance, of course, he had to get away with it.”Their first target was Mr Farquhar, a “highly respected” former head of English at Stowe school who had retired to write a series of novels, the court heard.Jurors were told that Field first met Mr Farquhar in 2011, shortly after becoming an English student at Buckingham University, where the retired teacher was a part-time lecturer. Shortly afterward both Field and Smith began lodging at his home.At the time Mr Farquhar was a well-respected figure with a large circle of friends and former Stowe pupils. He was “clever, organised, alert and capable; Christian; and private”, prosecutors said.But he was also “torn” about his homosexuality, which he had kept secret for years, and found it difficult to reconcile with his religious beliefs, the court heard. He had never married, had no children, and struggled with a degree of “emotional repression”.Shortly after meeting Mr Farquhar at university, Field allegedly decided to exploit his loneliness, with Smith’s help. He began a relationship with the older man, told him he was “through with girlfriends” despite still seeing other women, and started sleeping and cuddling in his bed. Mr Farquhar’s writings suggest the relationship became sexual, the court heard. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Oliver Saxby QC, prosecuting, said: “The motive was financial gain – laced, as far as Ben Field is concerned, with a profound fascination in controlling and manipulating and humiliating and killing.