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Churchwarden who manipulated his elderly neighbours has been ordered to pay almost £150,000

|News, Proceeds of crime

A churchwarden who carried out a targeted campaign of manipulation against two elderly neighbours has been ordered to pay £146,561.02.

Benjamin Field, 29, embarked on a relationship with dedicated churchgoer Peter Farquhar, befriending the 69-year-old so that he would change his will in Field’s favour.

Once Field was set to be the main beneficiary of Mr Farquhar’s will, he started plying the retired lecturer with a cocktail of drugs and alcohol, slowly poisoning him to death.

As Mr Farquhar’s health deteriorated, Field set his sights on their neighbour, 83-year-old Ann Moore-Martin, writing her love letters and leaving messages on her mirrors ‘from god’ telling her to leave him her house.

She too changed her will to favour Field and thankfully at this point Thames Valley Police were alerted to his ruthless exploitation.

Field pleaded guilty to defrauding his vulnerable victims and was found guilty of murdering Mr Farquhar on 9 August 2019.

Today at Oxford Crown Court Benjamin Field has been ordered to pay £146,561.02 within three months or he faces an additional 16 months on his 36-year prison sentence.

Kathryn Curtis of the CPS said: “Field ruthlessly exploited two beloved members of a small Buckinghamshire village so they would hand their life savings over to him.

“This was a highly unusual case and today’s hearing means Field can no longer profit from his cruel actions, as he has been ordered to return the swindled money to the families of Mr Farquhar and Ms Moore-Martin.

“Working to take this money from Field is the last chapter in seeing him finally face justice.”

Notes to editors

  • Benjamin Field (DOB: 27/10/1990) was found guilty on 9 August 2019 of murdering Mr Farquhar, having earlier pleaded guilty to three offences of fraud and two of burglary
  • He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 36 years on 18 October 2019.
  • Benjamin Field has today been issued with a £146,561.02 compensation order which will be paid to the families of Ms Moore-Martin and Mr Farquhar

Proceeds of crime at the CPS

Over £100m in criminal assets was recovered in respect of CPS prosecutions for 2019-20, stopping hundreds of criminals benefiting from their ill-gotten gains.

After conviction the CPS can ask the court to make a Confiscation Order where the judge will consider two things:

  • The total financial ‘benefit’ that a defendant made from their criminal activity
  • The total value of the assets the defendant currently has to pay their order – known as the ‘available amount’

When the available amount is less than the benefit amount, the defendant is only ordered to pay the amount they have available.

This can mean that even if a criminal benefited significantly from the crime, they may not have access to any assets, so the judge would order a minimal repayment.

If the position changes later down the line, and on reinvestigation the defendant is found to have new assets, the CPS can ask the court to reconsider these and issue an increased Confiscation Order.

In the last 5 years over £20m has been reclaimed by the CPS asking for the reconsideration of Confiscation Orders

Further reading

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