What happened to Ben Field and where is the killer now as the BBC’s The Sixth Commandment explores his horrifying crimes?

We reveal what happened to Ben Field as The Sixth Commandment delves into his campaign of manipulation and murder

What happened to Ben Field and where is The Sixth Commandment killer now? Éanna Hardwicke playing Ben Field in the show
(Image credit: BBC/Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle)

You might be wondering what happened to Ben Field and where he is now after watching Éanna Hardwicke’s portrayal of him in the BBC’s The Sixth Commandment.

Following on from the release of true crime dramas, The Steeltown Murders earlier this year, the BBC’s latest offering, The Sixth Commandment, is utterly heart-wrenching. The four-part drama stars Éanna Hardwicke as convicted killer Ben Field who wormed his way into the lives of Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin, played by Timothy Spall and Anne Reid. The Sixth Commandment’s depiction of his crimes is a deeply poignant watch as Peter and Ann welcome the man who would go on to be charged with murder and fraud. 

Here we reveal what happened to Ben Field and where The Sixth Commandment killer is now as the BBC drama continues…

*Warning: Spoilers ahead* 


(Image credit: BBC/Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle)

What happened to Ben Field? 

Those who’ve just discovered the BBC’s new drama might not be familiar with the reign of terror of master manipulator and killer Ben Field. He is played in The Sixth Commandment by Éanna Hardwicke and, as we’ve already seen in the show, he integrated himself into teacher and lecturer Peter Farquhar’s life.

As revealed in a heart-breakingly personal piece in The Times written by Peter’s friend and former mentee Michael Crick, Field exploited Peter and convinced him he was in love with him. At the time they met Field was in his twenties and Peter was in his sixties and had reportedly struggled to reconcile his sexuality with his belief that “God might reject him”. 

Peter Farquhar (TIMOTHY SPALL)

(Image credit: BBC/Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle)

Michael wrote of how Field declared his feelings for Peter quickly and that a priest even conducted a betrothal ceremony between them in London. Field, who was the son of a Baptist minister, even claimed to share the teacher’s devout Christian faith. He is said to have become a warden at the church Peter regularly attended and Michael divulged that in Peter’s diaries he’d declared, “Ben can love me. A miracle if ever there was one” and spoke of his fears of “dying alone” being “gone”.

Despite Peter’s love for Field, the criminal began drugging his partner’s food and drink and apparently encouraged him to drink alcohol. Peter is said to have started experiencing hallucinations and questioned his judgement as Field continued to manipulate and disorientate him. 

In 2015, Peter was found dead on the sofa at home with a bottle of whiskey nearby. This convinced the authorities that Peter’s death was alcohol related and accidental, however Field murdered him.

He then inherited Peter’s money after previously convincing him to change his will to benefit him. Field’s reign of terror continued as he moved on to target Peter’s neighbour Ann Moore-Martin. The two were soon living together at Ann’s home and he began playing cruel tricks on her, writing messages on her mirrors from “God” to try and get her to change her will. 

Just like Peter before her, Ann ended up doing so but her niece was disturbed by her tales about Field and alerted the police. Ann died of natural causes in 2017 and Field didn’t escape justice for what he’d done to her and to Peter. 

Ann Moore Martin (ANNE REID)

(Image credit: BBC/Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle)

He was arrested in 2018 - three years after he murdered Peter - and was charged with Peter’s murder, fraud and with conspiracy to murder and the attempted murder of Ann. Field reportedly didn’t try to hide his psychological cruelty or defrauding of both Peter and Ann and readily admitted it. Though he claimed he had no involvement in either of their deaths, he was found guilty of Peter’s murder.

As per The Independent, at Field’s sentencing Mr Justice Sweeney told the criminal he had “lived by deception and deceit” before referencing how he’d kept journals featuring accounts of his horrifying plans and deeds.


(Image credit: BBC/Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle)

“You have very little understanding of your own inner world, leading to your need to deceive and destroy others,” he said. “You also kept notes and journals about what you were planning and what you had done, and you did so for the pleasure that gave you.” 

Where is Ben Field now? 

Since being found guilty of murdering Peter Farquhar and defrauding Ann Moore-Martin in 2019, Ben Field has been - and remains - in prison. He received a life sentence with a minimum prison term of 36 years for his appalling crimes and so far he has served four years of this sentence. Field was, however, cleared of both conspiring to murder Ann and her attempted murder. In January 2022 he launched an appeal a year after the Court of Appeal dismissed his first challenge to his original conviction. 


(Image credit: BBC/Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle)

As per the BBC, at the Court of Appeal hearing in 2021, his barrister David Jeremy QC put forward the idea that Field’s murder conviction was “unsafe”. He claimed the judge’s directions to the jury ahead of their deliberation left the defence team with “nothing to say”. David expressed the belief that fuller directions would’ve disclosed to the jurors that the prosecution couldn’t “prove causation” and that there was “no evidence” Field had coerced Peter into drinking alcohol. 

This challenge was dismissed, the conviction was upheld and the killer was refused permission to take his appeal to the Supreme Court. The appeal launched in 2022 alleged that the judgement to dismiss the original appeal was “flawed”, with a judgement to be reached at a later date.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!