Jeremy Bamber

Jeremy Bamber
Jeremy Bamber
Bamber in 1986
Born 13 January 1961 (1961-01-13) (age 50)
Residence Full Sutton Prison, York
Education Gresham's School
Known for Serving a life sentence for the murders of his adoptive family: his parents, sister, and her two sons
Parents Ralph Nevill Bamber (d. 7 August 1985)
June Bamber (d. 7 August 1985)
Relatives Sheila Caffell (d. 7 August 1985), sister
Nicholas Caffell (d. 7 August 1985), nephew
Daniel Caffell (d. 7 August 1985), nephew

Jeremy Nevill Bamber (born 13 January 1961)[citation needed] was convicted in England in 1986 of murdering five members of his adoptive family—his father, mother, sister, and her six-year-old twin sons—at his parents' home at White House Farm, Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex, in the early hours of 7 August 1985. He was sentenced to five life terms with a recommendation that he serve at least 25 years, and in 1994 was told he must spend the rest of his life in jail. Bamber has always protested his innocence, believed to be the only prisoner in the UK serving a whole-life tariff to do so.[1] His extended family remain convinced of his guilt.[2]

The Times wrote that the case had all the ingredients of a classic whodunit: a massacre in the English countryside, overbearing parents, an unstable daughter, a scheming son, a jilted girlfriend, and bungling police.[3] The police at first believed Bamber's sister, Sheila Caffell—diagnosed with a schizoaffective disorder—had shot her family then turned the gun on herself. Her sons had been living with their father, but had been visiting the Bambers with Sheila when the killings occurred. She had told a psychiatrist two years earlier she thought the devil had taken her over, and according to Bamber feared she would lose custody of the boys.[4]

When an ex-girlfriend stepped forward weeks after the murders to say Bamber had implicated himself, the police view swiftly changed, though by then some of the forensic evidence had been compromised or destroyed. The prosecution argued that, motivated by a large inheritance, Bamber had killed the family and placed the gun in his unstable sister's hands to make it look like a murder-suicide. A silencer the prosecution said was on the rifle when it was fired would have made it too long, they argued, for her fingers to reach the trigger to shoot herself.[5]

Bamber has several times asked the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to refer his case to the Court of Appeal. A referral in 2001 saw the conviction upheld in 2002. In 2009 his defence team submitted what they said was new evidence to the CCRC. This included the police log of a phone call made on the night of the murders, showing that someone told police that a Mr Bamber reported his daughter had gone "berserk," and that she had one of his guns. Bamber had told police he had received a similar call from his father. It became a central plank of the prosecution's case that the father had made no such call, and that the only reason Bamber would have lied about it was that he was the killer himself.[6] The CCRC provisionally rejected the submission in February 2011, though Bamber's defence team was granted an indefinite period in which to respond before the CCRC announces a final decision.[7]


The Bambers

Nevill and June Bamber

Nevill and June Bamber. A key issue was whether their daughter, Sheila Caffell (see left), would have been strong enough to subdue Nevill in what appeared to be a violent struggle in the kitchen before he died.

Ralph Nevill Bamber (known as Nevill), aged 61 when he died, was a farmer, local magistrate, and former RAF pilot. He and his wife, June (also 61), married in 1949 and moved into White House Farm, a Georgian house in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex. Unable to have biological children, they adopted two, Sheila and Jeremy, who were not related to each other. Nevill was described in court as 6' 4" tall and in good physical health, a point that became significant because Bamber's story is that Sheila, a slender girl of 26, was able to beat and subdue her father, something the prosecution contested.[8] The Times writes that the couple was wealthy and gave the children a private education, but they took their Christian beliefs to the point of zealotry, and the children reportedly faced harsh discipline.[3] June suffered from depression and was treated in a psychiatric hospital in 1982, and the court heard that her interest in religion had become obsessive.[9]

Sheila, Nicholas, and Daniel Caffell

Sheila Caffell

Sheila Jean Caffell (born 1957, aged 28 when she died) was adopted a few years later than Bamber. She attended secretarial college, then worked in London as a model, living in a flat in Maida Vale that Nevill and June paid for. She married Colin Caffell in May 1977, and the twins Nicholas and Daniel were born in June 1979. The couple divorced in May 1982.[10]

Like June, Sheila was intensely religious. Her GP had referred her on 3 August 1983 to Dr Hugh Ferguson, a psychiatrist at St Andrew's Hospital in Northampton. Ferguson said she was in an agitated and psychotic state and admitted her, diagnosing a schizoaffective disorder characterized by disturbance of thinking and perception. He said she was paranoid, struggling with the concept of good and evil, and believed the devil had taken her over and given her the power to project evil onto others, including her sons; she believed she could make them have sex and cause violence with her. She also believed she was capable of murdering them, or of getting them to kill others. She spoke about suicide, though he did not regard her as a suicide risk. She was discharged on 10 September 1983 and treated with Stelazine, an anti-psychotic drug.[4] Because of her mental-health problems, her sons lived with their father, though she continued to see them.

On 3 March 1985 she was re-admitted to St Andrew's, apparently very disturbed. She again spoke about good and evil, this time related to religious ideas, and not with reference to her children or parents. She was discharged on 29 March 1985, and thereafter received monthly injections of Haloperidol, an anti-psychotic that also has a sedative effect. After the killings, Ferguson said that kind of violence was not consistent with his view of her, though he said she had expressed disturbed feelings towards her mother. June's sister, Pamela Boutflour, testified that Sheila was not a violent person, and said she had never known her to use a gun. June's niece, Ann Eaton, said Sheila "would not know one end of the barrel of a gun to another". Bamber disputed this, telling police that he and Sheila had gone target shooting together, though he acknowledged in court that he had not seen her fire a gun as an adult.[11] Her ex-husband said she had been prone to outbursts that had involved throwing pots and pans, and occasionally hitting him, but to his knowledge she had never harmed the children.[12]

Sheila and her ex-husband, Colin Caffell, had joint custody of the boys (born 22 June 1979, aged six when they died), though he had complained that her mental health was affecting her ability to look after them, and that he was doing 95 percent of the work. He also disliked the effect June Bamber's religious ideas might be having on them;[13] she apparently made the boys kneel and pray with her, which upset him.[14] The boys had been briefly placed in foster care in 1982 and 1983 in Camden, London, near Sheila's home, an arrangement the court heard had caused no problems, and according to Bamber, the family discussed doing the same thing again during their evening meal on the night of the murders, with little response from Sheila.[13]

Jeremy Bamber

Bamber was educated privately at Gresham's boarding school in Norfolk.

Jeremy Bamber (born 1961) was the son of a vicar's daughter who had an affair with a married army sergeant, and subsequently gave her baby up for adoption when he was six weeks old. Nevill and June sent him to Gresham's School, a boarding school in Norfolk, then college in Colchester. He spent time in Australia and New Zealand, then returned to England to work on his father's farm for £170 a week. The Bambers also ran a lucrative caravan site, but according to The Times they would not let Bamber work there, saying he had no business sense.[3] He set up home in a cottage at 9 Head Street, Goldhanger, three to three-and-a-half miles from his parents' farmhouse. Nevill owned the cottage and Bamber lived there rent-free. It took five minutes to drive by car from the cottage to his parents' home, and by bicycle 15 minutes at least.[15]

Extended family and financial considerations

White House Farm near the Essex village of Tolleshunt D'Arcy

The Bamber family was wealthy, and the financial ties and the issue of inheritance within the immediate and extended family caused further complications. The prosecution's case was that Bamber had killed his family to inherit their estate, which included £436,000, the farmhouse where the murders took place, 300 acres (1.2 km2) of land, and a caravan site in Essex called Osea Road Camp Sites Ltd. Because of his conviction, the estate passed instead to his cousins, some of whom were involved in finding the crucial evidence against him—the gun's silencer in the farm's gun cupboard with a fleck of blood on it. The prosecution said this showed the silencer was on the gun during the attack, and that Sheila's arms were not long enough to reach the trigger to kill herself with the silencer on it; therefore she must have been murdered (see below).

That evidence, which Bamber contests, proved crucial, and as a result of his conviction the cousins inherited the estate. One cousin on his mother's side, Ann Eaton, now lives in White House Farm,[16] and she and several others—Sarah Jane Eaton, Pamela Boutflour, and Robert Woodwiss Boutflour—own the caravan site.[17] Bamber has alleged that these financial considerations meant the extended family, specifically two of the cousins whom he has named, wanted to see him convicted, and may even have set him up.[18] The cousins have responded that Bamber is a psychopath, that his allegations against them over the years are part of an attempt to harass and vilify them,[17] and that the allegation that they set him up is "an absolute load of piffle."[18]

Bamber has launched several unsuccessful lawsuits to recover some of the money. In 2003, he began a High Court action to recover £1.2m from his adoptive grandmother, Mabel Speakman's, estate. He told the court he should have inherited Speakman's home at Carbonnells Farm, Wix, near Clacton, and that he was owed 17 years back rent for the property from his cousins who were living there.[19] Speakman cut Bamber out of her will when he was arrested, and most of the inheritance went to Pamela Boutflour, June Bamber's sister,[20] who subsequently moved into Carbonnells Farm with her husband Robert.[19] In 2004, Bamber went back to the High Court to argue he had been unfairly frozen out of the profits made by the caravan site. Although at that point no longer a shareholder, he had retained shares after his conviction, but had sold them to pay legal costs in connection with the 2003 attempt to claim his grandmother's estate. The High Court ruled that he was not entitled to any profit from the caravan site because of his conviction.[17]

The murder weapon

Nevill kept several guns at the farm. He was reportedly careful with them, cleaning them after use, and made sure not to leave them lying around.[21] The murder weapon was a .22 Anschütz semi-automatic rifle, model 525, which Nevill purchased on 30 November 1984, along with a Parker Hale silencer, telescopic sights, and 500 rounds of ammunition. The rifle used cartridges, which were loaded into a magazine that held ten cartridges. Twenty-five shots were fired during the killing, so if it was fully loaded to begin with it would have been reloaded at least twice. The court heard that it became progressively harder to load as the number of cartridges increases; loading the tenth was described as exceptionally hard. The rifle was used to shoot rabbits with the silencer and telescopic sights attached. The court heard that a screwdriver was needed to remove the sights, but they were normally left in place because it was time-consuming to realign them. Nevill's nephew, Anthony Pargeter, visited the farmhouse around 26 July 1985, and told the court he had seen the rifle with the sights and silencer attached in the gun cupboard in the ground floor office. Bamber testified that he visited the farmhouse on the evening of 6 August, and loaded the gun, thinking he heard rabbits outside, then left it with a full magazine and a box of ammunition on the kitchen table.[22]

White House Farm, 7 August 1985

Sheila's visit and proposed fostering of the boys

On 4 August, three days before the murders, Sheila took the boys to spend a week at the Bambers' farm. The farm's housekeeper saw Sheila on 4 August and noticed nothing unusual, and she was seen the next day with her children by two farm workers, Julie and Leonard Foakes, who said she seemed happy.[23] One of the photographs taken by police—but which the defence said in the December 2002 appeal that it could not recall seeing—shows that someone carved "I hate this place" into the cupboard doors of the room the twins were sleeping in. Authorship was not established, but the Court of Appeal accepted that it was probably Sheila who wrote it.[24]

Bamber visited the farm on the evening of 6 August, and told the court his parents had suggested to Sheila that the boys be placed in foster care, because of her mental-health problems. The idea was to do this temporarily, perhaps with a local family near the farm who could help with the children. Bamber said Sheila did not seem too bothered by the suggestion, and had simply said she would rather stay in London.[13] Her psychiatrist, Dr. Ferguson, told the Court of Appeal in 2002 that the suggestion would have provoked a strong reaction: "I would have expected her, were this to be put to her suddenly, to be a very substantial threat and I would have expected her to react very strongly to what to her would be the loss of her children. I would not have expected her to be passive about that." He added that, had the fostering suggestion been confined to day-time help, Sheila might have welcomed it. The boys had been in temporary foster care before in London, which had not appeared to cause a problem.[13]

Barbara Wilson, the farm's secretary, telephoned the farmhouse at 9.30 pm that evening and spoke to Nevill. She said he was short with her, and Wilson was left with the impression that she had interrupted an argument. Pamela Boutflour, June Bamber's sister, also telephoned the house that evening at about 10 pm. She spoke to Sheila, who she said was quiet, then to June, who seemed normal.[25]

Telephone calls

There was one telephone line and four telephones at the farm, including two in the kitchen: a cordless phone that had a memory recall feature, and a digital phone. The cordless had been sent away for repair, and a phone that was normally in the bedroom had been moved into the kitchen; this was the one found with its receiver off the hook, the implication being that someone—Nevill, according to Bamber—had been interrupted mid-call.[26] A central issue is whether Nevill telephoned Bamber before the murders to say Sheila had gone crazy and had a gun. Bamber said he did receive such a call, and that the line went dead in the middle of it, which would be consistent with the phone being found off the hook. The prosecution said he did not receive such a call, and that his claim to have done so was part of his setting the scene to blame Sheila. This was one of three key points the jury was asked to consider by the trial judge during his summing up.[6]

Telephone log 1

A police log, not shown to the jury, indicates that someone called on the night of the murders to say his daughter had gone "berserk" with a gun.[27]

A police log timed at 3:26 am on 7 August (see image, right) was entered as evidence at the trial, but it was not shown to the jury, or seen by Bamber's lawyers until at least 2004. It discusses a telephone call made that night to a local police station. According to the defence team, the call was made by Nevill. The log is headed "daughter gone berserk," and says: "Mr Bamber, White House Farm, Tolleshunt d’Arcy—daughter Sheila Bamber, aged 26 years, has got hold of one of my guns." It adds (referring to a call to police known to have been made by Bamber; see below): "Message passed to CD by the son of Mr Bamber after phone went dead." It goes on to say: "Mr Bamber has a collection of shotguns and .410s," and it includes the telephone number 860209, the number at the time for White House Farm. The final entry says: "0356 GPO [the telephone operator] have checked phone line to farmhouse and confirm phone left off hook." The log shows that a patrol car, Charlie Alpha 7 (CA7), was sent to the scene at 3.35 am. If this did indeed log a telephone call from Nevill Bamber, it would confirm Bamber's story.[28]

Telephone log 2

A different police log shows that at 3:36 am a caller rang Chelmsford Police Station using a direct line, rather than the emergency number (999), and spoke to PC West. The court accepted that the officer who recorded the log misread a digital clock, and that it probably came in at around 3:26 am. The caller said: "You've got to help me. My father has just rung me and said, 'Please come over. Your sister has gone crazy and has got the gun.' Then the line went dead."[29] The log says the caller was Mr. Bamber, and gave the address in Goldhanger of Jeremy Bamber's house.[28] The caller apparently said he had tried to ring his father back, but there was no reply.[29] The log continues: "Father Mr. Bamber, White House Farm, Tolleshunt D'Arcy ... Sister Sheila Bamber age 27. Has history of mental illness. ... Dispatched CA5 [Charlie Alpha 5] to scene ... Informant requested to attend scene."[28]

PC West contacted Malcolm Bonnet at the Chelmsford H/Q Information Room using a radio link; this conversation was recorded as having taken place at 3.26 am PC West then spoke to the caller again, who apparently complained at the length of time West was taking, and said: "When my father rang he sounded terrified." The caller was told to go to the farm and wait for the police. At 3.35 am, Malcolm Bonnet sent a police car to White House Farm. A British Telecom operator checked the line to the farm at 4:30 am. The phone was off the hook, the line was open, and a dog could be heard barking.[29]

Bamber could not explain why he had called a local police station and not 999. He told police that night that he had not thought it would make a difference in terms of how fast they arrived.[30] He said he had spent time looking up the number, and even though his father had asked him to come quickly, he had first telephoned his girlfriend Julie Mugford in London, then had driven slowly to the farmhouse. He also said he could have called one of the farm workers, but had not at the time considered it.[31] In his early witness statements, Bamber said he had telephoned the police immediately after receiving his father's call, then telephoned Mugford. During later police interviews, he said he had called Mugford first. He said he was confused about the sequence of events.[30]

Scene outside the farmhouse

After the telephone calls, Bamber made his way to the farmhouse; a police officer later drove Mugford down from London. Several police officers were also on their way to the farmhouse. PS Bews, PC Myall, and PC Saxby drove from Witham Police Station, and passed Bamber in their car. They told the court that, in their view, he was driving much more slowly than them, though Bamber's cousin, Ann Eaton, testified that Bamber was normally a very fast driver. Bamber arrived at the farmhouse one or two minutes after the police, then they all waited for a tactical firearms group to arrive, which turned up at 5 am. Police determined that all the doors and windows to the house were shut, except for the window in the main bedroom on the first floor. They decided to wait until daylight before entering at 7:54 am through the back door, which had been locked from the inside. The only sound they reported from the house was a dog barking.[32]

While waiting outside, the police questioned Bamber, who they said seemed calm. He told them about the phone call from his father, and that it sounded as though someone had cut him off. He said he did not get along with his sister, and asked whether she might have gone berserk with the gun, the police said he replied: "I don't really know. She is a nutter. She's been having treatment". The police asked why Nevill had called Bamber and not the police; Bamber replied that his father was the sort of person who might want to keep things within the family.[33] Bamber told them Sheila was familiar with guns and that they had gone target shooting together. He said he had been at the farmhouse himself the night before and had loaded the rifle because he thought he had heard rabbits outside. He then left it on the kitchen table, fully loaded with a box of ammunition nearby.[34] After the bodies were discovered, a doctor, Dr. Craig, was called to the house to certify the deaths, which he testified could have occurred at any time during the night. He said Bamber appeared to be in a state of shock, broke down, cried, and seemed to vomit. The doctor said Bamber told him at that point about the discussion the family had had about possibly having Sheila's sons fostered.[35]

The bodies

When police entered the house, they found five bodies with multiple gunshot wounds. Twenty-five shots had been fired, mostly at close range. They said they found Nevill downstairs, and the other four upstairs. Years later, Bamber's defence team cast doubt on the position the police say they found the bodies, using photographs obtained from the police, and suggested the photographs indicate that Sheila died later than the rest of the family; see below.[16]


The police said they found Nevill downstairs in the kitchen, dressed in pyjamas, amid a scene that suggested there had been a struggle, though Bamber's lawyers suggested at appeal that some or all of the mayhem in the kitchen may have been caused by the armed police when they broke into the house.[36] Nevill's body was slumped forward over an overturned chair next to the fireplace, his head resting just above a coal scuttle. The police said chairs and stools were overturned, and there was broken crockery, a broken sugar basin, and what looked like blood on the floor. A ceiling light lampshade had been broken. A telephone was lying on one of the surfaces with its receiver off the hook, and several .22 shells beside it. He had been shot eight times, six times to the head and face, which were fired with the rifle a few inches from his skin. The remaining shots to his body had occurred from at least two feet away. Based on where the empty cartridges were found—three were in the kitchen, and one on the stairs—the police concluded he had been shot four times upstairs, but had managed to get downstairs where a struggle took place, during which he was hit several times with the rifle and shot again, this time fatally.[37]

There were two wounds to his right side, and two to the top of his head, which would probably have resulted in unconsciousness. The left side of his lip was wounded, his jaw was fractured, and his teeth, neck, and larynx were damaged. The pathologist said he would have had difficulty talking. There were gunshot wounds to his left shoulder and left elbow. He also had black eyes, a broken nose, bruising to the cheeks, cuts on the head, bruising to the right forearm, and circular burn-type marks on his back, consistent with his having been hit with the rifle.[37] One of the pillars of the prosecution case was that Sheila would not have been strong enough to inflict this beating on Nevill, who was 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) tall and by all accounts in good health.[3]


The police said they found the other four bodies upstairs. June's body was heavily bloodstained. She was found lying on the floor in the master bedroom by the doorway, wearing her nightdress and bare-footed. She had been shot seven times; one shot to her forehead between her eyes, and another to the right side of her head, would have caused her death quickly. There were also shots to the right side of her lower neck, her right forearm, and two injuries on the right side of her chest and her right knee. The police believed she had been sitting up during part of the attack, based on the pattern of blood on her clothing. Five of the shots occurred when the gun was at least a foot from her body. The shot between her eyes was from less than one foot.[38]

Daniel and Nicholas

The boys were found in their beds, shot through the head. They appeared to have been shot while in bed. Daniel had been shot five times, four times with the gun held within one foot of his head, and once from over two feet away. Nicholas was shot three times, all contact or close-proximity shots.[39]


Police say they found Sheila on the floor of the master bedroom with her mother, though this was disputed in 2005 by Bamber's lawyers; see below. She was in her nightdress and bare-footed, with two bullet wounds one to her head and one to her throat. The pathologist, Dr. Peter Vanezis—who in 1993 became Regius Professor of Forensic Medicine at Glasgow University—said the lower of the injuries occurred from three inches (76 mm) away, and the higher one was a contact injury. The higher of the two would have killed her immediately. The lower injury would have killed her too, he said, but not necessarily straightaway; the court heard it would be possible for a person with such an injury to stand up and walk around, but the lack of blood on her nightdress suggested to Vanezis that she had not done this. He believed the lower of her injuries happened first, because it caused bleeding inside the neck, which would not have happened to the same extent if the higher, immediately fatal, wound had occurred first. Vanesiz said the blood stains on her nightdress suggested she was sitting up when she received both injuries.[40]

According to documents found by Bamber's defence team in or around 2005—they say they are unsure whether the papers were part of the original trial bundle, but say they were not seen by the defence—the first officer to enter the house at 7.34 am, PC Peter Woodcock, said of Sheila in his witness statement on 20 September 1985: "She had what appeared to be two bullet holes under her chin and blood leaking from both sides of her mouth down her cheeks." Bamber's lawyers say this is significant because, in their view, had she been shot before 3:30 am as the prosecution says, the blood would have dried by 7:30 am; because the blood was still wet, they argue she was probably shot no more than two hours earlier; see below.[41]

There were no marks on her body suggestive of a struggle. The firearms officer who first saw her said her feet and hands were clean, her fingernails manicured and not broken; and her fingertips free of blood, dirt, or powder. There was no trace of lead dust, which the court heard is usually the case when handling .22 ammunition. The rifle magazine would have been loaded at least twice during the killings, and this would usually leave lubricant and material from the bullets on the hands. A scenes-of-crimes officer, DC Hammersley, said there were blood stains on the back of her right hand, but that otherwise they were clean. There was no blood on the feet (this was disputed in 2005 by the defence) or other debris such as sugar, which was lying on the floor downstairs, possibly as a result of the struggle. At postmortem, low traces of lead were found on her hands and forehead, but the levels were consistent with the everyday handling of things around the house. A scientist, Mr Elliott, testified that if she had loaded eighteen cartridges into a magazine he would expect to see more lead on her hands. On her nightdress, the blood was consistent with her own, and no trace of firearm discharge residue was on it. Her urine indicated she had taken cannabis some days before, and the anti-psychotic drug Haloperidol.[40]

The rifle—without the silencer or sights attached—was lying across her chest, pointing up at her neck, with her right hand resting lightly on it. June's bible lay on the floor beside Sheila, partly resting on her upper right arm. It was normally kept in a bedside cupboard. June's fingerprints were on it, as were others that could not be identified, except for one made by a child.[40]

Police investigation


The front page of The Daily Express shortly after the murders. The police were so convinced Sheila was the killer that they failed to secure the forensic evidence.

Journalist David Connett, who attended the trial, writes that it was by common consent a truly awful investigation. He asked one Scotland Yard officer who had reviewed it to describe it, and the response was that he pinched his nose and screwed his face up.[42] The trial judge, Mr Justice Drake, expressed concern about what he called a "less than thorough investigation,"[43] and in 1989, Home Secretary Douglas Hurd tightened police procedures to ensure proper management of cases because of the failings of the Bamber investigation.[44]

Connett writes that the officer in charge, DCI "Taff" Jones, deputy head of CID, was told it was a "domestic" and went off to play golf. He became convinced of the murder-suicide theory, to the point where he ordered Bamber's cousins out of his office when they asked him to consider whether Bamber had set the whole thing up. Evidence was not recorded or preserved, and three days after the killings the police burned bloodstained bedding and a carpet, apparently to spare Bamber's feelings.[42]

Home Secretary Douglas Hurd said in 1989 that police did not follow standard procedure.[44]

The scenes-of-crime officer did not examine or see the silencer in the cupboard. It was eventually found by one of Bamber's cousins, and even then it took the police three days to collect it; see below. The same officer moved the rifle without wearing gloves, and it was not examined for fingerprints until weeks later. The bible found with Sheila was not examined at all. Connett writes that a hacksaw blade that might have been used to gain entry to the house lay in the garden for months, and officers did not take contemporaneous notes: those who dealt with Bamber wrote down their statements weeks later. Bamber's clothes were not examined until one month later, the bodies were cremated, and all blood samples were destroyed 10 years later.[42] Unlike DCI Jones, his junior officers were suspicious of Bamber, and when Jones was removed from the case, they began to look more closely at Bamber. Jones died before the case came to court after falling from a ladder at his home.[45]

Bamber's behaviour after the funeral increased suspicion that he had been involved. The Times reports that, immediately after the bodies were found, he broke down and was offered tea and whisky by police, and apparently managed to persuade the police to burn bedding and carpets inside the house.[3] He wept openly at the funerals, supported by his girlfriend, Julie Mugford, after which he flew to Amsterdam, where he apparently tried to buy a consignment of drugs and offered to sell soft-porn photographs of Sheila to tabloid newspapers. He also entertained friends to expensive champagne and lobster dinners. The behaviour served in part to draw police attention to him.[3]

Fingerprints on the rifle; the silencer

A print from Sheila's right ring finger was found on the right side of the butt, pointing downwards. A print from Bamber's right forefinger was on the breech end of the barrel, above the stock and pointing across the gun. He said he had used the gun to shoot rabbits. There were three further prints of insufficient detail to be identified.[46]

On the day of the murders, the police searched the gun cupboard in the ground floor office, but did not examine it or search for the silencer or sights for the rifle. Three days later, members of the Bambers' extended family visited the farm with Basil Cock, the estate's executor, and during that visit, one of the cousins, David Boutflour, found the silencer and the sights in the cupboard. The court heard that his father, Robert Boutflour; his sister Ann Eaton; the farm secretary; and Basil Cock witnessed this. The family took the silencer to Ann Eaton's home to examine it, and later said they found the surface had been damaged, and there seemed to be red paint and blood on it. They told the police, who collected the silencer on 12 August, at which point he noticed an inch-long grey hair attached to it, but this was lost before the silencer arrived at the Forensic Science Service at Huntingdon.[47]

The family returned to the farmhouse to search for the source of the red paint, and found what they said was recent damage to the underside of the red-painted mantel above the Aga in the kitchen. A scenes-of-crime officer, DI Cook, took a paint sample on 14 August, and it contained the same 15 layers of paint and varnish found in the plaint flake on the silencer. On 1 October, casts were taken of the marks on the mantel, and the marks were deemed consistent with having been caused by the silencer being in contact with the mantel more than once.[47] In February 2010 Bamber's legal team submitted evidence that they say shows the marks were created after the crime-scene photographs were taken; see below.[16]

A scientist at Huntingdon, a Mr Hayward, found blood inside and on the outside surface, the latter not enough to permit analysis. The blood inside was found to be the same blood group as Sheila's, though possibly a mixture of Nevill's and June's. A firearms expert, a Mr. Fletcher, said the blood was backspatter, caused by a close-contact shooting. Tests at the lab indicated it would have been physically impossible for Sheila, given her height and reach, to have reached the trigger to shoot herself while the silencer was attached.[47]

According to Bob Woffinden, a second firearms expert testified that the .22 Anschütz was unlikely to produce backspatter, especially when fitted with a silencer, and a third, Major Freddy Mead, who appeared for the defence, said there was no reason to believe the silencer had been used. Woffinden writes that it was not clear that the blood was Sheila's, only that it was the same blood group. It was also the same blood group as Robert Boutflour's—the father of the cousin who found the silencer—who was in the house when the discovery was made.[48] Part of Bamber's defence is that the cousins who discovered the crucial evidence were the beneficiaries of his estate, which his defence team say taints any discovery they say they made. Ann Eaton, who was present on the day the silencer was found, now lives in White House Farm.[16]

Julie Mugford's allegations

It was because of Julie Mugford's statement to police a month after the case that Bamber was arrested. They had started dating in 1983 when she was a 19-year-old student at Goldsmith's College in London; she was still studying there when the killings occurred. She admitted to a brief background of dishonesty. She was cautioned in 1985 for having used a friend's chequebook, after it had been reported stolen, to obtain goods worth £700; when they were discovered, she said she and the friend repaid the money to the bank. She also said that in March or April 1985 she had helped Bamber steal just under £1,000 from the office of the Osea Road caravan site his family owned. She said he had stage-managed the break-in to make it seem as though strangers had done it. The admission added both to the picture of her own dishonesty and to Bamber's.[21] After Bamber's trial, Mugford left Britain and later started a new life in Canada, where she married in 1991, works in education, and has two children.[49]

She was very supportive of Bamber after the murders; newspaper photographs of the funeral show him weeping and hanging onto her arm. On the day after the killings, she told police only that she had received a telephone call from him at about 3.30 am on 7 August, during which he sounded worried and said, "There's something wrong at home." She said she had been tired and had not asked what it was. Her position toward Bamber changed on 3 September 1985, when an old girlfriend phoned him and he asked her out in Mugford's presence. They rowed: she threw something at him, slapped him, and he twisted her arm up her back. Four days later she went to the police and changed her statement.[21]

In her second statement to police, she said he had talked disparagingly about his "old" father, his "mad" mother, his sister who he said had nothing to live for, and the twins who he said were disturbed. Bamber denied this, saying she was making the allegations only because he jilted her. Mugford's mother also said Bamber had told her he "hated" his adoptive mother and described her as mad. A friend of Mugford's testified that Bamber had said around February 1985 that his parents kept him short of money, his mother was a religious freak, and "I fucking hate my parents." A farm worker testified that he seemed not to get on with Sheila and had once said: "I'm not going to share my money with my sister".[50]

In discussions Mugford said she had dismissed as fantasies, he said he wanted to sedate his parents and set fire to the farmhouse. He reportedly said Sheila would make a good scapegoat. Mugford alleged he had discussed entering the house through the kitchen window because the catch was broken, and leaving it via a different window that latched when it was shut from the outside. She said she spent the weekend before the murders with him in his cottage in Goldhanger, where he dyed his hair black, and that she saw his mother's bicycle there. This was significant because the prosecution later alleged he had used the bicycle to cycle between his cottage and the farmhouse on the night of the murders. She told police Bamber had telephoned her on at 9:50 pm on 6 August to say he had been thinking about the crime all day, was pissed off, and that it was "tonight or never." A few hours later, at 3:00–3:30 am, she said he phoned her again to say: "Everything is going well. Something is wrong at the farm. I haven't had any sleep all night … bye honey and I love you lots". Her flatmates' evidence suggested that call came through closer to 3 am. He called her later during the morning of 7 August to tell her that Sheila had gone mad and that a police car was coming to pick her up and bring her to the farmhouse. When she arrived there, she said he pulled her to one side and said: "I should have been an actor."[50]

Later that evening she asked whether he had done it. He said no, but that a friend of his had, whom he named; the man was a plumber the family had used in the past. He said he had told this friend how he could enter and leave the farmhouse undetected, and that one of his instructions had been for the friend to telephone him from the farm on one of the phones in the house that had a memory redial facility, so that if the police checked it, it would give him an alibi. Everything had gone as planned, he said, except that Nevill had put up a fight, and the friend had become angry and shot him seven times. He had told Sheila to lie down and shoot herself last, Bamber said. He then placed the bible on her chest so she appeared to have killed herself in a religious frenzy. The children were shot in their sleep, he said. Mugford said Bamber claimed to have paid the friend £2,000.[50]

Bamber's arrest

As a result of Mugford's statement Bamber was arrested on 8 September, as was the friend Mugford said he had implicated, though the latter had a solid alibi and was released. Bamber told police Mugford was lying because he had jilted her. He said he loved his parents and sister, and denied they had kept him short of money; he said the only reason he had broken into the caravan site with Mugford was to prove that security was poor. He said he had occasionally gained entry to the farmhouse through downstairs windows, and had used a knife to move the catches from the outside. He also said he had seen his parents' wills, and that they had left the estate to be shared between him and Sheila. As for the rifle, he told police the gun was used mostly with the silencer off because it would otherwise not fit in its case. He was bailed from the police station on 13 September, after which he went on holiday to Saint-Tropez. Before leaving England, he returned to the farmhouse, gaining entry by the downstairs bathroom window. He said he did this because he had left his keys in London and needed some papers for the trip to France; he did not borrow keys from the housekeeper who lived nearby. When he returned to England on 29 September he was re-arrested and charged with the murders.[51]

Trial, October 1986

Bamber was tried before Mr Justice Drake (Sir Maurice Drake) and a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court in October 1986 during a case that lasted 19 days. The prosecution was led by Anthony Arlidge QC, and the defence by Geoffrey Rivlin QC, supported by Ed Lawson, QC.[42] The Times wrote that Bamber cut an arrogant figure in the witness box; at one point when prosecutors accused him of lying, he replied: "That is what you have got to establish."[3]

Prosecution case

Bamber was convicted on 18 October 1986 by a 10-2 majority after a 19-day trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

The prosecution case was that Bamber was motivated by hatred and greed. They argued he had left the farm around 10 pm on 6 August and later returned by bicycle in the early hours of the morning, using a route that avoided the main roads. He entered the house through a downstairs bathroom window, took the rifle with the silencer attached, and went upstairs. He shot June in her bed, but she managed to get up and walk a few steps before collapsing and dying. He shot Nevill in the bedroom too, but he was able to get downstairs where he and Bamber fought in the kitchen, before he was shot several times in the head. Sheila was also shot in the main bedroom. The children were shot in their beds as they slept.[52]

They argued that Bamber then set about arranging the scene to make it appear that Sheila was the killer. He then discovered that she could not have reached the trigger with the silencer attached, so he removed it and placed it in the cupboard, then placed a bible next to her body to introduce a religious theme. He removed the kitchen phone from its hook, left the house via a kitchen window, and banged it from the outside so that the catch dropped back into position. He then cycled home. Shortly after 3 am, he telephoned Mugford, then called the police at 3.26 a.m to say he had just received a frantic call from his father. In order to create a delay before the bodies were discovered, he did not call 999, drove slowly to the farmhouse, and told police his sister was familiar with guns, so they would be reluctant to enter.[52]

They argued that Bamber did not receive a call from his father—that Nevill was too badly injured after the first shots to have spoken to anyone; that there was no blood on the kitchen phone that had been left dangling; and that Nevill would have called the police before calling Bamber.[53] It was not known at this point that a police phone log existed showing that a caller saying he was Nevill did indeed phone Chemsford police station; the log appears to have been entered as evidence but was not shown to the jury.[28] The prosecution position was that, if the call to Bamber really was the last thing the father did before shots were fired and he dropped the receiver, the line to Bamber's home would have been left open for one to two minutes, and Bamber would therefore not have been able to telephone the police immediately to let them know about his father's call, as he said he did.[26] That the line would not have cleared in time for him to call the police is one of several disputed points.[54]

The silencer played a central role. It was deemed to have been on the rifle when it was fired, because of the blood found inside it. The prosecution said the blood was Sheila's, and that it had come from her head when the silencer was pointed at her. Expert evidence was submitted that, given her injuries after the first shot, Sheila could not have shot herself, placed the silencer in the downstairs cupboard, then run back upstairs to where her body was found. There was also expert testimony that there were no traces of gun oil on her nightdress, despite 25 shots having been fired and the gun having been reloaded at least twice. Prosecutors argued that, had Sheila killed her family then discovered she could not commit suicide with the silencer fitted, it would have been found next to her; there was no reason for her to have returned it to the gun cupboard. The possibility that she had carried out the killings was further discounted because, it was argued, she was mentally well at the time; had no interest in or knowledge of guns; lacked the strength to overcome her father; and there was no evidence on her clothes or body she had moved around the crime scene, or been involved in a struggle.[53]

Defence case

The defence responded that the witnesses who said Bamber disliked his family were lying or had misinterpreted. Mugford had further lied about Bamber's confession because he had betrayed her, and she wanted to stop him from being with anyone else. No one had seen him cycle to and from the farm. There were no marks on him on the night that suggested he had been in a fight, and no blood-stained clothing of his had been recovered. He had not gone to the farm as quickly as he should have when his father phoned, because he was afraid.[55]

They argued that Sheila was the killer, and that she did know how to handle guns because she had been raised on a farm, and had attended shoots when she was younger. She had a very serious mental illness, had said she felt she was capable of killing her children, and the loaded rifle had been left on the kitchen table by Bamber. There had been a recent family argument about placing the children in foster care. They also argued that people who have carried out "altruistic" killings have been known to engage in ritualistic behaviour before killing themselves, and that Sheila might have placed the silencer in the cupboard, changed her clothes, and washed herself, which would explain why there was little lead on her hands, or sugar from the floor on her feet. There was also a possibility that the blood in the silencer was not hers, but was a mixture of Nevill's and June's.[55]

Summing up and verdict

The judge said there were three crucial points, in no particular order. Did the jury believe Julie Mugford or Jeremy Bamber? Were they sure that Sheila was not the killer and then committed suicide? He said this question involved another: was the second, fatal, shot fired at Sheila with the silencer on? If yes, she could not have fired it. Finally, did Nevill call Bamber in the middle of the night? If there was no such call, it undermined the entirety of Bamber's story, and the only reason he would have had to invent the phone call was that he was responsible for the murders.[56] The jury found him guilty on 28 October by a majority of 10 to two; had one more juror supported him, he would not have been convicted. The judge told him he was "evil, almost beyond belief" and sentenced him to five life terms, with a recommendation that he serve at least 25 years.[57]

Bamber in jail

Bamber said in 2001 he had had 17 jail moves and 89 cell moves since he was first arrested.[58] The Times alleges that he has been treated with a degree of indulgence. At Long Lartin, Worcestershire, he was reportedly given the key to his cell, studied for his GCSE in sociology and media studies, had a daily badminton lesson, and drew pictures of supermodels in art class that he sold through an outside agent. He has received compensation twice, once after suffering whiplash injuries when a van moving him between prisons crashed, and once when a Gameboy was stolen from his cell.[3]

An attractive man who was clearly comfortable with women, he says he has had three relationships with women inside, one of them with a trainee policewoman, and that he receives 50 letters a week from women. He has been involved in some trouble too. He once attacked a prisoner with a broken bottle, and had to be placed in solitary confinement when inmates were angered by his stories to journalists about the comfortable lifestyle he said prisoners have.[3] In May 2004, he was attacked by another inmate while making a telephone call from Full Sutton Prison, near York, and was given 28 stitches for cuts to his neck.[59] As a prisoner alleging a miscarriage of justice, he is allowed access to the media and once called a radio station from Whitemoor jail to protest his innocence.[60]

Appeals and campaign

Leave to appeal refused, 1989 and 1994

He first sought leave to appeal in June 1987, arguing that the judge's summing up had omitted material important to the defence and that the judge had himself expressed strong views. It was heard and dismissed by a single judge, and then heard again by a full court, and leave to appeal was refused on 20 March 1989 by Lord Chief Justice, Lord Lane.[61]

Because of the criticism of the police investigation by the trial judge, Essex police held an internal inquiry, conducted by Detective Chief Superintendent Dickinson. Bamber alleged this report confirmed that evidence had been suppressed by the police, so he made a formal complaint, which was investigated in 1991 by the City of London Police at the request of the Home Office. This process uncovered more documentation, which Bamber used to petition the Home Secretary in September 1993 for a referral back to the Court of Appeal, which was refused in July 1994. During this process, the Home Office had declined to give Bamber expert evidence that it had obtained, and so Bamber applied for judicial review of that decision in November 1994; this resulted in the Home Office handing over its expert evidence, but at that point Bamber made no further petition. In February 1996, the Essex police destroyed many of the original trial exhibits without informing Bamber or his lawyers. The officer who did it said he had not been aware that the case was on-going.[62]

Criminal Cases Review Commission, 1997–2001; Court of Appeal, 2002

Bamber's appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice was dismissed in December 2002.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) was established in April 1997 to review allegations of miscarriage of justice, and Bamber's case was passed to them at that time.[63] The CCRC referred the case to the Court of Appeal in March 2001 on the grounds that new DNA testing on the silencer constituted fresh evidence.[64] The appeal was heard by Lord Justice Kay, Mr Justice Wright, and Mr Justice Henriques from 17 October to 1 November 2002, and the decision published on 12 December.[21] The prosecution was represented by Victor Temple QC and Bamber by Michael Turner QC. Bamber brought 16 issues to the attention of the court, 14 of them about failure to disclose evidence or the fabrication of evidence, and two (grounds 14 and 15) related to the silencer and DNA testing:[65]

  1. Hand swabs from Sheila[66]
  2. Testing of hand swabs from Sheila[67]
  3. Disturbance of the crime scene[36]
  4. Evidence relating to windows[68]
  5. Timing of phone call to Julie Mugford[69]
  6. Credibility of Julie Mugford[70]
  7. Letter from Colin Caffell[71]
  8. Statement of Colin Caffell[72]
  9. Photograph showing the words "I hate this place"[24]
  10. The bible[73]
  11. Proposed purchase by Bamber of a Porsche[74]
  12. Telephone in the kitchen[75]
  13. Scars on Bamber's hands[76]
  14. Blood in the silencer[77]
  15. DNA evidence[78]
  16. Police misconduct[79]

Although all the issues were reviewed by the court (except point 11, withdrawn by the defence before adjudication), the reason for the referral was point 15, the discovery of DNA on the silencer, the result of a test not available in 1986. The evidence from the original trial being challenged was from a Mr Hayward, a biologist at the Forensic Science Laboratory. He had found human blood inside the silencer, and had asserted that its blood group was consistent with it coming from Sheila, but not from any of the other victims—though he also said there was a remote possibility that it was a mixture of blood from Nevill and June. Mark Webster, an expert instructed by Bamber's defence team for the appeal, argued that Hayward's tests had been inadequate, and that there was a real possibility, not a remote one, that the blood came from Nevill and June.[77] The defence further argued that new tests comparing DNA discovered in the moderator to a sample from Sheila's biological mother suggested that the "major component" of the DNA in the silencer did not come from Sheila,[80] and a DNA sample from June's sister, Pamela Boutflour, suggested the major component came from her. The court concluded that June's DNA was in the silencer; Sheila's DNA may have been in the silencer; and that there was evidence of DNA from at least one male. The judges' conclusion was that the results were complex, incomplete, and meaningless since they did not establish how June's DNA came to be on the silencer years after the trial, did not establish that Sheila's was not on it, and did not lead to a conclusion that Bamber's conviction was unsafe.[78]

In a 522-point judgment dismissing the appeal, the judges said there was no conduct on the part of the police or prosecution that would have adversely affected the jury's verdict, and that the more they examined the details of the case, the more they thought the jury was right.[81]

Campaign to overturn the conviction

Journalist Bob Woffinden, who specializes in miscarriages of justice, took up Bamber's case, though changed his mind about it in May 2011.

A campaign gathered pace over the years to secure his release, with several websites set up to examine the case:, which went live on 4 March 2001,,,, and two Facebook pages, "Jeremy Bamber" and "Jeremy Bamber is innocent".[82] Nine days after losing his appeal in December 2002, he used one of the websites to offer a £1m reward for evidence that would overturn his conviction.[83] His case was taken up by a number of public figures, including Bob Woffinden, a journalist who specializes in miscarriages of justice; former Respect MP George Galloway; crime writer Scott Lomax, author of Jeremy Bamber: Evil, Almost Beyond Belief? (2008); and Andrew Hunter, former Independent Conservative MP for Basingstoke. Hunter argued that the case was one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in the last 20 years, and offered to stand bail for Bamber if there was an appeal.[84]

Hunter alleged in the House of Commons in February 2005 that evidence was being withheld from the defence. He said Bamber's lawyers had requested access to the notebooks of Inspector Taff Jones, the first officer in charge of the investigation who believed Bamber was innocent, but who died before the case came to court. They also requested the findings of the coroner who looked into Jones's death; the audio recordings of all telephone and radio messages from White House farm that night; audio recordings describing the scene of the crime; video recordings of the scene of the crime; and the original radio and telephone messages log and incident report.[85] In August 2005, Bamber's lawyers asked the Home Secretary to pardon him. The letter to the Home Secretary said there were four million documents in the case, one quarter of which had not been disclosed to the defence. Thirty-eight boxes of papers were provided to Bamber's new defence team, including photographs that were not part of the defence papers during the trial or appeal.[86] The Sunday Times said in 2010 that Bamber kept two floor-to-ceiling piles of boxes in his cell.[14]

Bob Woffinden argued in 2007 that Sheila shot her family, and was watching from an upstairs window as police gathered outside the house, which explains why they thought they saw someone inside. At some point she went down to the kitchen where her father lay dead, and shot herself once, intending to take her own life; the shot was not fatal, but she lost consciousness. The police looked through the kitchen window and saw two bodies. As they broke down the back door, she regained consciousness, and slipped upstairs using one of the back staircases. One of the officers said he heard a sound upstairs, and shouted to Sheila, assuming it was her. Woffinden argued that, hearing this, Sheila went into her mother's bedroom and shot herself a second time, this time fatally. Because the muzzle was pressed again her skin, Woffinden wrote that it may have muffled the sound enough to explain why none of the officers heard it.[45] He changed his mind about Bamber's guilt in May 2011, writing that he had come to believe Bamber was the killer.[87]

Criminal Cases Review Commission, 2004 and 2009

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) in Alpha Tower, Birmingham. Bamber's lawyers submitted the case to the CCRC in March 2004 and again in January 2009.

In 2004 Bamber launched a fresh attempt to obtain another appeal with a new defence team that included Italian legal adviser Giovanni di Stefano,[16] and solicitor Barry Woods of Chivers Solicitors in West Yorkshire.[88] Di Stefano wrote to the Criminal Cases Review Commission in March 2004 asking them to look at the case again, based in part on photographs of the crime scene that had been made available during the trial, but which were not in the bundle of photographs shown to the jury.[89] In 2007 his defence team also arranged for Bamber to undergo a lie detector test, which he passed.[90]

The CCRC rejected the 2004 request, but the defence team made a fresh submission in January 2009. The CCRC announced in February 2011 that it had also provisionally rejected this submission; it sent Bamber's lawyers an 89-page document setting out the reasons and invited them to respond within three months. It extended this deadline to July, then to September, to allow the defence team time to study all 406 crime-scene photographs. In September 2011 the CCRC granted the defence team an indefinite period in which to pursue an additional line of enquiry.[7]

Sheila: photographic evidence and time of death

Bamber's lawyers say this photograph of Sheila, taken at 9 am on 7 August, shows her blood still wet, and argue it means she died while Bamber was with the police, not before 3:30 am as the prosecution said.

Some of the evidence not made available to the defence before 2005 were photographs of Sheila taken by a police photographer at around 9 am on 7 August. In a letter to the Home Secretary in August 2005, Bamber's lawyers said these photographs had only recently been passed to the defence, and showed that Sheila's blood was still wet. They argued that, had she been killed before 3:30 am as the prosecution said, her blood would have congealed by 9 am. They also cited a statement from one of the first officers to enter the house at 7:34 am, PC Peter Woodcock, whose witness statement was first discovered by the defence in a box of papers in July 2005, though the defence team acknowledged the statement may have been part of the trial bundle. The statement was dated 20 September 1985 and said of Sheila: "She had what appeared to be two bullet holes under her chin and blood leaking from both sides of her mouth down her cheeks." In 2005, the defence obtained reports from two medical experts, a Professor Marco Meloni and a Professor Cavalli, who expressed the view, based on the photographs, that Sheila had died no more than two hours before the time of the photographs or PC Woodcock's description of the leaking blood; this would place her death during the period Bamber was standing outside the house with the police.[86]

The location of Sheila's body was also disputed. A police log from the night showed that an officer said two bodies were seen at 7:37 am "on entry to the premises," one male and one female. The document said that just before the team entered the house, PC Collins reported seeing through a window what he thought was the body of a woman just inside the kitchen door. PC Woodcock then hit the door with a sledgehammer to force entry. The document also said that at 8:10 a further three bodies were reported to have been found, leaving it unclear which body was initially found in which location.[91] Later police reports said only Nevill had been found in the kitchen and the other four bodies upstairs.[37] Bamber's defence team argues that it was Sheila's body that was initially seen in the kitchen alongside Nevill's; they said she may not have been dead at that point, and may have moved upstairs where she killed herself.[45]

The only photographs of Sheila seen by the defence during the trial did not include her feet. Hunter said the new defence team had found photographs of her body that did include the feet, and showed she had blood on them. Hunter told MPs this was significant because, if she had walked through a house where four murders had just taken place, she would be expected to have blood on her feet, but it was part of the prosecution's case that her feet were clean. Hunter also said the photographs showed no rigor mortis and the skin was not discoloured. The photographs of the other victims did show rigor mortis, he said.[85]

Radio messages and incident report

Another piece of evidence found by Bamber's lawyers was exhibit 29, a one-page list of radio messages from the scene. The lawyers asked Essex police whether the list made available to the first lawyers was the entirety of the exhibit, and went to court in March 2004 to force the police to hand over anything else they still had. It transpired that exhibit 29 was 24 pages long. MP Andrew Hunter told the Commons that the first two pages had been written on different paper from the rest of the list, and had been edited. Comparing the list to police witness statements suggested that key radio messages from police had been left out. The lawyers therefore requested the original document so that it could be sent for analysis. The police refused, according to Hunter. In addition to providing the 24 pages, he said, the police inadvertently supplied material that had not been requested: pages from a telephone log made at the time, and a contemporaneous incident report. He gave two examples:[85]

  • At 5:25 am, the police officers who met Bamber at White House farm and spent time outside with him—they were in a car with the call sign Charlie Alpha 7—relayed a message from the tactical firearms team. The team said they were in conversation with someone inside the farmhouse.[85] According to Bamber's website, the log said:
05.25 Firearms team are in conversation with a person from inside the farm
05.29 From CA7 [Charlie Alpha 7]—Challenge to persons inside house met with no response[92]
  • Another piece of evidence consisted of four entries in the logs and incident report. Hunter told the Commons that it contradicted the prosecution's account of police finding Nevill's body downstairs in the kitchen, and the other four bodies upstairs. An entry in the radio message log said: "0737: one dead male and one dead female in kitchen." The telephone message log said: "0738: one dead male and one dead female found on entry." At 7:40 am, the incident log noted a message from a Detective Inspector IR: "Police entered premises. One male dead, one female dead." At this point police had not yet searched upstairs. When they did, they later reported: "House now thoroughly searched by firearms team. Now confirmed a further 3 bodies found."[85] The chief prosecution lawyer, Anthony Arlidge QC, told Bamber's lawyers in 2005 that he had not seen any of these logs.[86] A retired police officer who worked on the case told reporters in 2011 that the police logs were simply mistaken.[93]

Telephone log and scratch marks

In August 2010, the Daily Mirror reported that the defence team had located a police telephone log that had been entered as evidence during the trial, but had not been noticed by Bamber's lawyers, and was not part of the jury bundle; see above. Bamber's defence team said it showed that someone calling himself Mr Bamber had telephoned police on the night of the attack to say his daughter had one of his guns and was going berserk.[27] Stan Jones, a former detective sergeant who worked on the case, said the log was not new, and that all the paperwork was given at the time to the defence. He told The Essex Chronicle: "The only person who telephoned the police was Jeremy Bamber. There is no way his father phoned. To suggest it is farcical."[93]

The defence team also gave the CCRC a report dated 17 January 2010 from Peter Sutherst, described by newspapers as one of the UK's top photographic experts, who was asked by the defence in 2008 to examine negatives of photographs of the kitchen taken on the day of the murders and later. In his report, he argued that scratch marks in paintwork on the kitchen mantelpiece had been created after the crime-scene photographs had been taken. The prosecution alleged that the marks had been made as the silencer, attached to the rifle, had scratched against the mantelpiece during the struggle in the kitchen between Bamber and his father, and that paint chips identical to that on the mantelpiece were found on or inside the silencer. Sutherst said the scratch marks appeared in photographs taken on 10 September, 34 days after the murders, but were not visible in the original crime-scene photographs. He also said he had failed to find in the photographs any chipped paint on the carpet below the mantelpiece, where it might have been expected to fall had the mantelpiece been scratched. He told The Observer in February 2010: "In this case the scratch marks underneath the mantelshelf turned out to be the most significant bit of evidence that we came across. ... It was possible to line up all these pictures in jigsaw fashion to show that the scratch mark from the underside of the mantelshelf did not extend into the picture of the mantelshelf taken on the 7th of August ... So the marks had been put there after the original incident."[88]

Appeals against whole-life tariff, 2008 and 2009

The trial judge recommended a minimum term of 25 years, but in December 1994 Home Secretary Michael Howard ruled Bamber should remain in prison for the rest of his life.[94] In May 2008 he lost a High Court appeal against the whole-life tariff in front of Mr. Justice Tugendhat, upheld by the Appeal Court in May 2009.[95] He is one of 38 prisoners in the UK to have been told they will never be released, and according to David James Smith the only one known to protest his innocence.[1]

See also


  • The full reference for R - v - Jeremy Bamber, 12 December 2002 is "R - v - Jeremy Bamber", before Lord Justice Kay Mr Justice Wright and Mr Justice Henriques, [2002] EWCA Crim 2912 Case No: 20011745 S1, Royal Courts of Justice, 12 December 2002, accessed 10 August 2010.
  1. ^ a b Smith, David James. "And by dawn they were all dead", The Sunday Times Magazine, 11 July 2010, p. 18 of the magazine, p. 3 of the article.
  2. ^ "Essex murderer Jeremy Bamber loses appeal bid", BBC News, 11 February 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Murder most foul,but did he do it?", The Times, 18 March 2001; courtesy link to, scroll to the end to see the editorial.
  4. ^ a b "R - v - Jeremy Bamber", 12 December 2002, para 84ff.
  5. ^ Hall, Sarah. "Bamber appeal told of 'deceit' by police", The Guardian, 18 October 2002.
  6. ^ a b "Disputed Bamber call 'a key point'", BBC News, 23 October 2002.
  7. ^ a b Allison, Eric and Walker, Peter. "Jeremy Bamber loses attempt to appeal", The Guardian, 11 February 2011.
  8. ^ "R - v - Jeremy Bamber", 12 December 2002, paras 12, 151.
  9. ^ "R - v - Jeremy Bamber", 12 December 2002, para 14.
  10. ^ "R - v - Jeremy Bamber", 12 December 2002, paras 16, 17.
  11. ^ "R - v - Jeremy Bamber", 12 December 2002, paras 30, 143.
  12. ^ "R - v - Jeremy Bamber", 12 December 2002, para 83.
  13. ^ a b c d "R - v - Jeremy Bamber", 12 December 2002, paras 370–377.
  14. ^ a b Smith, David James. "And by dawn they were all dead", The Sunday Times magazine, 11 July 2010.
  15. ^ "R - v - Jeremy Bamber", 12 December 2002, para 18.
  16. ^ a b c d e Edge, Simon. Could new evidence free Jeremy Bamber?", The Daily Express, 6 August 2010.
  17. ^ a b c "Killer's family cash claim fails", BBC News, 6 October 2004.
  18. ^ a b Moore, Matthew. "Jeremy Bamber claims he was framed for murder by cousins", The Daily Telegraph, 12 July 2010.
  19. ^ a b "Bamber claims £1m from family", BBC News, 18 August 2003; also see Ezard, John. "Murder family sued by killer", The Guardian, 19 August 2003.
  20. ^ "On This Day", The Times, 29 October 1986.
  21. ^ a b c d "R - v - Jeremy Bamber", 12 December 2002.
  22. ^ "R - v - Jeremy Bamber", 12 December 2002, paras 21, 30.
  23. ^ "R - v - Jeremy Bamber", 12 December 2002, para 22.
  24. ^ a b "R - v - Jeremy Bamber", 12 December 2002, paras 392–404.
  25. ^ "R - v - Jeremy Bamber", 12 December 2002, para 23.
  26. ^ a b "R - v - Jeremy Bamber", 12 December 2002, paras 66–68.
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    • According to one of the Bamber support websites, the questions were: "Did you shoot your family on 7 August 1985; did you shoot five members of your family with an Anschutz rifle; were you present inside the house when they were shot with an Anschutz rifle; did you shoot your mother June; did you shoot your father Neville; did you shoot your sister Sheila Caffell; did you shoot your twin nephews Nicholas and Daniel; did you climb out of a window of your parents home after shooting your family; did you shoot your family in your father's home? He answered no. He was then asked: did PC Bews radio report seeing someone in an upstairs window on the morning of the shootings, to which he said yes. Finally, he was asked: "Did you pay a professional hitman to shoot your family, and he replied no. The website says the operator wrote: "I conclude that No Deception Indicated (NDI) should be recorded." For the questions, see, accessed 10 August 2010.
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  92. ^ "An analysis of the wireless message log and Essex police communication log",, accessed 7 August 2010.
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  94. ^ " Regina - v - Jeremy Neville Bamber", before Mr Justice Tugendhat, [2008] EWHC 862 (QB), Case No: 2005/52/MTR, Queen's Bench, 16 May 2008.
  95. ^ "Killer's life term is 'justified'", BBC News, 14 May 2009.
    • For the case, see "R - v - Jeremy Bamber", before Mr Justice David Clarke and Mr Justice Wyn Williams, [2009] EWCA Crim 962, Case No: 2008/03986/A5, Royal Courts of Justice, 14 May 2009.

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