With BBC’s The Sixth Commandment the talk of the British public, it led us to reminisce on a case we handled which is very similar. Truthfully, we are no strangers to cases of coercion and manipulation. Sadly, its all too common in the realm of inheritance. So naturally we encounter such cases more regularly than we would like. BBC’s The Sixth Commandment tells the story of the gaslighting and deaths of Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin in the Buckinghamshire village of Maids Moreton in 2014 and 2017. The victims were subjected gaslighting and manipulation at the hands of Ben Field.
The victim of The Sixth Commandment
Farquhar, a seasoned novelist and English teacher with a background in teaching at Manchester Grammar School and Stowe School, encountered Ben Field during his tenure as a lecturer at Buckingham University. Despite the considerable age gap with Farquhar being in his sixties and Field in his twenties, a surprising turn of events unfolded as they embarked on a romantic journey together. Their love blossomed, culminating in a heartwarming betrothal ceremony at their church in the year 2014.
Unaware of Field’s sinister intentions, Farquhar made significant alterations to his will, designating Field as the primary beneficiary. To further solidify their connection, Farquhar entrusted Field with the role of his literary agent. Tragically, Farquhar had no inkling that Field was secretly poisoning him by lacing his tea with harmful substances. Farquhar sadly passed away in October 2015. Initially, his death was erroneously recorded as accidental, concealing the malevolent truth behind his untimely demise.
The second victim
However, Field’s unsettling behaviour persisted when he targeted Ann Moore-Martin, a retired head teacher in her eighties and a close friend and neighbour of Farquhar. In a supposed act of kindness, Ann offered Field a place to stay when he claimed to have nowhere else to go. Field managed to convince Ann to alter her will to include him as a beneficiary, as they too were now in a romantic relationship. Nevertheless, in late 2016, when Moore-Martin’s health began to deteriorate, her niece grew suspicious and decided to involve the police. The authorities made a significant discovery, linking Field’s actions to Farquhar’s death and uncovering the fact that he had also been drugging Moore-Martin. As a consequence of the investigation, Moore-Martin managed to revise her will and remove Field as a beneficiary. Despite this positive step, she passed away from natural causes in May 2017.
A similar Blanchards case
Our intestate Michael Johnson passed in February 2021. During our investigation into his case, relatives informed us about a surprising revelation: Michael had a lodger. This discovery was unusual since Michael was known to be a private individual. The lodger in question was a young man named Andrew, who took advantage of Michael’s vulnerable state due to his ongoing struggle with dementia, which had been progressively worsening over the years.
Andrew cunningly convinced Michael that he was his caregiver, and as a result, he moved in with him. However, it is essential to note that Andrew was neither a registered nurse nor an authorized caregiver associated with any legitimate company. Our belief is that Andrew saw an opportunity to exploit an elderly man with dementia, possibly being a neighbour who observed Michael’s condition and recognized a chance to gain a free residence by posing as his caregiver.
Unfortunately, Andrew’s manipulations didn’t end there. Taking advantage of the height of Michael’s dementia when his mental capacity was significantly questionable, Andrew coerced him into creating a will that left everything to him. Michael’s susceptibility and confusion were blatantly exploited during this process.
Michael’s estate, primarily comprising his house valued at approximately £500,000, was meant to pass entirely to Andrew according to the newly formed will. However, the circumstances surrounding the will have given rise to a significant dispute. Given the questionable circumstances under which the will was created, its validity is under scrutiny and subject to contestation.
As you can see both cases are eerily similar and outline how common manipulation is when it comes to inheritance. The case of The Sixth Commandment is obviously the worst case scenario. However, any instance where a vulnerable person is getting coerced in to signing away their estate is almost as deplorable. For more articles like this, please read our other blogs and follow us on LinkedIn.