FOR more than 25 years, Peter Farquhar meticulously kept a diary.
It detailed mundane aspects of daily life — but within its pages were clues to how he was murdered.
With no forensic evidence to go on, a detective investigating the case realised early on Peter’s journals would be “crucial” in solving the mystery of his death.
Entries told how he felt “lethargic” and feared he was losing his mind as he saw “hideous packs of black insects”.
Peter wrote: “There is something not right.”
Senior investigating officer DCI Mark Glover said: “In a way Peter is talking to us from beyond the grave, potentially narrating his own murder.”
The journals are revealed tonight in new Channel 4 documentary Catching A Killer: A Diary From The Grave.
Peter, a kindly 69-year-old former university lecturer and novelist, was found dead at his home in the village of Maids Moreton, Bucks, in October 2015.
His death was not initially treated as suspicious.
LACING HIS TOAST WITH DRUGS
But when his neighbour Ann Moore-Martin, 83, died in similar circumstances two years later, it sparked a double murder investigation.
Peter could not believe his luck when handsome Ben Field — who, at 28, was more than four decades his junior — started dating him.
As their relationship developed, they even had a church betrothal ceremony, in which they exchanged crucifix necklaces.
But “psychopath” Field was also seeing FOUR women.
He had embarked on a “gaslighting” campaign of drugging, deceiving and defrauding Peter to get him to change his will.
Churchwarden Field had also duped retired headmistress Ann — who lived three doors along from Peter — into a fake relationship.
Before her death, Ann suffered a seizure and was admitted to hospital, where she alleged Field had given her “white powder”.
She died from natural causes but her claims prompted detectives to look closely into Peter’s death.
DCI Glover says on TV: “Shortly before his death, Peter changed his will, leaving his house and other possessions to Field rather than his family.
“Ann also made Field the beneficiary of her will, leaving him her house.”
While the investigation was ongoing, DC Jenny Chapman explained: “I’ve never seen anything quite like this.
“It’s not a standard murder where we have a body that’s just been murdered, a scene, suspects, CCTV.
"With this case you’ve got a suspicion that something has happened, no forensics.”
So detectives had to “delve back in time through people’s memories” to paint a picture of Peter’s life.
His close confidante, the Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain, said Peter had been “raised in a world which suggested that being gay and being a Christian were incompatible.”
But when Field appeared on the scene, the reverend says Peter became “accepting of his own sexuality”.
Field was at the University of Buckingham and Peter was his English lecturer.
It is clear from his diaries he was immediately besotted with the “clever and seriously intellectual” Cambridge graduate.
On October 13, 2013, Peter writes: “Ben said that the reason he wanted to come and live in Buckingham was to be with me.
“We embraced and hugged each other. I can’t believe that this has happened: Ben can love me — a miracle if ever there was one.”
Field moved in with Peter, getting a part-time job at a nursing home and volunteering as a churchwarden.
Ben’s friend, magician and fellow student Martyn Smith also lodged with them.
Peter’s diaries reveal his joy as the romance progressed. Writing on January 3, 2014, he recalls Ben gave him a “beautiful jet and mother of pearl knife” as a birthday present.
Peter adds: “He asked if we could be ‘betrothed’. He wanted to be mine. I accepted with all my heart.”
But in truth Field was topping up Peter’s drinks with pure alcohol and lacing his morning toast with hallucinogenic drugs.
An inquest into Peter’s death recorded it as accidental and as the result of acute alcohol intoxication.
Police found a half-empty bottle of whisky next to the body. Field claimed Peter was a closet alcoholic, which friends and his brother Ian found difficult to believe.
After Ann died, detectives waded through more than 2,000 pages of Peter’s diaries, realising three journals covering his final year were missing.
The similarities in the “signs of disorientation and confusion” both Peter and Ann displayed — along with her “white powder” claims — prompted detectives to exhume Peter’s body.
The post mortem showed that the amount of alcohol Peter drank that night was not enough to kill him.
Tests revealed the whisky bottle had traces of DNA from Field and Smith — but none from Peter.
It gave the police enough evidence to arrest Field. Smith was arrested as well. They also found Peter’s missing journals inside Field’s flat.
The diary entries recount his fears as his health deteriorated.
On June 2, 2015, he wrote: “Ben accompanied me to Stoke Mandeville Hospital where I had a brain scan, offered after my expression of concern about forgetting occasional names and words.”
‘HE'S A PSYCHOPATH. HE DOESN'T HAVE FEELINGS’
And on July 21, 2015, he wrote: “One of the most awful days of my life. I wanted to die. I saw hideous packs of black insects.”
The investigators built up a timeline charting all Field’s relationships from 2011 until 2017.
DC Chapman says: “In March 2014 he’s in a relationship with four other women that we know of.
"So at that point, when Peter thinks that they’re the happiest they’ve ever been, Field is seeing at least four women.”
DS Natalie Golding questioned Field and was struck by his eerily calm demeanour.
She said: “I think that he’s a psychopath. He’s able to switch on and off and make people believe he’s got feelings, when he doesn’t in fact have any.”
Field refused to answer questions, instead giving a statement through his solicitor denying murdering Peter and Ann or having any involvement in their deaths.
During the search of his flat, detectives found a notebook belonging to Field with “pages of notes in tiny writing” including the chilling note: “2015: End Peter.”
But police only had circumstantial evidence and were forced to release Field on bail. Then, in October 2018, the police investigation reached a turning point.
Samples taken of Peter’s hair revealed evidence of two psychoactive drugs recovered from Field on his arrest.
DCI Glover said: “We’ve got Ben’s fingerprints on the packaging for those drugs.”
The following month detectives arrested and later charged Field on suspicion of Peter’s murder and Ann’s attempted murder.
At his trial in April last year Field admitted duping both Peter and Ann into fake relationships as part of a plot to get their wills changed but denied any involvement in their deaths.
Field was found guilty of Peter’s murder at Oxford Crown Court.
The jury heard Field “suffocated him” when he was too weak to resist and planted the whisky bottle to make it look as though he had drunk himself to death.
Martyn Smith, 32, was found not guilty of murdering Peter and cleared of conspiracy to murder and the attempted murder of Ann.
Field, who was found not guilty of plotting to kill Ann, was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to serve a minimum of 36 years.
Peter endured years of torture and did not know why it was happening.
On October 24, 2015, the day before his death, he writes: “A pleasant autumnal day. I bought bulbs for the garden. Planted 20 daffodils to provide a view from the patio window. Hard work.
“Clocks go back an hour, surely they could have waited a week.”
- Catching A Killer: A Diary From The Grave is on Channel 4 tonight at 9pm.