Author Topic: Why Nevill Could Not Have Made A 999 Call: A Logical Case  (Read 485 times)

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Online QCChevalier

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This is an attempt to make a logical case for Nevill not having made a 999 call within the parameters of a 'reasonable doubt' argument.

We start with the tragic crime scene just as it is found and recorded on 7th. August 1985.

We will put aside the issues with the position of bullet casings and the deductions made by Essex Police from these .  DI Cook concluded that Nevill had been shot four times upstairs.  I find this rather unlikely – for fairly obvious reasons.

Despite my scepticism, for the moment let’s assume DI Cook was correct – and, anyway, it’s just about possible, at a stretch.

If Nevill goes downstairs, he has an advantage on Jeremy, even if injured.  The stairs are narrow and steep and turn sharply.  Jeremy can’t easily run down these stairs with a gun.

If Nevill reaches the kitchen before Jeremy, then he can reach the phone.

If he can reach the phone, then even if we assume Jeremy has opened the line, it would take mere seconds for Nevill to replace the receiver, lift the receiver, and dial three digits for the emergency services.

Even if Nevill cannot speak into the line due to his injuries, instinctively he would still go for the phone.

Yet we find:

(a). The kitchen door has no blood on it.

(b). The kitchen phone has no blood on it.

(c). There are only two blood prints on the worktop, found very near the kitchen phone.

We can conclude from (a), (b) and (c) that Nevill’s failure to ring 999, if that is what occurred, was a choice.

The major possibilities are:

(i). Jeremy is the killer and he stops Nevill at the point of a gun just as he reaches the phone and before he can dial 999.

(ii). Jeremy is the killer and he takes Nevill downstairs at gun point, which precludes Nevill going to the phone – obviously.

(iii). Jeremy is the killer and Nevill intercepts him at the very outset of the incident.

(iv). Sheila is the killer and Nevill is hesitant in dealing with her, giving Sheila an advantage and Nevill ends up incapacitated by fusillade before he can reach the phone.

I find (i) rather implausible on the evidence because, first, if Nevill reaches the worktop, then he would have to reach the phone.  It would follow from this, in turn, that the blood prints must be Sheila’s, in which case Jeremy is innocent; but, there is a small possibility that Nevill reached the worktop and Jeremy pointed the gun at him at that instant.  Otherwise, for (i) to be plausible, it would require that either Jeremy has cleaned the phone of blood or the police did.  The reason Jeremy might do this is, having thought it all through, he decides that blood on the kitchen phone does not tie in with his staged call from Nevill. 

Actually, the idea of the police cleaning blood on the phone, if anything, seems marginally more likely: this might have happened if one of the officers needed to make a call from the house and, having assumed it was an obvious murder-suicide case, didn’t bother recording that he had cleaned the phone of blood and didn’t preserve the cloth used to do this.

I also find (ii) somewhat implausible because there is no reason for Jeremy to have Nevill downstairs once Nevill is shot.  It wouldn’t make sense.  It also wouldn’t be in character for Nevill to go along.

To my mind, (iii) does not tally with the evidence.  Why does Nevill end up shot in the master bedroom and/or on the main landing, and then dead back in the kitchen? It is possible that Jeremy rushes past Nevill and upstairs and then shoots at Nevill back down the stairs, and then they go back to the kitchen, but that doesn’t sound very likely when you consider that Nevill would be Jeremy’s main problem, and also the need for Jeremy to open the phone line and the risk that Nevill would dial 999.

However, (iv) does sound quite plausible.  It could happen because Sheila has not yet attacked anybody other than Nevill.  Nevill and Sheila could have been at stand-off in the kitchen, during which Nevill manages to rouse a sleepy Jeremy on the phone.  When Nevill speaks to Jeremy, Sheila angrily rushes out of the kitchen in the direction of the stairs, perhaps intending to attack June.  Running up the stairs would be difficult with the rifle, and so Nevill pretty much catches up with her.  She turns and fires at Nevill as they are both on the stairs, maybe hits him, but he doesn’t realise he is injured as such.  She starts coming back down the stairs with the gun pointed at him, there is lots of shouting, and probably June is roused and wondering what is going on.  The two of them, Nevill and Sheila, end up back in the kitchen.  He doesn’t ring 999 because it’s his mentally-ill daughter and he wants to grab the gun off her, but she fires again, and leaves him for dead.

One of the ways we could rescue the Crown’s case is if we say that Nevill did ring 999.  There are four possibilities:

1. Nevill didn’t dial 999 and didn’t reach the phone (or chose not to go for the phone). 

2. Nevill didn’t dial 999 but did reach the phone.  Jeremy or the police wiped the blood off it for some reason.

3. Nevill did dial 999 but the call has not been recorded in police logs.

4. Nevill did dial 999 and the police have misled the court.

2 or 3 would assist the Crown.  1 could assist either side.  4 would assist the defence.

Let’s look at 2 and 3 and test them.

With 2, we’re imagining that Jeremy has just stopped Nevill as he reached and touched the phone.  Would Jeremy wipe the blood off the phone?  It seems rather unlikely.  There’s blood all over the kitchen by this point, isn’t there?  Plus, doesn’t Jeremy want people to think that Nevill used the phone?  And would Jeremy really be ‘switched-on’ enough to realise that a clean phone would assist his story more?

Now, let’s consider 3.  The scenario is that he have Nevill opening an emergency line, but due to his facial injuries, he can’t speak and he has Jeremy on top of him, so the call either ends or (more likely) the line is left open.  Jeremy would notice this and after dealing with Nevill, he would close the line. It's here that we have the same problem as with 2 above.  The phone was found clean and we’ve covered already why that’s not likely.  Thus, possibility 3 is actually the same as possibility 2.  The caveat to that dismissal is that, in fairness to the Crown, we would need to research a bit more before we can completely eliminate 3, as we would need to establish how abortive/broken emergency calls operated at that time.  Depending on the outcome of this research, it may even be possible to trace the abortive call, if it was made - but that has to be considered unlikely.

The above ruminations are not fatal to the Crown’s case, but it does look like the prosecution are in trouble.

With that, now we come to consider the other two possibilities, 1 and 4.

This is where we look at the calls between, respectively, Jeremy and PC West and between PC West and Malcolm Bonnett. 

To recap, PC West was a police officer based at Chelmsford Police Station.

Malcolm Bonnett was a civilian police call operator based at the communications centre in Essex Police HQ.
 
Regarding these two men, I am unclear on five things:

(i). Whether the HQ communications centre was also the designated ‘call control’ for Essex Police.  I think we can assume it was, but if it wasn’t, then this means there may have been a further authorisation step for dispatch of vehicles.

(ii). Whether Malcolm Bonnet also fielded emergency police calls direct from the public.  I think it follows that he did if the assumption in (i) is correct.

(iii). Whether PC West and Mr Bonnett communicated by phone or radio.

(iv). Whether PC West and Mr Bonnett were in fact based in the same building.

(v). Whether these audio communications were recorded.  If they were, why they have not been released to the defence?

Now let us consider possibility 1: Nevill doesn’t reach the phone.  If this was through choice on Nevill’s part, that would suggest one of two further possibilities:

1A: Jeremy is the killer and Nevill ran for the kitchen for a reason other than the phone.

1B: Sheila is the killer and Nevill hesitated.

The simplest way to proceed would be to try to eliminate possibility 1A.  Was there something else in the kitchen, or that required him to go via the kitchen, that would have given Nevill a reason to run there?  The guns were in a different direction – actually Nevill passed them on the way to the kitchen.  Was the easier exit from the farmhouse via the kitchen?  The nearest exit from the building via the main stairway was actually via the front door, which is in completely the opposite direction.  It is also assumed that all doors were locked from the inside.  How did Nevill imagine Jeremy had entered the property?  It’s doubtful he would have been able to give the matter developed thought - and let's face it, if he's not interested in the phone, why wouldn't he just hide somewhere or struggle and fight upstairs?  Assuming Jeremy was the killer, the argument that Nevill was running for the kitchen phone does seem compelling.

To consider possibility 1B requires only that we acknowledge that Nevill might not have dialled 999 in the face of a belligerent daughter, for the reasons already given.  This logically all-but precludes the possibility of a 999 call from Nevill if Jeremy is innocent.  Sheila would have no reason to wipe the phone and worktop clean. 
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 01:55:AM by QCChevalier »

Offline Adam

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Re: Why Nevill Could Not Have Made A 999 Call: A Logical Case
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2020, 09:15:AM »
'DI Cook concluded that Nevill had been shot four times upstairs.  I find this rather unlikely – for fairly obvious reasons'.

----------

Why do you not believe Bamber shot Nevill 4 times upstairs?


The bullet casings show -

Daniel 1
Nicholas 1
June 5
Nevill 4

Reload

Nevill 4
Daniel/Nicholas 6
Sheila 1

Reload

June 2
Sheila 1


All shots upstairs except Nevill's 4 kitchen shots.

« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 10:59:AM by Adam »
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Offline Adam

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Re: Why Nevill Could Not Have Made A 999 Call: A Logical Case
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2020, 09:42:AM »
Looking at the house diagram, it seems that Nevill would have arrived at the front door first. If taking the nearest staircase from his bedroom.

If Bamber had disabled this door upon entry, Nevill would have gone to exit via the kitchen door. He was either caught before he arrived at the kitchen door.  Or Bamber had disabled this door as well.

With Bamber in pursuit, he certainly would not try to phone the police.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 10:07:AM by Adam »
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Offline Adam

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Re: Why Nevill Could Not Have Made A 999 Call: A Logical Case
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2020, 10:03:AM »
Suspect Nevill wanted to get outside. He had received 4 shots and did not know if Bamber had more bullets left. Besides which, a fully fit and clothed Bamber would also be physically attacking him.

Nevill getting outside may have been able to alert one of the farm workers. Which may have deterred Bamber.

The only thing Nevill may have had time to do in the kitchen, would be to get some sort of weapon. Such as a knife. The evidence shows he did not do this.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 10:03:AM by Adam »
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Online QCChevalier

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Re: Why Nevill Could Not Have Made A 999 Call: A Logical Case
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2020, 11:41:AM »
Thanks, but I believe I have covered the above points in my long post, except the bullet casings which will be discussed elsewhere.  For present purposes, I am adopting the working assumption that DI Cook was correct.

If Nevill was heading for the exit, how did he know the door would be unlocked?  Was the door normally left unlocked?  If not, did he have time to grab a key while Jeremy was firing at him and June?  Where were the keys stored?  Was there a key in the door, normally?  If the keys were stored communally, was it just one key on one ring or were there several keys?  And when he was running down the stairs, why didn't Nevill go for the nearer front door?

And how does he work the key if he has been shot in the arm?  Wouldn't it have been awkward?  Or maybe he just wasn't cognisant of his injuries?

More to the point, on his way to the kitchen Nevill runs past the washroom where there are guns.  Why didn't he grab one?  Is it because he was injured?  Or maybe it's because he would have assumed any guns there were unloaded?  But wouldn't he have instinctively grabbed a gun anyway and used it as a bludgeon?  He was an RAF pilot once and must have received at least some basic combat training, and he was physically capable, even at 61.  Wouldn't that very act of being in the washroom and holding a gun, with his blood on it, have blown Jeremy's plans apart?  It's not as if Nevill is going to grab a gun under assault from Sheila.

Why didn't Nevill just hide or fight Jeremy upstairs?  Why did he run downstairs at all, if the doors were locked?  Was it just instinct?  Why did he leave June and Sheila and the twins?  Why not, for instance, barricade himself in the twins' room?  Or just fight Jeremy?  I realise there's an age gap, but Nevill has spent his life as a sharp-end farmer, Jeremy hadn't.  Nevill must still have been at least as strong, if not stronger than, Jeremy.

I think if Jeremy is the killer, then Nevill was going for the phone in the kitchen.  This is because Jeremy's plans are shot to pieces if Nevill reaches the phone and speaks to somebody, even if just for a few seconds.  Even if Jeremy is chasing him with a gun, he has steep narrow stairs to contend with and it's awkward because he is holding a long rifle.  Nevill is ahead of him and would have had the advantage for a crucial minute or so. 

All Nevill has to do is establish an emergency line and speak to whoever answers and his first words would be: "Help!  My son has gone beserk!".  How long would that take?  How many sons did Nevill have?  Only one.  If we assume Jeremy has opened the line, it would take maybe 10 seconds to close the line, open it again, dial three digits 999, wait a maximum of three rings for an answer, and speak.

The call would be recorded and it's game over.

Yet there are no blood marks on the phone and only isolated blood prints on the edge of the worktop with, I believe, some blood on the floor beneath.  Interestingly, that blood is near the phone.  It's as if somebody has cleaned the phone.  Maybe Jeremy did, thinking that blood on the phone was inconsistent with his plan for a staged call from Nevill. 

But why would he do things that way round?  If there's blood on the phone, why would Jeremy risk getting his own blood prints on the phone by trying to clean the blood off?  Why not just have Nevill ringing him after he has been shot?  The answer to that is that the police would be suspicious if Nevill did so, wondering why he had not rung 999 instead.  It's suspicious enough that he rang Jeremy before he had been shot, never mind after. 

We have already covered why a 999 call from Nevill logically could not have occurred.  Thus, to me, the solutions are one of these:

1. Jeremy is the killer, he stopped Nevill just as he was dialling 999 and he wiped Nevill's blood from the phone.
2. Sheila is the killer.

At the least, it takes some explaining to believe that Nevill doesn't make it to that phone.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 11:53:AM by QCChevalier »

Offline Adam

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Re: Why Nevill Could Not Have Made A 999 Call: A Logical Case
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2020, 11:57:AM »
Thanks, but I believe I have covered the above points in my long post, except the bullet casings which will be discussed elsewhere.  For present purposes, I am adopting the working assumption that DI Cook was correct.

If Nevill was heading for the exit, how did he know the door would be unlocked?  Was the door normally left unlocked?  If not, did he have time to grab a key while Jeremy was firing at him and June?  Where were the keys stored?  Was there a key in the door, normally?  If the keys were stored communally, was it just one key on one ring or were there several keys?  And when he was running down the stairs, why didn't Nevill go for the nearer front door?

And how does he work the key if he has been shot in the arm?  Wouldn't it have been awkward?  Or maybe he just wasn't cognisant of his injuries?

More to the point, on his way to the kitchen Nevill runs past the washroom where there are guns.  Why didn't he grab one?  Is it because he was injured?  Or maybe it's because he would have assumed any guns there were unloaded?  But wouldn't he have instinctively grabbed a gun anyway and used it as a bludgeon?  He was an RAF pilot once and must have received at least some basic combat training, and he was physically capable, even at 61.  Wouldn't that very act of being in the washroom and holding a gun, with his blood on it, have blown Jeremy's plans apart?  It's not as if Nevill is going to grab a gun under assault from Sheila.

Why didn't Nevill just hide or fight Jeremy upstairs?  Why did he run downstairs at all, if the doors were locked?  Was it just instinct?  Why did he leave June and Sheila and the twins?  Why not, for instance, barricade himself in the twins' room?  Or just fight Jeremy?  I realise there's an age gap, but Nevill has spent his life as a sharp-end farmer, Jeremy hadn't.  Nevill must still have been at least as strong, if not stronger than, Jeremy.

I think if Jeremy is the killer, then Nevill was going for the phone in the kitchen.  This is because Jeremy's plans are shot to pieces if Nevill reaches the phone and speaks to somebody, even if just for a few seconds.  Even if Jeremy is chasing him with a gun, he has steep narrow stairs to contend with and it's awkward because he is holding a long rifle.  Nevill is ahead of him and would have had the advantage for a crucial minute or so. 

All Nevill has to do is establish an emergency line and speak to whoever answers and his first words would be: "Help!  My son has gone beserk!".  How long would that take?  How many sons did Nevill have?  Only one.  If we assume Jeremy has opened the line, it would take maybe 10 seconds to close the line, open it again, dial three digits 999, wait a maximum of three rings for an answer, and speak.

The call would be recorded and it's game over.

Yet there are no blood marks on the phone and only isolated blood prints on the edge of the worktop with, I believe, some blood on the floor beneath.  It's not fatal to the Crown's case, but it takes some explaining to believe that Nevill doesn't make it to that phone.

How do you know there were loaded weapons in the washroom? Thought Nevill always put them away.

Nevill won't try to phone anyone if Bamber is 3 seconds behind him. His aim would be to escape, save his own life & alert other nearby people.

Nevill would head for the front or kitchen door. The evidence shows he was in the kitchen when attacked downstairs.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 11:58:AM by Adam »
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Offline Adam

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Re: Why Nevill Could Not Have Made A 999 Call: A Logical Case
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2020, 12:11:PM »
Nevill may have gone straight to the kitchen to get some sort of weapon. The evidence shows he did not have time to get anything.

Nevill going downstairs to phone 999 & incriminate Bamber, does nothing to protect himself or anyone else from Bamber's massacre attempt. 
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Online QCChevalier

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Re: Why Nevill Could Not Have Made A 999 Call: A Logical Case
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2020, 12:13:PM »
How do you know there were loaded weapons in the washroom? Thought Nevill always put them away.

Nevill won't try to phone anyone if Bamber is 3 seconds behind him. His aim would be to escape, save his own life & alert other nearby people.

Nevill would head for the front or kitchen door. The evidence shows he was in the kitchen when attacked downstairs.

The front door was nearer.  Why isn't there blood on the inside handle of the front door?

If Nevill was heading for the kitchen door, why didn't he make it?  He had the advantage on Jeremy.  But let's assume he was heading for the door, you haven't addressed my questions about it being locked.

There were guns in the washroom/downstairs toilet and there were also guns found in the upstairs office and downstairs office. 

Offline Adam

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Re: Why Nevill Could Not Have Made A 999 Call: A Logical Case
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2020, 12:29:PM »
The front door was nearer.  Why isn't there blood on the inside handle of the front door?

If Nevill was heading for the kitchen door, why didn't he make it?  He had the advantage on Jeremy.  But let's assume he was heading for the door, you haven't addressed my questions about it being locked.

There were guns in the washroom/downstairs toilet and there were also guns found in the upstairs office and downstairs office.

Can you provide a source that there were loaded weapons in the wash room.

What advantage did Nevill have over Bamber in getting to the kitchen door. He was bare footed and had just been shot 4 times?

Nevill didn't make it to the kitchen door because Bamber caught up with him.

Why should there be blood on the front door? Bamber shot him in the face & torso. Not the hands.
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Online QCChevalier

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Re: Why Nevill Could Not Have Made A 999 Call: A Logical Case
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2020, 12:38:PM »
Can you provide a source that there were loaded weapons in the wash room.

What advantage did Nevill have over Bamber in getting to the kitchen door. He was bare footed and had just been shot 4 times?

Nevill didn't make it to the kitchen door because Bamber caught up with him.

Why should there be blood on the front door? Bamber shot him in the face & torso. Not the hands.

Wouldn't Nevill touch his wounds?

You still haven't explained about the locks and keys.  Were the Bambers in the habit of leaving the kitchen door unlocked?  Did Nevill go to bed with the kitchen door key round his neck, just in case?  Then did he remember and run for the kitchen with the key jangling round his neck?  Did he just grab the key as Jeremy was firing at him and June? 

Obviously I appreciate Nevill didn't make it to the kitchen door, but that's hardly the point.  You are telling us that is where he is going, not for the phone, so please explain how he would have exited the farmhouse had he made it to that door.  Did he have the key or not?  Was he found with the key?
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 12:39:PM by QCChevalier »

Offline Adam

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Re: Why Nevill Could Not Have Made A 999 Call: A Logical Case
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2020, 12:40:PM »
The other option is Nevill did make it to the front & kitchen doors. But both had been disabled by Bamber. As previously said.

Either way the evidence shows Nevill had no time to get a kitchen weapon.

The claim that Nevill would have tried calling 999 in the middle of a massacre attempt, is a new one.
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Online QCChevalier

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Re: Why Nevill Could Not Have Made A 999 Call: A Logical Case
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2020, 12:51:PM »
The other option is Nevill did make it to the front & kitchen doors. But both had been disabled by Bamber. As previously said.

I think it is likely there would be blood.  Of course, it is also possible there was and the police missed it or cleaned up without recording it.

Either way the evidence shows Nevill had no time to get a kitchen weapon.

What use would a knife be against an attacker with a rifle that still had bullets in it? 

The claim that Nevill would have tried calling 999 in the middle of a massacre attempt, is a new one.

Then why do people say he was running for the phone?  Who was he thinking of ringing, Pizza Hut?  It doesn't hang together unless he was running for the phone or for the exit or for a gun.  The fact is he wasn't carrying keys, he ran straight past the washroom where there were guns and he ignored the gun in the upstairs office, and he ran straight past the front door exit (assuming he even had keys).

If he was running to the kitchen to hide, why not hide upstairs?  Why not fight and struggle with Jeremy upstairs?

Again, why leave June and Sheila and the twins unless to alert the authorities?

The physical evidence is that Jeremy is carrying a long-barrelled rifle (you say with a silencer on it as well) and he has to negotiate steep and narrow stairs.  Nevill had the head-start and is fleeing for his life.  Nevill has the advantage on the stairs, probably I would say a 20 to 30 second advantage on Jeremy.  He could have easily reached the phone.

Now think about it - Jeremy reaches the kitchen and Nevill has already dialled.  Does Jeremy fire at him or does he grapple with the phone?

Does Jeremy then clean the phone to remove any trace of that part of the struggle?

Probably what is needed is a time-and-motion study of the incident.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 12:52:PM by QCChevalier »

Offline Adam

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Re: Why Nevill Could Not Have Made A 999 Call: A Logical Case
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2020, 12:52:PM »
Bamber disabling the front and kitchen doors, is simply taking the keys. Nevill or June would have locked both doors from the inside before going to bed.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 12:52:PM by Adam »
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Online QCChevalier

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Re: Why Nevill Could Not Have Made A 999 Call: A Logical Case
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2020, 12:53:PM »
Bamber disabling the front and kitchen doors, is simply taking the keys. Nevill or June would have locked both doors from the inside before going to bed.

Where were the keys?  Did the police comment on this?

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Re: Why Nevill Could Not Have Made A 999 Call: A Logical Case
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2020, 12:58:PM »
I think it is likely there would be blood.  Of course, it is also possible there was and the police missed it or cleaned up without recording it.

What use would a knife be against an attacker with a rifle that still had bullets in it? 

Then why do people say he was running for the phone?  Who was he thinking of ringing, Pizza Hut?  It doesn't hang together unless he was running for the phone or for the exit or for a gun.  The fact is he wasn't carrying keys, he ran straight past the washroom where there were guns and he ignored the gun in the upstairs office, and he ran straight past the front door exit (assuming he even had keys).

If he was running to the kitchen to hide, why not hide upstairs?  Why not fight and struggle with Jeremy upstairs?

Again, why leave June and Sheila and the twins unless to alert the authorities?

The physical evidence is that Jeremy is carrying a long-barrelled rifle (you say with a silencer on it as well) and he has to negotiate steep and narrow stairs.  Nevill had the head-start and is fleeing for his life.  Nevill has the advantage on the stairs, probably I would say a 20 to 30 second advantage on Jeremy.  He could have easily reached the phone.

Now think about it - Jeremy reaches the kitchen and Nevill has already dialled.  Does Jeremy fire at him or does he grapple with the phone?

Does Jeremy then clean the phone to remove any trace of that part of the struggle?

Probably what is needed is a time-and-motion study of the incident.

Only you say Nevill was running to a phone.

Agree unlikely Nevill was running to the kitchen to get a weapon. The evidence shows this.

Don't believe Nevill was running to the kitchen to hide. Bamber would be a few feet behind him.

Nevill went to the kitchen to get outside. Bamber either caught up with him before he got to the kitchen door. Or it had been disabled.
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