Church warden who murdered 69 year old almost chosen for ordination training

Aug 11, 2019 by

By Cara Bentley, Premier:

Benjamin Field, the son of a Baptist minister, was five days away from possibly being selected for ordination when he was arrested for murder.

The 28 year old was found guilty at Oxford Crown Court of killing Peter Farquhar, a member of St Mary’s (Stowe parish church), in order to inherit his house and money.

He also persuaded retired headmistress Ann Moore-Martin, a Catholic, to change her will in his favour and wrote messages on the mirror claiming to be from God.

He was arrested when her niece complained to the police, Miss Moore-Martin died two months laters of natural causes and Mr Field was cleared of conspiring to kill her.

The Times revealed that at that point in March 2017 he was just five days away from a Bishops’ Advisory Panel (BAP), where a bishop selects candidates to go forward for ordiantion in the Church of England, normally after a period of discernment and conversations with other clergy.

He had asked Reverend Stephen Bushell, a trained psychologist, to be his spiritual director. Rev Stephen contacted the Diocese of Oxford in January 2017 with “serious concerns” about Mr Field and if he had been selected he would have had procedural psychological assesment.

The Church of England will now order an investigation into fears that congregations can be groomed.

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