Everyone has that one elderly man in their town who waves at you every day when you drive to work or that octogenarian who still takes her pets for walks despite her feeble age. Their whole aura and demeanor give out a single vibe of pure, unadulterated benevolence, and you know for a fact that these are the people in the twilight of their lives who’d never hurt a fly. Yet, evil always finds a way to latch on to the best of us, and most of the time, their favorite prey are the good people who’ve suffered from loneliness their whole lives. It’s like a testament to the degeneracy of such evil that they can sniff out the pangs of the absence of companionship and attack exactly those vulnerabilities that they tried to take shelter from their entire lives.
Such was the situation in the picturesque little town of Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire, where two deaths within a span of two years led the police to discover a sinister murder plot. Saul Dibb’s 4-part miniseries The Sixth Commandment dramatizes the deaths of retired teacher Peter Farquhar (Timothy Spall) and elderly woman Ann-Moore Martin (Anne Reid) and how the embodiment of evil Ben Field (Éanna Hardwicke) orchestrated their deaths. Dibb’s drama borrows heavily from the traumatizingly real events that claimed the lives of two elderly people, and it’s one true crime series that you absolutely mustn’t miss. Here’s a detailed recap of this able recreation of how two innocent lives were ended too soon in The Sixth Commandment.
How Did Peter Meet Ben?
In the quaint little town of Maids Moreton, retired schoolteacher Peter Farquhar acted as a guest lecturer at a university and wrote his diary in his spare time. But unbeknownst to the world, Peter had a secret: he was attracted to men, but because of his religious beliefs, he couldn’t ever act on his feelings. While lecturing in his class, one day, a young man named Ben Field walked in and quickly impressed the elderly teacher with his knowledge. Soon, Peter was checking out Ben’s pictures, and like clockwork, Ben caught onto Peter’s thoughts and started showing signs of mutual attraction. Before long, Ben proposed to Peter, and the elderly teacher was happier than he’d ever been. Another young man named Martyn was living in Peter’s house, and he and Ben were friends too. But soon, the troubles started.
What Changed In Peter’s Life?
It’d only been a few weeks since Peter and Ben started living together in the same house, sharing the same bed when the problems started. Peter started feeling dizzy and passed out suddenly, and during his book release, he apparently soiled and wet himself and also scratched Ben’s face. Peter’s brother Ian and sister-in-law Sue were further confused when Ben told them that Peter had an alcohol problem, whereas Ian knew his brother to never keep such vices. Unbeknownst to everyone; however, Ben spiked every bit of food and drink that he brought for Peter, keeping him sick. Later reports found that Ben had mixed 15 sleeping pills once in a drink he made for the elderly fellow and other times he fed Peter benzodiazepines and psychoactives. This’d later explain such rash and erratic behaviors from a man as decent as Peter, but what’d shock the jury would be the reason why Ben had chosen to do such heinous deeds.
Ben, a beneficiary in Peter’s newly-modified will, started behaving strangely against this sweet old man who didn’t understand what he did wrong to be treated so poorly. Ben left the town for some work and got Peter admitted to special care before he left. Like clockwork, Peter started feeling way better than he’d felt in months, but the next morning, he was discovered dead, and next to him was an almost-empty bottle of whiskey.
How Did Ben Affect Ann-Moore Martin?
Ann-Moore Martin was a woman in her 80s who’d been alone for the better part of her life except for her niece Ann-Marie and a little dog. Ben had started talking to the elderly lady while he was living with Peter, and around this time, he killed Ann’s dog in order to test the efficacy of the doses he was going to administer to Peter. However, Ben became a big part of Ann’s life a few months after Peter’s passing and quickly became a regular presence in her home. He knew everything to say that would please the old woman because he’d gone through her private belongings behind her back and gathered details about her life. What started with helping her with the plates quickly moved to goodbye kisses before departing. Ben was a cunning predator, and he knew exactly which areas were weaknesses for such an old woman and snuck into her life.
Slowly but surely, Ann gave in, and they were sharing a bed together. However, Ann’s niece was very suspicious of this whole scenario, but despite her repeated requests to let her aunt meet this new friend of hers, Ben would never come face-to-face. Moreover, when Ann-Marie tried to make her aunt see that it was very strange that a young man was so devoutly in love with her octogenarian aunt that he wanted to marry her, Ann-Moore got angry and stormed off. Meanwhile, Ben administered the same doses he’d used to sicken Peter to Ann, all the while making her think she was hallucinating. Ben would make scribbles on the mirrors and make Ann think the Lord wanted her to make Ben a beneficiary of her will, and the poor woman went along with what she felt was divine will.
However, it was Ann-Marie’s proactiveness that helped her discover her aunt lying on the floor with blood on her face, and soon Ben was chased off the Martin residence. However, the elderly Ann didn’t survive long after the ordeal, and she died. Her niece lodged a proper complaint, connecting the dots to the deaths of the elderly people and Ben’s involvement in both.
What Is Ben Field’s Fate In The End?
Ben and Martyn are arrested, but they get out on bail because of a lack of evidence. However, when the body of Peter is exhumed, traces of benzodiazepines are found on the corpse’s hair, which signals foul play. Moreover, the callous way with which Ben admits that he tortured the two elderly people for perverse joy makes the jury members’ skin crawl. For the entirety of the trial, Ben has a self-satisfied smugness that he wears while twisting his words in such a manner that nothing he says can be held at face value. However, the way Ben described Peter’s death to his aide Martyn makes it clear that Ben had been present during the death of the elderly professor.
The evidence recovered from the diaries that Peter maintained and a rap that Ben had made, loaded with expletives against the poor, old man, convinces the jury that Ben had a motive to kill Peter. The jury gives its final verdict and declares Martyn not guilty, and Ben is also declared not guilty for the death of Ann-Moore Martin, but regarding the murder of Peter, he’s found guilty as charged. Immediately, the smirk vanishes from his lips as he’s told that he’s to face life imprisonment. A diabolical killer like Ben is locked behind bars for good, thanks to a competent team of detectives, a brilliant jury, and the due exercise of justice.
How Does The Series End?
Ben was remorseless and extremely confident in his abilities. He was too perfect in them. His confidence exuded from the fact that he had been committing similar crimes for quite some time, and he also possessed the gift of the gab. Using his abilities to twist words, he’d escaped a lot of tough situations, but it was his words that led to his arrest after all. Now, being stuck behind bars for the rest of his miserable life, Ben would have ample time to think over his actions, although it’s questionable whether he’d actually feel remorse. It’s highly possible that Ben was a high-functioning sociopath; otherwise, it’s not possible for a person to destroy a person’s life so calculatedly and then claim it was just a bit of fun. Ruining a person’s life and watching them suffer and languish only to derive sick pleasure can only indicate that the person orchestrating all of this is a sick individual. Thus, although Ben Field was sent to prison for life, it’s debatable whether he’s going to regret his actions or not.