Author Topic: The Baffling Mystery Of The Blood In The Silencer  (Read 1295 times)

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Online QCChevalier

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The Baffling Mystery Of The Blood In The Silencer
« on: July 22, 2020, 01:17:PM »
The baffled blood is baffling me.  It’s not just any blood, it’s blood that defies gravity.

For the purposes of this piece, I am not going to question the science of backspatter and will assume that there was blowback of blood into the murder weapon.  We will here confine ourselves to a discussion about 'blood behaviour'.

If Jeremy is guilty, then there are four mysteries.

The lack of blood:

(i). at the muzzle end of the silencer;

(ii). in the rifle;

(iii). in the gun cupboard; and,

(iv). in the box from which the silencer was recovered.

The absence of blood in these locations suggests that this particular ballistic artefact is isolated from the rest of the evidence – it’s almost as if the silencer doesn’t belong or the blood in it was put there.

Only the silencer itself revealed blood evidence, nothing around where it was found had blood.  Our concern is with blood on the inside of the silencer, but for completeness I will mention that we also have blood on the outside of it, alas too little to test and group.

John Hayward and Glynis Howard were able to test a sample of this blood recovered from inside the silencer (this is usually referred to as a 'flake', but in reality all such blood would have dried by that stage).  It is not clear why the rest of the blood inside the silencer was not also subject to testing.  It is also claimed that there is no more of this blood left to test, which seems paradoxical.  In any event, there may be potential for further blood retrieval.  It’s not clear if the silencer housing itself was checked for blood on the inside.  This could have been done using a 12-gauge brush, but I haven't seen a record of this test carried out by Hayward or Howard.

Hayward and Howard were forensic scientists at the FSS.  Hayward described himself in cross-examination as “a specialist in the distribution of blood stains” and that is the subject we turn to now.

If the silencer was used, then Jeremy is guilty - for now, we will assume that.

Furthermore, if the silencer was used, then Jeremy must have realised that the silenced rifle did not fit Sheila, so he then unscrewed the silencer from the rifle. 

Jeremy may have done this after the first shot or following the second shot.

As I understand, it is the Crown’s case that there was only a brief period between the first and second shots.

This blood that got into the silencer as a result was not from a contiguous source, it was isolated on the silencer.

To quote the 2002 appeal judges, Hayward reported that blood found was “inside the moderator deposited in the spaces to the sides of the baffles around the edge of the silencer” (see paragraph 453 of the 2002 appeal judgment).  In other words, the blood was deposited in the gaps between the baffles and the inner body of the silencer.  This sounds counter-intuitive.  How can there be such a gap?  Baffles are rodded into the silencer through the open end with the corresponding open end of each baffle in the forward position and the baffle contact facing towards the muzzle end, meaning that one baffle acts as a seal against the baffle behind it.  This is a snug fit, however there needs to be a very slight gap between the baffles and the steel housing to allow for the silencers to be rodded in the first place.  What keeps the baffles in place is the smaller aperture at the threaded muzzle end.

The appeal judges also tell us that Hayward reports “a considerable amount of blood” (ibid).  If it was a considerable amount of blood, this suggests that the silencer was unscrewed after the second shot, but we don't know that for sure.

Hayward’s evidence is crucial but also, I think, quite flawed and he comes across as unsure during his examination-in-chief (and it's noteworthy that Arlidge had to examine him twice and Rivlin's cross-examinations were quite short).  Hayward did not identify where in the silencer the blood had been found, other than vaguely stating that he found blood up to maybe the 8th. baffle (he couldn’t remember exactly).  He also did not state that the blood had been found inside the baffles, or that it touched each baffle; in fact he tells us the blood was on the outside the baffles (in the gap I mention above), which for reasons I will explain, is quite interesting in its own right. 

Let's consider the Crown's case theory in relation to the blood evidence from the silencer.

The Evil One unscrews the silencer.  Now, where does he put it?  If he still has to shoot Sheila again, then he would leave the silencer somewhere in the immediacy of that location, which means the silencer would get more blood on its outside. 

Or does he go straight to the gun cupboard with it?

Regardless of what he does and when, another question is how does he avoid leaving blood traces from the silencer and from any blood on himself in the gun cupboard itself and its vicinity, or even in the cardboard box from which the silencer was recovered?  The law of gravity applies.  The Harper-Noakes COLP memo reports some blood found in the gun cupboard, but that was years after the trial.

So there's our first puzzle.

For a similar reason, there is also the puzzle of why no blood has been found in the barrel.  Pro-guilt fanatics make the simple assumption that if Jeremy used the silencer during the shootings, then there would be no blood or other biological matter in the barrel of the rifle.  Indeed, they go further and assert that the absence of such, supposedly proven during forensic testing, bolsters the case that the silencer was utilised.  But is this a valid assumption? 

The assumption intuitively seems foolish for at least two obvious fundamental reasons that challenge the very premise: first, the pull-through test to establish that the rifle was 'clean' doesn't seem very scientific or reliable and it is worrying to have to note the absence of a control test in Fletcher's rifle examination; second, the rifle was in regular use for shooting vermin, and cleaning (even if the rifle was cleaned) wouldn't necessarily dislodge matter, therefore the absence of blood and biological matter within the barrel seems strange in itself, never mind whether the silencer was used.  There again, rabbits and rats are quick and maybe Jeremy and Nevill never got up close to a rabbit or rat to effect blowback from a shot?

But there is another basis on which to proceed.

If we assume that Sheila was shot roughly in the position she was found, then Jeremy could not unscrew and detach the silencer in situ because her head would obstruct this.

Therefore, Jeremy must have lifted the rifle up at some angle, both to re-shoot and to unscrew the silencer itself.  During unscrewing, possibly he held the silencer at a vertical angle (holding it at 180-degrees), then duly unscrewed the silencer.

The act of unscrewing might also cause droplets of blood to go into the rifle barrel.  Even if the blood had dried at this stage, it would retain viscosity if disturbed or broken.

Newton’s law of universal gravitation applies and we rely on Hayward’s report on blood between the baffles and the steel housing of the silencer.

Therefore, why isn’t there blood in the barrel?

Related to the above problems is the question of why isn’t there blood, or traces of blood, further down the silencer itself, reaching to the threaded muzzle end that would connect with the rifle?

One possible answer to all these points is that the blood had dried, but quick drying relies on blood not agglomerating in pools.  Otherwise minimum drying time for blood at room temperature is around 60 minutes, which means the blood would run or drip for quite some time (known in forensic science as ‘passive dripping’). 

Here, there is an accumulation of blood – recall Hayward’s evidence – therefore the blood would take some time to dry and there should be at least some blood towards the muzzle end of the silencer and in the gun barrel, if the silencer was used.

Another possibility is that the silencer wasn’t used, in which case there may or may not be blood in the barrel on account of blow-back (a different question, beyond the scope of this piece); and, further contamination in the reverse direction, from rifle to silencer, would perhaps explain the blood findings in the silencer itself, if during disassembly, examination and testing of the rifle the silencer was attached to it.

But if the silencer wasn’t used, how did so much blood get in there in the first place?  Samples were taken from victims and produced a PGM isozyme, whereas the silencer samples did not.  Rabbit blood can also have a PGM isozyme.  There was also the grey hair, which seems likely to have been a rabbit hair.  But if it’s animal blood, why didn’t Jeremy affirm in his statements to police that he had shot an injured rabbit or make some similar claim?  What was done with rabbits and rats that were shot? Wouldn't Nevill inform Jeremy if he had done the same?  Or maybe Jeremy has just forgotten?  That is just about plausible, when we bear in mind that an innocent Jeremy wouldn't have known that a tragedy was coming.  Yet still questions remain: Why did the silencer have blood on or in it at all?  Didn't Jeremy claim that Nevill must have taken the silencer and scope off the rifle?  If this was to clean these accessories, then why wasn't the silencer clean when recovered?

There is a third more disturbing possibility, which is that somebody put the blood there.  This may explain why the blood dried in stasis.  Isolated spots of blood would dry quickly and therefore would not form a passive dripping pattern under gravity.  Given that the blood was located in the gap between the baffles and the inner steel housing, one can imagine somebody contaminating the outside of the baffles using the simple rodding technique to remove the baffles, then add the blood, then rod the baffles back.  It's a very simple and easy thing to do, especially for somebody familiar with guns.  One can also imagine that if blood was put there, the person doing this would wait for the blood to dry, in order to avoid a mess.

Moreover, we must consider the location in which the blood was found.  If somebody was going to contaminate the silencer, any blood found would most likely be on the outside of the baffles rather than the inside and would involve dripping the blood on to the outside of the baffles while they are held or positioned horizontally.  To contaminate the baffles from the inside would be rather more difficult, due to the simple effect of gravity.  It would require somebody to either hold the baffles individually and somehow make blood droplets 'stick' or maybe hold all the baffles in the positioning rod and then drop blood down either side of the rod on to the inner surfaces of the baffles, which again meets with the problem of gravity.

We know that the senior scenes of crime officer, D.I. Cook, disassembled the silencer for examination under conditions that may have brought about contamination.  A behavioural indication that could point to intentional contamination is that the blood was found at the open end of the silencer.  Somebody who intentionally contaminates this artefact might well proceed in a naive way and concentrate on the baffles positioned on the nub side of the rod that go in on the 'open' side, perhaps not realising that he would have to account for passive dripping.

Then we have David Boutflour.  He admits tampering with the silencer.  He admits he removed a blood flake on the outside and he unconvincingly claims that he tried to unscrew the silencer itself.  Why couldn’t he unscrew it?  Can we believe the muzzle-end cap was factory-tight?

Mr Boutflour also states that he found the silencer in a box inside the gun cupboard (see page 1 of Mr Boutflour's first (undated) statement to the police).  As I understand it, he pulled the box out of the gun cupboard before lifting the silencer out of the box.  Why was there no blood noticed in the box?  I go back to my original observation at the outset of this piece: the silencer seems to be an isolated piece of evidence that isn't quite congruent with the other forensic evidence available, unless one takes a leap of faith and accepts that the blood is human blood, the blood is Sheila's, and no blood was left in the location where the silencer was found, in contravention of ordinary physics and common-sense.

Should we condemn a man to prison on a leap of faith?  I believe that determinations of guilt should be on the basis of science, logic, evidence and facts, not assumptions, passions and prejudices.

Here I am not making allegations.  The above merely represents my thoughts about certain mysteries of this topic.  I welcome constructive criticism and debate.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2020, 03:22:PM by QCChevalier »

Offline David1819

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Re: The Baffling Mystery Of The Blood In The Silencer
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2020, 03:50:PM »
Jeremy's relatives (or a relative) contaminated the silencer with blood. Before handing it to the police.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2020, 03:52:PM by David1819 »

Online QCChevalier

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Re: The Baffling Mystery Of The Blood In The Silencer
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2020, 04:16:PM »
Jeremy's relatives (or a relative) contaminated the silencer with blood. Before handing it to the police.

Maybe.  As Shakespeare said: The proof's the thing. 

There is already hard evidence for it, but it does not quite reach what I consider the necessary tier of proof, given the seriousness of what is alleged and its implications.

Let's consider it further from a psychological point-of-view, because we must 'know the beast'.

“No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity. But I know none, and therefore am no beast.”

- Shakespeare, Richard III

Let's say we have a group of individuals who are 'gun types' - they are certificated to own guns, they go shooting, they know a lot about guns, they can hold their own in conversations about guns.

That type of person is knowledgeable about guns, but not necessarily knowledgeable about the finer aspects of ballistics.

People like that who, due to some vital interest being at stake, decide to contaminate a key ballistic artefact, would proceed in the enterprise with a quite a degree of naivety.

Ironically, a naive contaminator would proceed more logically than somebody who is knowledgeable about forensic ballistics.  This is because somebody with knowledge will be more aware of the illogical ins and outs, such as the effect of gravity and surface tensions and what not.

The naive group might opt to contaminate the housing side of the rodded baffles with static droplets left at the open end of the silencer only, thinking that this looks incriminating and not realising a factor such as passive dripping and the effect of manual handling of the artefact.

Similar could apply to an English police officer, specialising in scene of crimes work, who may not have dealt with a lot of gun crime on a regular basis and whose ballistic knowledge may be reasonable but rather basic.

All that being said, I am not making any allegations, and one thing that could undermine what I say in my long piece above is if it can be shown that the blowback type of backspatter is not normally significantly susceptible to passive dripping.  Maybe the blood does 'stick' somewhat under ballistic tension?
« Last Edit: July 22, 2020, 04:27:PM by QCChevalier »

Offline David1819

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Re: The Baffling Mystery Of The Blood In The Silencer
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2020, 04:44:PM »
Maybe.  As Shakespeare said: The proof's the thing. 

There is already hard evidence for it, but it does not quite reach what I consider the necessary tier of proof, given the seriousness of what is alleged and its implications.

Let's consider it further from a psychological point-of-view, because we must 'know the beast'.

“No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity. But I know none, and therefore am no beast.”

- Shakespeare, Richard III

Let's say we have a group of individuals who are 'gun types' - they are certificated to own guns, they go shooting, they know a lot about guns, they can hold their own in conversations about guns.

That type of person is knowledgeable about guns, but not necessarily knowledgeable about the finer aspects of ballistics.

People like that who, due to some vital interest being at stake, decide to contaminate a key ballistic artefact, would proceed in the enterprise with a quite a degree of naivety.

Ironically, a naive contaminator would proceed more logically than somebody who is knowledgeable about forensic ballistics.  This is because somebody with knowledge will be more aware of the illogical ins and outs, such as the effect of gravity and surface tensions and what not.

The naive group might opt to contaminate the housing side of the rodded baffles with static droplets left at the open end of the silencer only, thinking that this looks incriminating and not realising a factor such as passive dripping and the effect of manual handling of the artefact.

Similar could apply to an English police officer, specialising in scene of crimes work, who may not have dealt with a lot of gun crime on a regular basis and whose ballistic knowledge may be reasonable but rather basic.

All that being said, I am not making any allegations, and one thing that could undermine what I say in my long piece above is if it can be shown that the blowback type of backspatter is not normally significantly susceptible to passive dripping.  Maybe the blood does 'stick' somewhat under ballistic tension?

Shakespeare? lol

Online QCChevalier

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Re: The Baffling Mystery Of The Blood In The Silencer
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2020, 05:50:PM »
Shakespeare? lol

What is your proof?

Offline Roch

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Re: The Baffling Mystery Of The Blood In The Silencer
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2020, 06:56:PM »
What is your proof?

Not proof as such, however there is a diagram on the forum that indicates a blood group was found in the sound moderator that matches the blood group of Pamela and David Boutflour.

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Re: The Baffling Mystery Of The Blood In The Silencer
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2020, 06:58:PM »
Not proof as such, however there is a diagram on the forum that indicates a blood group was found in the sound moderator that matches the blood group of Pamela and David Boutflour.

David is stating it as fact.

Offline Adam

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Re: The Baffling Mystery Of The Blood In The Silencer
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2020, 07:14:PM »
Obviously Bamber started the massacre with the silencer attached. Which makes sense.

The aga scratches and paint in the silencer occurred mid massacre.

Bamber shot Sheila twice with the silencer on. Either shot capable of providing the back splatter.

He took the silencer off and put it away.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2020, 07:16:PM by Adam »
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Online QCChevalier

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Re: The Baffling Mystery Of The Blood In The Silencer
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2020, 07:26:PM »
Obviously Bamber started the massacre with the silencer attached. Which makes sense.

The aga scratches and paint in the silencer occurred mid massacre. Bamber shot Sheila twice with the silencer on.

Either shot capable of providing the back splatter.

He took the silencer off and put it away.

Given that he took the silencer off, then conveyed it to the gun cupboard and put it in a box there, can you explain the following:

1. Why did the blood only reach the 8th. baffle of the silencer (from the open end)?

2. Why didn't the blood reach the rifle barrel?

3. Why was there no blood on the carpet of Nevill's den, close to where the gun cupboard is located?

4. Why was there no blood in the gun cupboard?

5. Why was there no blood in the cardboard box that David Boutflour says he found the silencer in?

Also, apropos of this, I would appreciate your views on the following:

6. Do you believe the pull-through test carried out by Malcolm Fletcher was scientifically valid? 

7. Can you think of any way that his test could have been improved from a scientific point-of-view?  If so, could you outline what you would propose.

8. Do you think it was acceptable for Mr Hayward, a Chartered Biologist and forensic scientist, who claims specialist expertise in the distribution of blood stains, to admit in his examination-in-chief at the 1986 trial that he could not recall precisely how far into the silencer the blood had reached other than that it was no further than the 8th. baffle?

9. Do you think the examination methodology of Mr Hayward was acceptable?  For instance, are you concerned that Mr Hayward appears not to have examined the inner steel housing of the silencer for blood?

10. Do you accept that the examination technique used by Glynis Howard may have risked inadvertently contaminating the baffles?

11. Do you think it was acceptable that D.I. Cook should examine and disassemble the silencer given its forensic sensitivity?

12. Are you satisfied with David Boutflour's explanation for why he tampered with the silencer?  If so, can you explain why?

13. Can you explain why David Boutflour was unable to unscrew the muzzle cap of the silencer?

14. Can you explain why in an interview for the TV documentary 'Killing Mum and Dad', David Boutflour claims that the silencer was 'sticky' to the touch when found, yet he does not mention this important fact in any of his statements to the police?

15. Do you consider the silencer to be legally-safe evidence given that (among other things):

(i). it was found by individuals who had a vital financial interest in Jeremy Bamber's conviction and imprisonment, and the find was made without any independent witness present;

(ii). assuming he used the silencer in the killings, the accused had no rational reason to leave the silencer at that location, or if he did, he had no rational reason to allow the police to hand the house keys and access to the silencer over to the individuals referred to in (i) above;

(iii). it was found in a location already searched by no less than five police officers and in a room that the police had used as an office at the crime scene, which the accused was happy for the police to use;

(iv). there was no blood evidence situating the silencer at the location it was found (no blood trail to and from the kitchen and the den, no blood in the gun cupboard, no blood in the cardboard box);

(v). its chain of custody was forensically compromised and a grey hair attached to it went missing;

(vi). it was examined by a police officer in non-sanitised conditions;

(vii). an experienced forensic ballistics expert was unable to confirm that the bullets fired during the incident came from a silenced rifle.

(viii). the blood expert was unable to confirm conclusively that it was Sheila's blood or even that it was human blood at all; and,

(ix). post-trial DNA tests were dismissed as "meaningless" by the 2002 appeal court.

« Last Edit: July 22, 2020, 07:45:PM by QCChevalier »

Offline Adam

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Re: The Baffling Mystery Of The Blood In The Silencer
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2020, 07:45:PM »
Why would there be blood in the office den and gun cupboard?
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Online QCChevalier

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Re: The Baffling Mystery Of The Blood In The Silencer
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2020, 07:48:PM »
Why would there be blood in the office den and gun cupboard?

Jeremy is walking through a blood bath.  According to you, he has been struggling with Nevill.  According to you, there is backspatter, which won't just blowback into the silencer, but may well have found its way on to Jeremy as well.  There is blood on his clothes, on his hands, on his shoes/boots.

Then there is the blood in the silencer.  Why doesn't that drip out the other end?  Why does David Boutflour not also tell the police there is blood in the cardboard box?

My questions are above.

Offline Adam

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Re: The Baffling Mystery Of The Blood In The Silencer
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2020, 07:49:PM »
62. Mr Fletcher also gave evidence of the range at which the shots had been fired. The lower (and not immediately fatal) of the injuries suffered by Sheila Caffell was caused when the muzzle of the gun was within three inches of the throat. The upper injury was a contact shot.


77. Mr Hayward added in evidence that he would be very surprised to find blood from a person, who had not been shot with a contact or very close contact shot, inside the muzzle of the moderator. He concluded that since (a) the blood inside the moderator belonged to the same group as Sheila Caffell and (b) there was no blood within the barrel of the rifle of the gun, that she had been shot whilst the moderator was fitted to the rifle.


457. Mr Fletcher, the firearms expert, gave evidence to explain how blood got into the moderator if it was attached, or into the barrel if there was no moderator attached. He said that the mechanism was complicated and not then fully appreciated. However, the expanding gas when the bullet left the muzzle was under normal circumstances distributed into the atmosphere. However with a contact shot there was no opportunity for this escape and the gas would follow the bullet into the wound as it expanded.

458. If the shot to Shelia Caffell, which was a contact shot to the throat, had been fired without the moderator in place, he would have expected to find blood in the barrel of the gun. If the moderator was attached it was "virtually certain" that Sheila Caffell's blood would get into the moderator. There was, he said "a very slight possibility of it not happening, but very slight".



« Last Edit: July 22, 2020, 07:54:PM by Adam »
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Re: The Baffling Mystery Of The Blood In The Silencer
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2020, 07:54:PM »
Doesn't answer my points, sorry.  I've read that judgment already.  In fact, I quote from it.

Offline Adam

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Re: The Baffling Mystery Of The Blood In The Silencer
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2020, 08:02:PM »
Jeremy is walking through a blood bath.  According to you, he has been struggling with Nevill.  According to you, there is backspatter, which won't just blowback into the silencer, but may well have found its way on to Jeremy as well.  There is blood on his clothes, on his hands, on his shoes/boots.

Then there is the blood in the silencer.  Why doesn't that drip out the other end?  Why does David Boutflour not also tell the police there is blood in the cardboard box?

My questions are above.

When did I say bloodbath? How would Bamber get blood on his clothes & hands. He was at the end of a long rifle.

The back splatter would not reach Bamber. It was specs of blood inside a silencer.
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Re: The Baffling Mystery Of The Blood In The Silencer
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2020, 08:07:PM »
The silencer was never used in the killings which is where someone slipped up by contaminating it, naturally assuming that a silencer would be used.