|back to INNOCENT main page|
Jeremy Bamber - CCRC talking out of their backsides
A message from Jeremy sent via MOJUK
I saw the press release - Criminal Cases Review Commission statement re myself Jeremy Bamber (Email bulletin 13th May) - and I'm fuming. What they say is so misleading, they know that I have been asking for all the photographic negatives to be made into prints since 2007
Neither my lawyers, my experts or me have ever seen all 426 negatives, made into photographs. More worrying the CCRC gave us endless excuses why we could never see them all as prints.
Essex police should have disclosed them 26 years ago, anyway at long last.
HMP Full Sutton
Fresh evidence, expert criticism of police investigation and withheld evidence should lead to 3rd appeal
From the Observer article by Eric Allison and Mark Townsend, 30 January 2011:
...More than 40,000 documents and 211 photographs relating to the case have yet to
Bamber's defence argued that the murders of his adoptive parents and twin nephews were the work of his sister Sheila Cafell, who afterwards shot herself. Newly disclosed photographs indicate blood on Sheila's hands and feet. However, at the trial the prosecution claimed her hands and feet were perfectly clean. Summing up, the trial judge, Mr Justice Drake, said: "I have reminded you of the fact – and it is a fact – that when she was found she had no marks of blood on the soles of her feet and no marks of having handled bullets on her hands." The apparent absence of blood on swabs used to test Sheila's hands for the presence of firearms residue has provoked further concerns over police procedure during the inquiry.
In another development, Bamber's cousin, David Boutflour, who found the silencer at the farm days after the killings, has admitted – for the first time – that he inherited a significant sum following the murders. "I have inherited quite a large amount of money as a result of Jeremy. And most of it I've wasted, I've spent," he said.
'Analysis of police negatives by one of Britain's most eminent photographic experts has found them incompatible with the principal prosecution case used to imprison Bamber for the White House Farm murders...'
Findings from blood expert and undisclosed police negatives are reviewed as murderer makes his third appeal against conviction
by Mark Townsend, crime correspondent, Sunday 15 March 2009
Lawyer Giovanni di Stefano claims Essex police failed to disclose evidence: article in Daily Mirror by
Don Mackay And Geoffrey Lakeman, 28 October 2006
Articles reprinted here:
| 12 December 2002
Jeremy Bamber, jailed for life in 1986 for the murders of five members of his family, today had his latest appeal rejected.
The court of appeal judges, who reviewed his case recently during a 12-day hearing, ruled that his convictions were "safe". Lord Justice Kay, reading a summary of the ruling in the packed courtroom, said: "We have concluded that there was no conduct on the part of the police or the prosecution which would have adversely affected the jury's verdict."
Bamber, 41, who was not present in the courtroom as Mr Kay, Mr Justice Wright and Mr Justice Henriques gave their decision, had been told of the ruling in advance and broke the news on his website, jeremybamber.com, yesterday.
A message on the site, signed "Jeremy", stated: "Latest News: It is with regret that I have to inform you that my recent appeal has been denied."
Lord Justice Kay said that for a number of reasons the court had concluded "that the jury's verdicts were safe". He pointed out that it was not the function of the court to decide whether or not the appellant committed the murders. The judge said: "We do not doubt the safety of the verdicts and we have recorded in our judgment the fact that the more we examined the detail of the case, the more likely we thought it to be that the jury were right, although as explained we can never go further than that."
Bamber, now 41, was convicted for the murder of his mother, father, sister and her twin six-year-old sons. He has continued to protest his innocence after being convicted at Chelmsford crown court in 1986.
His website states: "I was wrongly convicted of murdering five members of my family and I've been in jail for nearly 16 years.
"I have protested my innocence through all the usual channels and tried hard to find a successful path to the appeal courts.
"The court of appeal has turned my appeal down, I therefore feel it important that the evidence is made available to the public so that they can make up their own minds on this matter.
"Contained in the following pages is proof of my innocence, backed up by documentation that was not available for me to use at my original trial.
"I am innocent and the following facts speak for themselves."
The website contains pages of evidence from the appeal. The initial message ends: "Stay in touch, Jeremy".
His case was referred back to the court of appeal by the criminal cases review commission, which investigates possible miscarriages of justice.
Bamber's mother June, 61, and his nephews Nicholas and Daniel were shot dead in their beds at White House Farm in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex, in the early hours of August 7, 1985.
His father Nevill, 61, was found slumped downstairs, while his sister Sheila Caffell, 27, a model nicknamed "Bambi", was found by her parents' bed.
Bamber had alerted police in the early hours of August 7 saying that his father had telephoned him to say his sister had gone crazy with a gun.
Detectives initially suspected that Sheila, who had not been taking her medication for schizophrenia, had murdered her parents and sons before turning the gun on herself.
But three days after the shootings, a cousin of Bamber's discovered a silencer in a cupboard at the farm, apparently with Sheila's blood on it, casting doubt on the theory.
Four weeks later Bamber's then girlfriend Julie Mugford went to police and claimed he had often bragged to her that he was going to kill his parents.
Bamber, who stood to inherit almost £500,000 from his parents' estate, was arrested when he returned from a holiday in France.
But he claims the prosecution case against him was built on a "series of deceits" by police.
Defence counsel, Michael Turner QC, told the judges during the hearing that there had been "many compelling points" in his favour at trial supporting his case that he did not "assassinate" his entire adoptive family, but that they were killed by his sister before she committed suicide.
It was also argued that evidence was "deliberately withheld so as to unfairly bolster the prosecution's case and secure a conviction".
But Victor Temple QC, opposing the appeal, told the judges that the Crown's principal submission was "that there has been no evidence placed before your lordships to enable this court to doubt the safety of these convictions".
Mr Temple told the judges: "At the end of the day nought plus nought equals nought and if that is right ... these convictions for murder remain safe and we would invite you to uphold these convictions."
Bamber's first appeal attempt was rejected in 1989.
13 December 2002
over murder convictions
Man who killed five members of his adoptive family will remain in prison for life after judges dismiss case
By Sarah Hall
Jeremy Bamber is to remain in prison for life after three court of appeal judges yesterday dismissed his bid for freedom and stressed they had no doubt about the safety of his original conviction.
The killer, described by the judge at his 1986 trial as "evil almost beyond belief", had argued there were 15 grounds for appealing against his conviction for the murders of five members of his adoptive family - including new scientific evidence.
But Lord Justice Kay, sitting with Mr Justice Wright and Mr Justice Henriques, threw out each of these in a 522-point judgment, and went as far as they could in stressing his guilt. "We do not doubt the safety of the verdicts and we have recorded in our judgment the fact that the more we examined the detail of the case the more likely we thought it to be that the jury were right", they said in a summary at the court of appeal, in London.
The ruling - at which Bamber did not appear - was greeted with relief by the remaining members of his family, including his cousins Anne Eaton and David Boutflour.
In a statement read out by Anne's husband Peter, who still lives at the scene of the murders, in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex, they questioned why the criminal cases review commission (CCRC), which examines possible miscarriages of justice, had permitted the appeal, and added: "We hope the younger generation of our family are allowed to live free from the intrusions we have had to endure."
Essex police - who Bamber accused of employing "a series of deceits" to frame him - also expressed relief at being exonerated not only by a 14-month inquiry by Scotland Yard's murder review group, but by the judgment which found "there was no conduct on the part of the police or the prosecution which would have adversely affected the jury's verdict".
"It's unfortunate that many of the points in this appeal have questioned the honesty and integrity of witnesses and long-standing serving and retired officers," said a spokesman.
But, on his website, Bamber, one of 19 prisoners - including Rose West - for whom life really means life, continued to protest his innocence. "Let no one doubt that in years to come justice will be achieved and my conviction will be quashed." No further appeal would be possible, however, unless fresh evidence was brought.
Bamber, serving his sentence at Whitemoor prison, Cambridgeshire, was convicted in 1986 of killing his adoptive father Nevill and mother June, both 61, his sister Sheila Caffell, 27, and her six-year-old twin sons Nicholas and Daniel, to secure the family inheritance.
He has always maintained that Caffell, who had schizophrenia, had killed the family before committing suicide, but her innocence - and Bamber's guilt - was assured when her blood was found inside a gun silencer.
Bamber lost one appeal in 1989, but succeeded in bringing this one after the CCRC ruled the court of appeal should address fresh evidence that pointed to DNA belonging to June Bamber - not Sheila - being found in the silencer.
Yet, when forensic scientists began to examine the inside of the silencer still further, they found DNA which appeared to be Sheila's, so flooring Bamber's argument.
Yesterday, Lord Justice Kay stressed that, while it was right the CCRC had referred the case, the blood evidence used in the original trial still stood.
Bamber's 14 other grounds - including the claim that police officers were deceitful; that Julie Mugford, the ex-girlfriend who told police he had boasted of committing the perfect crime had been motivated by selling her story to the News of the World for £25,000; and that a cousin who gave evidence may have been swayed by hopes of inheritance - were also all dismissed by the court.
Glamour, intrigue and horror
It was the murder trial that electrified the 1980s with its sensational combination of money, glamour, family intrigue, and horror.
In the early hours of August 7 1985, Jeremy Bamber, an angelic-looking wastrel son, crept into his adoptive parents' farmhouse in Essex, and massacred them, his sister, 27, and her six-year-old twin sons in order to inherit the family's £436,000 farming fortune.
He almost got away with it, by placing his schizophrenic sister Sheila Caffell's fingers around the .22 rifle that fired 25 shots - to suggest she assassinated the family before committing suicide - a scenario originally accepted by the investigating officers from Essex police.
Three days later, Bamber's cousins discovered a silencer containing Sheila's blood in the farmhouse's gun cupboard which made such a scenario impossible.
For if Sheila had shot herself, there was no way that she could have replaced the silencer after doing so and then run back upstairs to the spot where her body was found.
The testimony of Bamber's then-girlfriend and the combined evidence proved persuasive at Chelmsford crown court where, after an 18-day trial in October 1986, Bamber, then 25, was convicted by a 10-2 majority verdict, with the trial judge, Mr Justice Drake, informing him he was "evil almost beyond belief."
4 July 2002
date for second appeal
New DNA evidence could free man convicted in 1986 of killing his adoptive family and blaming his sister for the crime
By Robert Verkaik Legal Affairs Correspondent
Jeremy Bamber, sentenced to life for murdering five members of the family that had adopted him, could be free by the end of the year after the Court of Appeal confirmed yesterday that it would hear his case in three months.
Bamber, 40, who was described as "warped and evil beyond belief" by his trial judge, has always protested his innocence of the killings at the family farm in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex, 17 years ago. He was convicted at Chelmsford Crown Court in October, 1986.
The six-week appeal, which starts on 14 October, is expected to focus on DNA evidence from blood on the silencer of the murder weapon, a .22 rifle. Bamber's legal team has had the blood subjected to tests, using DNA-related techniques not available at the time of the original investigation. These tests raise the prospect that the blood could have come from his adoptive parents Neville and June Bamber.
The trial jury had been told that June, 61, and six-year-old nephews Nicholas and Daniel were shot dead in their beds. His father, Neville, was found slumped downstairs, and his sister Sheila Caffell, a model nicknamed Bambi, was found by her parents' bed.
Detectives at first accepted Bamber's claim that Ms Caffell, who had not been taking her medication for mild schizophrenia, had used the rifle, kept for rabbits, and shot her parents and her two children, then killed herself. Ms Caffell was found by her parents' bed, her fingers curled round the stock of the rifle after Bamber telephoned Chelmsford police and said his sister had "gone crazy" with a gun.
The case appeared to be resolved as a straightforward murder and suicide until Julie Mugford, Bamber's girlfriend, told police he had frequently bragged about how he was going to kill his parents to collect a £436,000 inheritance. In court, she said Bamber had talked about sedating his parents and burning the farm. She claimed he changed the plan to hiring an assassin.
Three days after the shootings, Bamber's cousin David Boutflour and his wife Anne, of Wix, Essex, discovered the silencer, allegedly with traces of Sheila's blood on it, and police began to formulate a case against him. Nine weeks after the murder, Bamber was arrested after he returned from a holiday in France.
At his trial, a doctor, giving expert medical testimony, said it was impossible that Sheila could have returned the silencer to the cupboard, given the injuries she had suffered after the first shot.
Scientific evidence showed no traces of gun oil on Sheila's nightdress, though 25 shots were fired and the rifle had been reloaded two or three time. The prosecution also questioned whether Sheila would have had the strength to batter Bamber's 6ft 4in father to death.
Bamber's first appeal was dismissed in 1989, but last year the Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the case to the Court of Appeal again. He has always maintained his innocence.
Cases pending in the court of appeal
Barry George was convicted of shooting the TV presenter Jill Dando outside her home inLondon in April 1999. His appeal will be heard on 17 July. Lawyers, led by Michael Mansfield QC, will argue that the original trial judge should not have allowed certain identification evidence to be put before the jury.
Russell Causley, an insurance broker, was convicted at Winchester Crown Court in 1996 of killing his wife, Carol Packman, 11 years earlier. Mrs Packman's body was never found, but years afterwards Causley faked his own death and claimed the life insurance. Confessions about the murder he allegedly made to prisoners while on remand for the insurance fraud are to form the basis of his appeal.
Harry MacKenney and Terry Pinfold were found guilty of murdering Terence Eve, which the prosecution said was part of a plan to take over Eve's toys business. They tried to get rid of the body by putting it in an industrial mincer. Both were convicted in 1980. Questions remain about reliability of one of the prosecution witnesses.
Michael Shirley, a Royal Navy able seaman, was convicted in 1988 of raping and killing Linda Cooke in Portsmouth while on leave. The jury was told that she was stamped to death. Evidence about one of shoe prints found on her body is to be contested by the defence. Referred to the Court of Appeal on 20 April 2001.
David Cooper and Michael McMahon were accused of shooting a sub-postmaster during a robbery in Luton in 1969 and convicted the following year. The case has been referred to the Court of Appeal four times: in 1971, 1975, 1976, and 1978. In July 1980 the two men were released by the Home Secretary because of a "sense of unease" about police evidence but the convictions stood. Both have since died.
Ruth Ellis was the last woman to be hanged in the UK after being convicted of shooting her lover, David Blakely. Since her execution on 13 July 1955 the law of provocation has changed. If she was sent for trial now the prosecution may have accepted a plea of diminished responsibility. The case was referred to the Court of Appeal on 21 February.
Alfie Bain from Grenada, West Indies, was convicted of killing a prostitute in 1970. After his release he went back to the West Indies. He tried to clear his name but he died last year after his case was referred to the Court of Appeal.
30 July 2001
into Bamber killings
A team of police officers has been given four months to complete fresh inquiries into the case of Jeremy Bamber, who was convicted of killing five members of his family.
Bamber, 39, was jailed for life in 1986 for murdering his mother, father, sister and twin nephews at the family farmhouse in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex.
Three appeal judges heard on Monday that the police team was being selected and its work would begin later this week.
Bamber's mother June, and six-year-old nephews Nicholas and Daniel were shot dead in their beds at White House Farm in August 1985.
His father, Neville, was found slumped downstairs, while his sister Sheila Caffell, was found by her parents' bed.
Bamber's fingerprints were found on a gun that was used in the murder and his former girlfriend, Julie Mugford, told police how he plotted to murder his parents to get his £500,000 inheritance.
At a preliminary directions hearing in London, appeal judge Lord Justice Rose, sitting with Mr Justice Bell and Mr Justice Stanley Burnton, approved a timetable agreed between prosecution and defence for the disclosure of the mass of material required in the appeal hearing.
Lord Justice Rose said the prosecution, with the aid of the police investigation team, would "set out its stance" on the new DNA evidence by 1 October.
All material emanating from inquiries conducted by Essex Police in 1986 and City of London Police in 1991 into the handling of the murder investigation would be disclosed to Bamber's defence lawyers by December 1, together with any material not disclosed at the original trial.
The Crown said it was "treating the matter as one of priority".
It agreed to disclose to the defence original laboratory submission forms, in particular those relating to hand swabs taken from Sheila Caffell.
Details would also be provided about the destruction of blood-based exhibits in February 1996.
The Court of Appeal will re-examine the case next year.
The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) said it had referred the conviction to the appeal court after considering the evidence against Bamber.
An earlier application for leave to appeal against conviction was refused by the Court of Appeal in 1989.
30 July 2001
A police investigation team is to begin fresh inquiries into the case of multiple murderer Jeremy Bamber.
Bamber was jailed for life in 1986 for shooting dead his mother, father, sister and twin nephews at the family farmhouse in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex.
He has always maintained his innocence and forensic scientists have reportedly uncovered crucial DNA evidence about blood on the silencer of the gun used in the massacre.
His case was referred back to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission after his first application for leave to appeal was refused in 1989.
Lord Justice Rose, sitting with Mr Justice Bell and Mr Justice Stanley Burnton, said the prosecution, aided by the police investigation team, would "set out its stance" on the DNA evidence by 1 October.
The appeal judges heard that the team was still being selected and would start work on Wednesday.
Bamber's mother June, 61, and nephews Nicholas and Daniel, both six, were slaughtered in their beds at White House Farm in August 1985.
His father, Neville, was discovered slumped downstairs.
And his sister, model Sheila "Bambi" Caffell, was found by her parents' bed.
Detectives suspected Miss Caffell, who suffered from mild schizophrenia and had not been taking her medication, had murdered her parents and sons then shot herself.
But nine weeks later they arrested Bamber when he returned from holiday in France.
His fingerprints were found on the murder weapon.
And the 39-year-old's former girlfriend, Julie Mugford, told police he had planned to murder his parents for his £500,000 inheritance.
The Crown agreed to disclose to the defence original laboratory submission forms, including those relating to hand swabs taken from Sheila Caffell, and details about the destruction of blood-based exhibits in February 1996.
13 March 2001
Bamber relies on 'forensic issue' to overturn 1986 conviction
By Steven Morris
The case of Jeremy Bamber, one of the most notorious killers of the last 20 years, is being referred to the court of appeal, it emerged last night.
Bamber was convicted of shooting dead five members of his wealthy family, including six-year-old twins, at their Essex farmhouse in 1985.
The trial judge described Bamber as having a "warped, callous and evil mind" and characterised his conduct as "evil beyond belief". He became one of a handful of prisoners in Britain who have been told they will spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
However, there have long been doubts about the safety of his conviction. Experts from the criminal cases review commission, which investigates suspected miscarriages of justice, have been examining the case for several months and have now decided it should go to the appeal court.
Bamber was convicted of shooting his adoptive parents at their home in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, his sister, Sheila Caffell, and her twin sons. The prosecution alleged he murdered them to inherit a £500,000 family fortune.
But Bamber claimed Mrs Caffell, who had a history of mental illness, killed the family and turned the gun, a .22 semi-automatic rifle, on herself.
On a website set up on Bamber's behalf, he says the submission to the commission would focus on a "narrow forensic issue" but does not give details.
It is understood the appeal could centre on traces of blood found in a silencer believed to have been used in the killings. The prosecution suggested the blood was Mrs Caffell's and could not have entered the silencer had she killed herself.
It is believed that forensics experts consulted by those acting for Bamber may have cast doubt on this theory. The way the tests on the blood were carried out could have resulted in errors.
Bamber, 39, claims on the website: "I was wrongly convicted in 1986 of murdering five members of my family and I've been in jail for nearly 16 years. I have protested my innocence through all the usual channels and tried hard to find a successful path to the appeal courts."
He says the crucial forensic information has been disclosed only to his legal team but adds: "In time, I will publish this information but there are compelling reasons why I cannot do so now."
Bamber also appeals for anyone with any other information which could help his fight for freedom to come forward.
Bamber claims he has had 17 jail moves and 89 cell moves during his imprisonment. At present, he is in the high security Whitemoor prison, Cambridgeshire.
An earlier application for leave to appeal against his conviction was refused by the court of appeal in 1989.
Bamber then applied to the Home Office for a review of his conviction and his case was transferred to the criminal cases review commission after March 1997, when it assumed responsibility for the review of suspected miscarriages of justice.
In 1995 Bamber lost his high court attempt to challenge the home secretary's decision that he should remain behind bars for the rest of his life. The appeal was seen as a test case for 14 other convicted murderers.
Following Bamber's conviction, Essex police were criticised for the way the investigation was handled. Bamber's supporters believe vital evidence could have been destroyed.
13 March 2001
15 years for the murder of his family.
But was he guilty?
By Ian Burrell, Home Affairs Correspondent
For more than 15 years, Jeremy Bamber has been known as a "monster", one of the small band of men and women who must under no circumstances be released from prison. In the Who's Who of British criminality, the young man described by his trial judge as "warped and evil beyond belief", has been bracketed with the gay serial killer Dennis Nilsen and the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe.
Unlike many other famous multiple murderers, Bamber's victims were his family, slaughtered so he could lay claim to a £500,000 inheritance. But Bamber's notoriety as the man who shot his parents, his sister and her two children, at an isolated Essex farmhouse in August 1985, may be wrong.
The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), after considering fresh evidence, announced yesterday that it was referring the case to the Court of Appeal. The decision raised the prospect that Bamber may be, as he has claimed, an innocent man who has had to spend a decade and a half in prison.
If cleared, Bamber would be not only the victim of a miscarriage of justice but a victim of the most appalling crime, who was forced to grieve for his murdered family from his cell.
Bamber, communicating on the internet from Whitemoor high-security prison in Cambridgeshire, said he was "thrilled to bits" at the chance of clearing his name.
The murder of the Bamber family at White House Farm in the Essex village of Tolleshunt D'Arcy was one of the most shocking crimes of the Eighties. Police found wealthy Nevil Bamber slumped downstairs, dead, with several wounds from a .22 semi-automatic rifle. His wife, June, had been shot dead in bed. Alongside the bed was the body of the couple's adopted daughter, Sheila Caffell.
She was a model, nicknamed Bambi, and she had a history of mental illness. Sheila was known to have referred to her twin six-year-old sons, Nicholas and Daniel, as "the Devil's children". The boys, too, were found murdered. Jeremy Bamber, who had also been adopted and was brought up with Sheila by Nevil and June in what has been described as a "repressed religious atmosphere", has always claimed he was not at the farm at the time of the murders.
He called police in the middle of the night to say his father had phoned him, telling him Sheila was shooting at members of the family. When police arrived at the farmhouse they found all five victims dead.
Sheila had been suffering from mild schizophrenia, and she was not taking her medication. At first, detectives agreed with Bamber's theory – that she had shot the other four then shot herself. But Bamber's girlfriend, Julie Mugford, told police he had spoken of planning "the perfect murder", which would secure him an inheritance of nearly £500,000. At Chelmsford Crown Court, the jury decided by a majority of 10 to two that Bamber was guilty. They accepted the theory that he had killed his nephews believing they were doomed by Sheila's mental state.
Bamber was sentenced to five life terms, and Douglas Hurd, the Home Secretary at the time, ruled he should never be released. But Bamber, now 40, would never accept his conviction. His repeated questioning led to an inquiry by the Police Complaints Authority. He said Essex Police had tampered with the evidence. The PCA concluded in 1993 that his claims were unfounded.
Officers who had been with Bamber for several hours outside the farmhouse believed someone was alive inside. Their statements appeared to contradict medical reports, which suggested all the victims died instantly. Bamber's fingerprints were found on the murder weapon, with those of Sheila, but there was no other forensic science evidence to link him to the killings.
The CCRC investigation is understood to have centred largely on blood samples found on the silencer, or sound moderator, of the rifle. Blood believed to be Sheila's was found on the inside and outside of the silencer, which was not on the rifle, but in a box downstairs. The prosecution said for Sheila to have shot herself, place the silencer in the box, then climb the stairs to die was impossible.
The trial judge said if the jurors believed the blood on the silencer was Sheila's blood they should convict. But Bamber's legal team has had the blood on the silencer subjected to tests using new DNA-related techniques. These tests raise the prospect that the blood could have come from Nevil and June Bamber. Attempts to confirm this have been blocked. Essex Police have destroyed the evidence, citing the length of time since the conviction.
But yesterday, Bamber said an appropriate DNA sample had been found against which to match the blood on the silencer. He said: "The result was 100 per cent that it could not be Sheila's blood on the sound moderator. This is absolutely clear-cut. So the court was misled and wrongly directed by the judge on this matter, albeit unintentionally."
The convicted killer believes that finding is fundamental to his case to prove his innocence. "Every time I have tried to have my case reviewed ... it always comes down to this issue of the blood in the sound moderator," he said.
The prospect of Bamber being freed is a dire one for Essex Police to contemplate. The force has already been criticised for its investigation, with officers accused of being responsible for missing evidence, losing a hair before it reached forensic laboratories and handling and moving the murder weapon without gloves.
Bamber took his case to the CCRC four years ago. The new hearing is likely to be in London this year.
Bamber's use of a website to highlight his campaign has been criticised by his local MP, who said it was not appropriate. But the prisoner was undeterred last night, posting this new plea: "If by any chance any member of my original jury reads this and believes it alters their verdict then please contact my lawyers as their help would be most useful."
18 March 2001
but did he do it?
It is one thing when a mass murderer - described by the judge at his trial as "warped and evil beyond belief" - appeals against his conviction. It is another when the murderer himself breaks the news on his personal internet website in the chatty tones of a phone-in host: "As you can imagine, I am thrilled to bits at being one step closer to clearing my name."
Jeremy Bamber was sentenced to life in 1986 for the murder of five family members in their Essex farmhouse - his adopted parents, his adoptive sister and her six-year-old twins. Last week his case was referred back to the Court of Appeal by the criminal cases review commission. If the three appeal judges are more impressed by new evidence concerning a bloodstained gun silencer than they are by Bamber's audacious website, the man who was accused of coolly plotting "the perfect crime" could be free before Christmas.
The White House Farm murders became one of the most infamous criminal cases of the past 20 years, involving not only a massacre in the English countryside on a summer's evening but all the classic ingredients of a whodunit. On the tragic cast list were overbearing parents, a mentally unstable daughter, a scheming, envious son, a jilted girlfriend who blew the whistle and, inevitably, bungling police.
Bamber, now 40, has always protested his innocence, claiming that his adoptive sister committed the crimes before killing herself. Fresh DNA evidence, not available at the time of the crime, may cast doubt on at least part of the prosecution case. But the reopening of the files has not pleased Bamber's surviving relatives who describe him as a "psychopath".
Bamber was the illegitimate son of a vicar's daughter and a married army sergeant and was adopted when he was six weeks old by Neville Bamber, a former RAF pilot, and his wife June who farmed near the Essex village of Tolleshunt D'Arcy. An adopted younger sister, Sheila, joined the family a few years later. Both children were given a private education by the wealthy couple, but had to endure discipline imposed by parents who were said to have taken their Christian faith to the point of zealotry.
Sheila, known as Bambi, was a pretty girl who became a model and had a London flat paid for by her parents. Bamber found it difficult to settle down to farming, as his father had hoped, and drifted through a series of casual jobs. He was a huge success with the sort of women who like pseudo-suave types.
Sheila married and had twins, but when the marriage broke down she became depressed and began to suffer from schizophrenia. According to one psychiatric report, she thought her children were from the devil. She and the twins moved back to the farmhouse.
Bamber had set up home with his girlfriend Julie Mugford, a student teacher, in a rent-free cottage provided by his parents at Goldhanger, five miles from the farmhouse. His father offered him a job on the farm at £170 a week, but refused to let him join the family's other concern - a caravan park - because he thought he had no business sense. Mugford later told the court that Bamber made murderous threats against his "old" father, his "mad" mother and his sister who had "nothing to live for". He spoke first of arson, then of hiring a hit man. She did not take him seriously.
It was Bamber who roused the police at 3.26am on August 6, 1985, to report that his father had just phoned frantically to say Sheila was going berserk with a semi-automatic rifle. As officers sped to the farmhouse they overtook Bamber, making his way there at a sedate 30mph. When they broke in, June's bullet-riddled body was in a bedroom and Sheila's twins had each been shot several times in the head. Neville was fatally shot but had also been beaten as he struggled to the kitchen to summon help. Sheila's body had a bullet wound to the throat and her hand rested on a .22 rifle.
Bamber, who had warned police about his unstable sister, broke down and was offered tea and whisky by a kindly sergeant. He appeared to be highly upset and persuaded police to burn bedding and carpets, even though they might have contained further evidence. He wept again at the family funerals, although he was already making the most of his parents' £500,000 fortune. He entertained friends to expensive champagne and lobster dinners and went to Amsterdam to buy a large consignment of drugs. Notoriously, he offered semi-nude pictures of Sheila from her modelling days to tabloid newspapers.
The police inquiry was proceeding on the basis that Sheila was the culprit, but a chance discovery by relatives and a jilting altered everything. What relatives found in a cupboard (and the police somehow missed) was a silencer for the murder weapon, with a spot of blood inside that forensic experts deemed to be Sheila's. With the silencer fitted, the rifle would have been too long to commit suicide with. In any case, Sheila could hardly have killed herself and then put the silencer back in the cupboard.
Then Mugford became furious with Bamber for flirting with another woman and contacted the police. She told them not only of the murderous plans she had previously dismissed as fantasies, but that on the night of the massacre Bamber had called her tersely, saying: "Tonight's the night." There was a later phone call from him, at about the time he called the police, saying: "Everything's going well." She still refused to take him seriously, but when she finally arrived at the scene of the carnage Bamber took her to one side and said: "I should have been an actor."
Bamber was arrested as he returned from a holiday abroad and in the witness box he cut an arrogant figure. Accused by the prosecution of not telling the truth, he loftily replied: "That is what you have got to establish." He was convicted on evidence that was largely circumstantial, but contained a ruthless logic. If Sheila could not have committed suicide, she was murdered - and Bamber's story about the phone call was a lie. If he was lying, it could only have been because he was guilty.
In a variety of prisons, Bamber seems to have been treated in a remarkably indulgent way - despite being troublesome. At Long Lartin, Worcestershire, he was given the key to his cell and excused prison work so he could study for GCSE sociology and media studies. He had a daily badminton session after breakfast at 8am and earned extra money by having an agent outside who sold pictures of supermodels that he had drawn in art class. He boasted that he had three relationships with women inside prison (one with a trainee policewoman) and regularly received a mailbag of 50 letters a week from admiring females.
Bamber's funds were also boosted when he received "thousands of pounds" in compensation for whiplash injuries he received when a lorry crashed into a van moving him between prisons. The prison also paid him compensation when a Gameboy was stolen from his cell.
He once attacked another prisoner with a broken bottle, however, and was put in solitary confinement when he angered other inmates by revealing too much about their comfortable lifestyles to journalists. Even before Bamber created his website earlier this year, he seemed to have unusual access to the media for a convicted murderer. From Whitemoor prison in Cambridgeshire he airily called Talk Radio UK to protest his innocence.
In his trial, the prosecution claimed that blood on the silencer got there when Bamber put the gun to Sheila's head and killed her (it was also pointed out that the slender Sheila was unlikely to have inflicted such a physical beating on Neville who, although 61, was a strapping 6ft 4in). Based on a blood sample from Sheila's natural mother, and using new DNA techniques, it is now claimed that the blood on the silencer was not Sheila's after all. If true - and leaving aside the other elements of circumstantial evidence - this removes a definitive reason why Sheila could not have committed suicide.
It does not, however, help much in answering the essential question about the massacre in the farmhouse. If the appeal court finds in Bamber's favour, who was guilty?
|back to INNOCENT main page|