The shocking true story behind Catching A Killer: A Diary from the Grave

Did you watch the Channel 4 documentary?

Francesca Shillcock

On Monday evening, Channel 4 aired their gripping documentary Catching A Killer: A Diary from the Grave, exploring one of the country's most unusual yet shocking crimes in recent years.

MORE: Everything you need to know on Channel 4's Catching A Killer


The true-crime series aired on Channel 4 

The 90-minute true crime show documents the death of retired teacher Peter Farquhar who was found dead at his home in Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire, in 2015. The story behind his sad death shocked the nation when the truth was eventually uncovered.

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Peter (left) was manipulated and murdered by Benjamin Field

It transpired that Peter had been emotionally and financially manipulated by the man he loved, Benjamin Field, a PhD student 41 years his junior, and ultimately murdered by him. The former vicar and future academic had managed to become a beneficiary in Peter's will after gas lighting the former teach into thinking he was "losing his mind", and then poisoned him to death by spiking his food and drinks with hallucinogenic drugs.

Although his death was initially considered unsuspicious by authorities, his passing remained a sad surprise for those that knew him. Before his death, the 69-year-old was generally in good health, but ended up dying after a "long period of confusion and illness."

But it was when Peter's neighbour Ann Moore-Marie had died under similar circumstances that suspicions began to arise. This led to Thames Valley Police detectives opening a murder investigation, which saw Peter's body exhumed to uncover critical evidence, and his diaries examined to reveal the tragic truth behind the "kind and gentle" man's death. The investigation was played out for the documentary in scenes difficult to watch, yet crucial to the case.


The show documented the murder investigation

Peter's family, including his brother, and friends were also interviewed for the case that they branded as a "callous", "deeply malevolent and thoroughly evil" attack. After Ben was arrested and charged, he was then put on trial and eventually found guilty of murder at Oxford Crown Court in August 2019. He was sentenced to jail for life, serving a minimum of 36 years. More evidence subsequently arose surrounding Ann's death, and it had transpired that Benjamin had preyed on her also, but he was found not guilty for murder.

Mark Glover, senior investigating officer at TVP, said in a statement: "This is unlike any other case I have investigated in more than 31 years of policing, and Ben Field is unlike any other criminal I have encountered. The extent of his planning, deception and cruelty towards his victims is frankly staggering, and I do not believe he has ever shown an ounce of remorse or contrition."

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