JEREMY BAMBER CASE > Jeremy Bamber Case Discussion

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Neutral Citation Number: [2002] EWCA Crim 2912 Case No: 20011745 S1


Royal Courts of Justice Strand, London, WC2A 2LL 12th December 2002

B e f o r e :

LORD JUSTICE KAY MR JUSTICE WRIGHT and MR JUSTICE HENRIQUES ____________________ Between: R Respondent - and -



Mr M. Turner QC and Mr M Duck instructed for the Appellant Mr Victor Temple QC, Mr J Laidlaw and Ms A. Darlow instructed for the Respondent Hearing dates : 17th October 2002 to 1st November 2002 ____________________


Crown Copyright ©

Lord Justice Kay : 1. On 28 October 1986 Jeremy Nevill Bamber was convicted of 5 counts of murder by a majority of 10-2 following a 19 day trial in the Crown Court at Chelmsford before Drake J and a jury. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he serve a minimum of 25 years.

2. Following his trial he sought leave to appeal against conviction. His application was refused on the papers by the single judge but was renewed to the full court. On 20 March 1989 the full court presided over by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Lane, heard his renewed application for leave. The court dismissed his application.

3. The case comes back before this court following a reference by the Criminal Case Review Commission ("the CCRC") under Section 9 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. As we shall explain the reference came about solely because of fresh scientific evidence. However, once the reference has been made, under the legislation as it presently stands, it is open to those advising the appellant to take any point that they wish. That is so whether the other point is related to the initial reference point or not and there is no requirement to obtain the leave of the court to pursue a particular ground as there would be on any other form of appeal against conviction. Those representing the appellant have availed themselves of this opportunity and 16 grounds of appeal have been raised before the Court, although 1 has not been pursued at the hearing.

4. The case, since it involved the killing of five members of the same family allegedly by a sixth member of the family, not unnaturally attracted considerable media attention. As a result the basic facts may well be recalled by many who will read this judgment or hear of it. It is nonetheless important that we start by setting out in some detail the facts established by the evidence and the cases for both the prosecution and the defence.

5. The killings occurred in the early hours of 7 August 1985. All five of those who died met their deaths from gunshot wounds. They were the appellant's parents, Ralph Nevill Bamber and June Bamber, his sister, Sheila Caffell, and his sister's 6 year old twin sons, Nicholas and Daniel Caffell. There was no dispute at trial that four of the five had been murdered. In respect of the fifth, Sheila Caffell, there was an issue, which lay at the very heart of the case, as to whether she had been murdered as the prosecution alleged or whether she had taken her own life as the defence contended.

6. Unusually in a case of this kind, it was accepted at trial that there were only two possible explanations for the dreadful events of that night. The first, as alleged by the prosecution was that the appellant had killed all five members of his family, shooting them with a .22 rifle with the probable motive of inheriting the whole of the family estate. The second, the defence case, was that Sheila Caffell, who had a history of mental illness, had murdered her parents and her two sons with the rifle, and had then turned the gun upon herself in an act of suicide. The view realistically accepted by all at trial was that the facts that were common ground enabled any other possibility to be ruled out.

7. The police were first alerted that something out of the ordinary had occurred when they received a telephone call from the appellant. The call was logged at 3.36 a.m. but there was evidence that made clear that it must have been at least 10 minutes earlier. The caller was the appellant and having given his name and address he said:

"You've got to help me. My father has rang me and said "Please come over. Your sister has gone crazy and has got the gun." Then the line went dead."

He went on to say that his sister had a history of psychiatric illness and he confirmed that there were guns at his father's house, which was White House Farm, Tolleshunt D'Arcy in Essex. The telephonist contacted the Police Information Room and a police car was despatched to the father's address. The appellant was asked to meet the police there. 8. When the police attended at the farm, they were joined by the appellant. There was no sound from the farm save for the barking of a dog and fearing that they might be in a hostage situation the police decided to wait until daylight. At about 7.45 a.m., armed officers entered the farm and found all 5 occupants dead from gunshot wounds. Mr. Bamber lay dead in the kitchen, his wife was dead on the floor in her bedroom, the boys were dead in their bed and Sheila Caffell was lying on the floor of the same room as her mother. Across her chest and pointing up at her neck, through which the wounds that had killed her had been fired, was the rifle used to shoot all five members of the family. Beside her body lay a Bible. The scene certainly gave the appearance that Sheila Caffell had shot herself, and the likelihood that this was the case was reinforced by information given to the police by the appellant.

9. A police inquiry into the matter was at once initiated and it is clear that the senior police officers involved, and to some extent the pathologist who attended, readily accepted at that stage that they were dealing with five deaths for which Sheila Caffell was responsible. However there seem to have been some junior officers, who from an early stage believed that everything did not add up. This view was soon echoed by a number of members of the wider family. It was not though until early September that the real possibility that someone else might have killed all five was properly addressed and there was a change in the senior investigating officer. The appellant's ex-girlfriend then came forward and gave information to the police. This caused the focus of attention to move to the appellant and another said to be connected to him. Further inquiries were made and as a result the appellant was charged with the five murders.

10. The rather unusual history of the investigation as recounted is important to appreciate and bear in mind because the attitude and behaviour of the police needs to be interpreted and understood against that background.

11. With that introduction, it is next necessary to review in some detail the respective cases at trial. We have been greatly aided by helpful summaries prepared by counsel upon which we shall draw gratefully. It is convenient first to set out the background to the killings.

Background to the killings 12. Ralph Nevill Bamber, (who was known as Nevill Bamber and we shall refer to him in that way) was 61 at the time of his death. He was a farmer and a local Magistrate and lived with his wife June at White House Farm. He was a well-built man, 6' 4" tall and in good physical health. Those who knew him spoke of him as a good and fair man. He kept a number of guns including shotguns and the rifle, which was to feature in the killings, at the farm. He shot on his own farm as well as attending shoots locally. A number of witnesses called at the trial spoke of the care with which Nevill Bamber treated the weapons kept at the farmhouse. He would clean the guns following use and would not allow them to be left lying around.

13. The rifle was a .22 Anshutz automatic rifle. Together with a Parker Hale sound moderator (silencer) and telescopic sights, it had been bought by Nevill Bamber on 30 November 1984. 500 rounds of ammunition had also been purchased. There was evidence that the gun was used to shoot rabbits and would only ever be used with the sound moderator and the telescopic sights attached. A screwdriver was required to remove the telescopic sights but there was evidence that this was not normally done because of the time it took to realign them

14. June Bamber was also 61 years old. Religion had always played a strong part in her life. In her latter years her interest in this regard had to an extent come to dominate her thinking, to a point that might have been thought to be obsessive. In 1982, she received treatment at a psychiatric hospital in Northampton.

15. Nevill and June Bamber married in 1949 and shortly afterwards took a tenancy of White House Farm. They were unable to have children of their own and adopted two children, Sheila and Jeremy, the appellant.

16. Sheila Caffell was born in 1957 and was 28 at the time of her death. She was educated privately, before attending secretarial college in London and then working as a model. When in London she met Colin Caffell and they married in May 1977. On 22 June 1979 their twin sons were born. Daniel and Nicholas Caffell were six when they were killed.

17. Shortly after the marriage Sheila's mental health began to fail and the couple divorced in May 1982. During 1983 Sheila was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and subsequently was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. In March 1985 she was re-admitted to hospital before being discharged a little under four weeks later. For the months before their death, the children had been living with their father, although seeing their mother frequently. On 4 August 1985 (three days before the killings) Colin Caffell had taken his ex-wife and children to spend a few days with their grandparents at the farm in Essex.

18. The appellant, Jeremy Bamber, was born on 13 January 1961 and is now 41 years old. He too was educated privately before he attended college in Colchester and then spent time in Australia and New Zealand. For the year or so before the killings the appellant had worked with his father at the farm. He lived at 9 Head Street in Goldhanger, a house, which had been bought by his parents. The village of Goldhanger is some 3 to 3½ miles from White House Farm. By car it would take some five minutes to travel between the two. On a bicycle it would take about fifteen minutes by the shortest route.

19. In 1983 the appellant met Julie Mugford a student at Goldsmith College in London and they began a relationship which lasted until shortly before his arrest in September 1985.

20. The Bamber family had interests in other farming properties in the area and also in the Osea Road Caravan site which was owned jointly by June Bamber, her sister Pamela Boutflour, Ann Eaton (June's niece) and the appellant. The value of the joint estate which the appellant stood to inherit after the killings was some £435,000.

mike tesko:
Relevant events before 7 August 1985 21. Anthony Pargeter, Nevill Bamber's nephew and a competition standard shot, stayed at White House Farm between 26-28 July 1985. He saw the .22 rifle in the gun cupboard in the ground floor office. The telescopic sights and sound moderator were attached and the gun appeared in a "new" condition. There were no scratches or marks upon it. Later the appellant, himself a good shot, took the rifle out for some target practice.

22. The Bamber's housekeeper/cleaner saw Sheila Caffell several times during the course of Monday, 5 August. She saw nothing unusual in Sheila's behaviour. The next day, Sheila was seen with her children on several occasions by Julie and Leonard Foakes, who were working on the farm. She appeared happy and all was apparently well.

23. Barbara Wilson, the farm secretary telephoned the farmhouse at 9.30 p.m. and spoke to Nevill Bamber. He was not cheerful and Mrs Wilson thought she had interrupted an argument. In evidence she described Nevill as abrupt, very impatient and very short. Pamela Boutflour, June Bamber's sister also telephoned the house that evening at about 10 p.m. She spoke first with Sheila Caffell who was quiet and then to her sister. Mrs Boutflour noted nothing unusual in her sister's mood or in their conversation.

The appellant's telephone call to the police 24. In the early hours of Wednesday, 7 August the appellant telephoned Chelmsford Police Station on a direct line number as opposed to the 999 emergency call system and spoke to PC West. He 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". He explained that he had tried to ring his father back at White House Farm but he could not get a reply.

25. Using a radio link PC West contacted Malcolm Bonnet at the Chelmsford H/Q Information Room. PC West then spoke to the appellant again, who complained at the time the officer was taking. He said, "When my father rang he sounded terrified". The appellant was told to go to the farm and to wait there for the police. PC West described the appellant as sounding "very laconic" and calm during the first part of their conversation and said that there was no sense of urgency. When he spoke to him again the appellant appeared "more urgent and distressed in his manner".

26. PC West recorded the time of the appellant's call as 3.36 a.m. At trial it was accepted that the officer had misread a digital clock. The officer's contact with Mr Bonnett was recorded as being at 3.26 a.m. and it seems clear that the appellant's call must have been at 3.26 a.m. or very shortly before.

27. At 3.35 a.m., Mr Bonnet arranged for a police car to go to White House Farm. A check made by a British Telecom operator of the telephone line to the farm was made at 4.30 a.m. The receiver was off the hook and all the operator could hear was the sound of a dog barking.

The arrival of the police at White House Farm 28. PS Bews, PC Myall and PC Saxby drove from Witham Police Station passing the appellant in his car on their way to the farm. He was travelling at a speed very much slower than their vehicle. Ann Eaton's evidence was that the appellant was normally "a very, very fast driver". The appellant's car arrived at the farmhouse 1-2 minutes after the police vehicle.

29. The appellant told the officers about the telephone call from his father, adding that it sounded as though someone had cut him off. When asked if it was possible that his sister was inside with a gun he said yes. He told the police that he did not get on with her. He was asked if it was likely that his sister had gone berserk with a gun and he replied, "I don't really know. She is a nutter. She's been having treatment." When asked why his father had called him and not the police, he said that his father was not the sort of person to get "organisations" involved, preferring to keep things within the family. When asked why he had not dialled 999, the appellant said he did not think it would make any difference to the time it would have taken for the police to arrive.

30. Having walked to the house from the lane there was further conversation. The appellant told the police that Sheila Caffell could use a gun. He said they had gone target shooting together and she had used all the guns in the house before. In the light of what they were told the uniformed officers requested armed assistance before any attempt to search the house was made. The appellant dictated a list of the firearms kept at the house. He told the police that he had loaded the .22 automatic rifle the previous night because he thought he had heard rabbits outside. He said he had left the gun on the kitchen table with a full magazine and a box of ammunition nearby. Those who saw the appellant at the scene at that time described him as remarkably calm. At some stage during their conversations that morning PC Myall and the appellant spoke about motor cars. The appellant said that the Osea Road Caravan Site company, "would be able to stand him a Porsche" car at some point during the year.

31. Armed officers from the Essex Police Tactical Firearms Unit arrived at the farm at about 5 a.m. There was further conversation with the appellant. At about 5.30 a.m. he said to PS Adams, "What if anything has happened in there, they are all the family I've got". He became visibly upset and asked to telephone his girlfriend, Julie Mugford, who was later driven to Essex from London.

32. Reconnaissance of the farmhouse revealed all the doors to be shut, as were the windows save for one in the main bedroom on the first floor. At about 7.30 a.m., the decision was made to enter the farmhouse and not long afterwards officers moved into place. Through the kitchen window, an officer observed the body of what appeared to be a woman but was in fact Mr. Bamber. Entry was then forced through the rear door which had been locked from the inside.

The discovery of the bodies and the scene within the house 33. In the kitchen the police found Nevill Bamber's body slumped forward over an overturned chair next to the hearth, so that his head was just above a coal scuttle. The police evidence was that there were other chairs and stools upturned and broken crockery, sugar and what appeared to be spots of blood on the floor. A ceiling light lampshade had also been broken. It will be necessary to address further these matter later but on the evidence available at trial, it appeared as though a violent struggle had taken place. On one of the surfaces there was a telephone with the receiver off the cradle. A quantity of .22 shells was beside it.

34. Subsequent searches of this room revealed Nevill Bamber's blood stained wristwatch under a rug and a piece of broken butt from the rifle on the floor.

35. Upstairs the bodies of June Bamber and Sheila Caffell were found on the floor of the main bedroom. That of Mrs Bamber was very heavily bloodstained and lay by the doorway. Sheila Caffell's body was by her parents bed. The .22 rifle (with the sound moderator and telescopic sights removed) was on her body with her right hand resting lightly upon it and with the muzzle of the weapon just below wounds to her neck. Immediately to her right, resting on the upper right arm and the floor, was a Bible that belonged to June Bamber.

36. The bodies of Daniel and Nicholas Caffell were found in their beds in another bedroom.

37. Firearms officers inspected the gun cupboard in the ground floor office to make sure that the other weapons were safe. Unaware of the possibility that anything in that cupboard might have played a part in the killings, neither they nor any other police officer sought to examine the cupboard or search for any sound moderator or sights for the .22 rifle.

38. At 8.10 a.m., Dr Craig attended the scene to formally certify the deaths. In cross-examination at the trial he said the deaths could have occurred at any time during the previous night. The appearance of Sheila Caffell's body suggested to him that the wounds had been inflicted by her own hand. In answer to the judge the witness made it clear this was not an opinion the jury should rely upon as a true indication that the injuries had been self-inflicted.

39. Dr Craig also saw the appellant outside the farmhouse. He said he appeared to be in a state of shock. At one stage he broke down and cried and he also appeared to vomit. The appellant told the doctor there had been "some considerable discussion" amongst the family about the future of Sheila Caffell's children the previous evening, during which the question of their being fostered had been raised. He said that the family was concerned that his sister had been abusing the children.

Post-mortem examinations 40. The bodies were taken to the Chelmsford and Essex Mortuary where post- mortem examinations were conducted. The bodies of Nevill Bamber and Sheila Caffell were examined on 7 August, and those of June Bamber and the twin boys the following day.

mike tesko:
41. Nevill Bamber, who was wearing his pyjamas had been shot eight times. There were two wounds to the right side and two to the top of the head. If not immediately fatal, the combined effect of these four injuries would have been immediate unconsciousness and incapacitation. There was a wound to the left side of the lip and another to the left part of the lower jaw. This injury caused severe fracturing of the jaw, of the teeth in that area and damaged soft tissue in the neck and the larynx. These features of this particular injury and the resultant flow of blood into the mouth meant, in the pathologist's opinion, that Nevill Bamber would not have been able to engage in purposeful talk. There were also gunshot wounds to the left shoulder and a grazing wound above the left elbow.

42. The examination of Nevill Bamber's body also revealed black eyes and a broken nose, linear bruising to the cheeks, lacerations to the head, linear type bruising to the right forearm, bruising to the left wrist and forearm and three circular burn type marks to the back. The linear marks were consistent with Mr Bamber having been struck with a long blunt object, possibly a gun.

43. Mrs Bamber was bare footed and dressed in a nightdress. She had received seven gunshot wounds, of which one to her forehead and one to the right side of the head would have caused death very quickly. She also suffered shots to the right side of the lower part of her neck, the right forearm, two injuries to the right side of the chest and to the right knee. There was a great deal of blood on her body and clothing and from its pattern, it appeared that at some stage of the attack she had been in an upright position

44. Daniel had received five wounds from a gun to the back of his head, which appeared to have been fired in an arc and in quick succession. Nicholas had three gunshot wounds to his head.

45. Sheila Caffell was also dressed in her nightwear and bare-footed. She had received two contact or near contact bullet wounds to her throat. The higher of the two wounds would have killed her almost instantaneously. The lower of the two would have been a fatal injury but not one where death would have occurred immediately and a person having suffered such an injury may have been able to stand up and walk around for a little time. The lack of heavy blood staining to Sheila Caffell's nightdress suggested that this had not happened here. The lower of the two injuries must have been the first since it had led to haemorrhaging inside the neck and this would not have occurred to the same extent if the other wound, which would have been immediately fatal, had preceded it. Dr Vanezis gave evidence that the nature of the blood stains to the nightdress suggested that Sheila Caffell was sitting up when she received both injuries. After the second injury she would have immediately fallen back. There was no evidence of any other mark or injury to Sheila Caffell's body such as might be suffered during a fight or in a scuffle.

46. From the pathological evidence alone, the pathologist could not say, one way or the other, whether Mrs Caffell had been murdered or had taken her own life.

The condition of Sheila Caffell's body and her clothing 47. The firearms officers who were the first to see her body noted that her feet and hands were "perfectly clean". Her fingernails were well manicured and not broken and there were no marks or indentations on any of her fingers. All her fingertips were clean and free from any blood, dirt or powder and there appeared to be no trace of any lead dust or coating which is usual when handling .22 ammunition.

48. The act of loading the magazine of an automatic weapon (carried out at least twice in this case) would be expected to leave visible traces of the lubricant and the materials from the bullets on the hands.

49. DC Hammersley, the Scenes of Crimes Officer placed plastic bags over Sheila Caffell's hands and feet before her body was removed from the farmhouse. He saw some blood staining to the back of the right hand, but apart from that the hands, to his eye were clean and the nails intact. The deceased's feet were also free from blood staining and from any debris such as sugar.

50. Following removal of the bags at the mortuary, Sheila Caffell's hands and forehead were swabbed. Extremely low traces of lead were detected when the swabs were examined. Such levels being consistent with the levels found from the handling of every day things around the house. These results were compared to hand swabs taken from volunteers at the laboratory who were required to load the magazine with eighteen rounds of ammunition. Significantly higher traces of lead were found than those recorded on the hands of Mrs Caffell. The scientist Mr Elliott gave evidence that if Sheila Caffell had loaded eighteen cartridges into a magazine he would have expected the hand swabs to have revealed appreciably higher deposits of lead.

51. Mrs Caffell's nightdress was bloodstained. When tested the blood was consistent with being her own blood. The garment was also examined for the presence of any firearm discharge residues or oil from the rifle. No such traces were found. The scientist gave evidence that there would be a strong chance of finding such residues or markings on the clothing of an individual who had fired a rifle twenty-five times.

52. The Bible found by Sheila Caffell's body, belonged to her mother and was normally kept in a cupboard to the right of her bed. It was examined for fingerprints. Many belonged to June Bamber and there were a small number of insufficient detail for comparison, save for one which appeared to have been made by a small child.

53. Analysis of samples of Sheila Caffell's blood and urine taken during the post mortem examination indicated that she had consumed cannabis some days before her death and she had made therapeutic use of the prescribed anti-psychotic drug, haloperidol.

Search and examination of White House Farm 54. The senior police officers who attended the scene, led in the initial stages by DCI Jones (who died in May 1986), came quickly to the view that Sheila Caffell had murdered her parents and children before committing suicide. Inevitably this had an impact upon the nature and thoroughness of the searches and examination of the farmhouse.

55. The house appears to have been photographed first, with particular attention paid to the bodies and the rooms in which they were found. Thereafter samples and swabs were taken from some of the blood-staining. There was then a search directed principally at the recovery of bullets and cartridge cases and the seizing of other exhibits.

56. It seems clear that there was not the carefully ordered scientific examination or detailed search of the type that would have occurred today. Other guns were left at the premises and there was no attempt, at that stage, to search for any sound moderator or sights that may have been associated with the murder weapon. There were attempts to examine possible means of entry and exit. As other lines of enquiry progressed officers and scientists returned to the address on a number of occasions to conduct further searches and examinations. One of the grounds of appeal relates to the examinations made of the windows and we will detail these when we consider that ground.

57. Five carpet samples taken from the main bedroom were examined and found to bear numerous spots of dripped blood. These were tested and found to match the blood groupings of June Bamber. Wallpaper from the hallway to the left-hand side of the kitchen door was found, on examination, to be stained with human blood consistent with the blood grouping shared by Nevill Bamber and the twin boys. Since the boys seem to have been shot in their beds, it is a clear inference that this was Mr. Bamber's blood.

The finding of the cartridges and nature of the wounds to the deceased 58. In all twenty-five cartridge cases were recovered from the scene and the firearms expert gave evidence of his opinion as to which of these could be associated with each particular victim.

59. Two bullets were recovered from June Bamber's side of the double bed in the main bedroom and were consistent with the shots that had caused the injuries to her right shoulder, chest and forearm.

60. Found in or just outside the bedroom were thirteen cartridge cases. Seven would account for the shots into June Bamber, two for the wounds suffered by Sheila Caffell, leaving four cartridge cases that had been fired at Nevill Bamber. Three further cartridge cases were found in the kitchen, with a further case on the stairs leading up from the kitchen. If one accepts that the four shots to the head which would have immobilised and killed Nevill Bamber were fired in the kitchen where his body was recovered, it would follow that he had received the less serious injuries upstairs in the bedroom and was then able to make his way downstairs where he was subsequently killed.

mike tesko:
61. The last eight cartridge cases were recovered in the children's room and accounted for the injuries they suffered.

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.

63. Of the seven injuries suffered by June Bamber, five were shots from the gun held at least one foot away from the body. The bullet wound between the eyes was fired from less than one foot away, and could have been with the gun in contact with the skin, although he viewed that as unlikely. Mr Fletcher was unable to estimate the range of the shot which had caused the injury to the right side of Mrs Bamber's chest.

64. In respect of the eight shots into Nevill Bamber's body, the six to his head and face were fired when the rifle was within a few inches of the skin. The remaining injuries to the arm were caused when the gun was at least two feet from the body.

65. As regards the twins, four of the five injuries suffered by Daniel were caused when the gun was held within one foot of his head, the fifth was from over two feet away. The three wounds to Nicholas were contact or close proximity shots.

Telephones 66. There were normally four telephones at White House Farm (although there was only one telephone line). A cream old-fashioned finger-dial telephone kept in the main bedroom (the bedroom telephone), a blue digital telephone in the first floor office (the office telephone), a cream cordless telephone kept in the kitchen but used around and outside the house (the cordless telephone) and a fawn digital telephone also kept in the kitchen (the kitchen telephone). The only telephone with a memory recall feature was the cordless telephone but this had been faulty and was collected for repair on the morning of 5 August 1985.

67. The telephone that had been found with the receiver off its cradle in the kitchen was in fact the bedroom telephone, which had been moved downstairs. The kitchen telephone had been hidden amongst a pile of magazines in the kitchen. The office telephone was in its normal place.

68. There was no evidence of telephone billing information of the sort which would be available these days. There was, however, expert evidence called as to the effect of a telephone call having been made from White House Farm to Goldhanger which was then abandoned by the caller with the receiver being left off the cradle, as claimed by the appellant. If such a sequence had occurred, the telephone link would have remained open either until the handset at White House Farm was replaced or until the handset at Goldhanger had been replaced and left in position for a period which could vary from 1 to 2 minutes, when an automatic interruption of the link would take place. Until one or other of these events, the appellant would have been unable to make any call from the Goldhanger telephone.

Examination of the rifle 69. The rifle was a German made Anschutz model 525 .22 self-loading rifle in good working order. Cartridges are loaded into a magazine, which has a capacity of 10. It is, as the jury found when they conducted the exercise themselves, progressively harder to load as the number of cartridges increases. Loading the tenth is exceptionally hard. Assuming a full capacity at the commencement of the shooting at the farm, the discharge of the rifle twenty-five times would require it to be re-loaded a minimum of two more times.

70. The stock was damaged, with a piece of wood missing. The broken piece of wood found on the floor in the kitchen was the missing part of the stock.

71. The rifle bore blood smearing on the barrel in the region of the fore-sight and around the mechanism and there were splashes of blood to the left side of the weapon. The appearance of the blood staining was consistent with it having been used to strike somebody who was already bleeding. On analysis the blood was found to be human blood but tests to determine grouping were unsuccessful. A "pull-through" on the barrel of the rifle was conducted for any traces of blood within the weapon. There were none.

72. The weapon was also examined for fingerprints. A print from the appellant's right forefinger was found on the breech end of the barrel, above the stock and pointing across the gun and Sheila Caffell's right ring fingerprint was found on the right side of the butt, pointing downwards. There were three further finger marks on the rifle, each of insufficient detail for identification purposes.

Recovery of the sound moderator 73. On 10 August 1985 members of the family, who were far from convinced that Sheila Caffell had been responsible for the killings, went to White House Farm with the executor of the estate, Basil Cock. During the afternoon David Boutflour found the sound moderator together with the telescopic sights for the murder weapon at the back of the gun cupboard in the downstairs office. His father, his sister Ann Eaton, the executor and the farm secretary all witnessed the recovery.

74. The silencer was taken to Ann Eaton's address for safekeeping and that evening members of the family examined it. They noticed that the "gun blue" of the surface had been damaged and there appeared to be red paint and blood upon it. The moderator was packaged up and the police were informed of the discovery. When collected by DS Jones on 12 August he noticed a grey hair, about an inch long attached to it. By the time the moderator had been delivered to the Forensic Science Service at Huntingdon the hair had been lost.

Scientific examination of the sound moderator 75. Traces of blood in the form of smears were found in three places on the outside of the moderator: on the flat surface at the muzzle end, in the knurled end and in the ridge at the gun end of the device. The blood on the outside of the moderator was confirmed to be of human origin but there were insufficient quantities to permit grouping analysis.

76. Inside the moderator, on the four or five baffles nearest to the end from which the bullet would exit, there was a considerable amount of blood. At one point blood had pooled to form a flake when it dried, and this flake was subjected to group testing. Results were obtained for four of the five tests performed. Mr Hayward, the forensic scientist said that they showed that the blood could have come from Sheila Caffell but not from any of the other individuals involved. Mr. Hayward said that there was a possibility that the blood could be a mixture of blood from more than one person and if it was, a mixture of blood from Nevill Bamber and June Bamber could account for the findings in the grouping tests. However he judged that possibility to be a "remote" one.

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.

78. Mr Fletcher, the firearms expert also expressed the opinion to the jury that the sound moderator had been fitted to the gun when Sheila Caffell had been shot. He attributed the presence of blood within the device to the phenomenon of "back-spatter". This occurs when the expansion of gases created by a bullet being discharged creates back pressure which in turn propels blood from the wound back towards the weapon. This effect is only seen when the muzzle of the weapon is in contact with, or very close contact to, the victim.

79. Exercises and tests conducted at the laboratory established that it would have been physically impossible for a woman of Sheila Caffell's height and reach to have operated the trigger and shot herself with the sound moderator attached to the weapon. She simply could not have reached it. Thus she could only have committed suicide if the sound moderator had been removed from the rifle.

80. Having seen what they believed to be red paint on the moderator, members of the deceased's family returned to the farmhouse and examined the red painted mantel shelf above the Aga in the kitchen. On the underside they found what appeared to be recent damage. On 14 August 1985 the underside of the mantel shelf was examined by one of the scenes of crime officers, DI Cook. He found score marks and took a sample of the paint from the area. The paint sample was compared with the paint recovered from the knurled end of the moderator and each was found to contain the same fifteen layers of paint and varnish. On 1 October 1985 casts were taken of the marks and impressions found on the underside of the shelf. These were also consistent with having been caused by the moderator and there had been more than one contact between it and the shelf.

mike tesko:
81. Sheila Caffell and her mental state. Clearly of importance to the theory that Sheila Caffell killed the others and then took her own life was available evidence about her and her mental state at the time. This, of course, became an important part of the defence case, and it is convenient to review this aspect of the matter at this stage.

82. According to Pamela Boutflour (June Bamber's sister), Sheila Caffell was not a violent person and she had never known her to use a gun and in the opinion of the witness she would not know how to use one. The evidence of Ann Eaton (June Bamber's niece) was that she had never seen Mrs Caffell with a gun and that she "would not know one end of the barrel of a gun to another". The witness added that Sheila Caffell was not a practical person and had very bad hand-eye co-ordination. Other witnesses called during the trial also said they had never seen her with a gun, save for an occasion when she had been photographed carrying one as part of a modelling assignment.

83. Colin Caffell (her ex-husband) said that although there had been violent outbursts by Sheila during their time together, this had involved the throwing of pots and pans and the occasional striking of him. To his knowledge she had never harmed the children or behaved violently towards anybody else.

84. The defence at trial called Dr Ferguson, a Consultant Psychiatrist at St Andrew's Hospital in Northampton, who had the care of Sheila Caffell between August 1983 and her death. Mrs Caffell had been referred for treatment by her general practitioner and seen by Dr Ferguson for the first time on 2 August 1983. Then she was in a very agitated and psychotic state and he admitted her for in-patient treatment on 4 August. Dr Ferguson came initially to the diagnosis of a schizo-affective disorder characterised by disturbance of thinking and perception. She was depressed in a paranoid way, struggling with the concept of good and evil and caught up with the idea that the Devil had taken her over and given her the power to project the Devil's evil to others including her twin sons. In particular she spoke of a fear she could create in her children an ability to have sex and do violence with her. In the discharge letter Dr Ferguson made reference to her morbid thoughts, which included the idea she was capable of murdering her children or communicating an ability to them to kill. He said she had spoken of suicidal thoughts although he did not regard her as a suicide risk. Miss Caffell responded to the treatment at hospital and was discharged on 10 September 1983.

85. Dr Ferguson continued to see Sheila Caffell as an outpatient and during that period made a firm diagnosis that his patient was suffering from schizophrenia. During that period she was prescribed the anti-psychotic drug, Stelazine. Whilst she was then pre-occupied with her ability to have more children, there were less obvious signs of mental illness and no evidence of acute disturbance.

86. On 3 March 1985 Sheila Caffell was re-admitted to hospital in Northampton. Then she was agitated, very disturbed and in an anxious state. Her thinking was again very involved with the concepts of good and evil, but on this occasion more directly related to excessive religious ideas. She made no reference to any thoughts concerning her children or parents. As before she responded to treatment and was discharged on 29 March 1985.

87. Thereafter Sheila Caffell received monthly injections of Haloperidol, a drug used to treat agitated states which had anti-psychotic and tranquillising properties. It also has sedative side effects at the levels prescribed.

88. When told on 8 August 1985 that Sheila Caffell had killed her parents and children and then herself, Dr Ferguson said this did not fit "his concept" of his patient. He did not feel she was someone who would actually be violent to her children or towards her father, although she was a highly disturbed woman and had expressed disturbed feelings towards her mother.

89. In cross-examination Dr Ferguson agreed that Mrs Caffell's condition was well known to her family. There had never been manifestations of violence either when her illness was being managed or when in a highly disturbed state in hospital. In the context of what was alleged to have occurred Dr Ferguson found it possible to conceive of Sheila Caffell wanting to harm her mother or herself but "difficult to conceptualise her harming her children or her father". He had always felt Sheila loved and cared for her children and saw her father as a very secure, caring and strong support in her life.

90. Dr Bradley, another Consultant Psychiatrist, was also called by the defence during the trial to give general evidence of the features of "altruistic" killings and to confirm that it was not unusual that a female murderer should not have a history of previous violence. He also gave evidence that where parents kill children there may be an element of "over-kill" or the infliction of excessive violence.

91. Professor Knight, another defence witness, lent support to Dr Bradley's evidence as to the feature of excessive violence in parental killings. He also spoke of instances where the murderer (having killed their spouses in most cases) has then gone about some mundane or "ritualistic" task, such as cleaning up before committing suicide. In cross-examination he accepted the proposition contained in an article, which he himself had written some years earlier, that "women almost never commit suicide by shooting".

92. A number of other witnesses were called on the appellant's behalf at trial as to Sheila Caffell's mind. They included Farhad Emami (Freddie), a friend who gave evidence as to her mental state before the second admission to hospital, her relationship with her parents and her mood and appearance in the months before her death.

93. Also called on the appellant's behalf were Miss Grimster who had seen Miss Caffell on 30 March 1985. The deceased said she saw herself as a white witch and said she had once contemplated suicide. Nurse Heath from the Nottingham Hospital spoke of her low mood on one occasion and of a more optimistic one on another. Sandra Elston who saw Sheila Caffell on 31 July 1985 said the deceased appeared well and her only concern was about a poor haircut she had recently had.

Julie Mugford 94. Julie Mugford was 21 years old at the time of the offences and a student at Goldsmiths College at the University of London. She met the appellant in 1983 whilst working in Colchester during one of the vacations and they became boyfriend and girlfriend. During the relationship she met the appellant's parents, his sister and her children. In December 1984 the appellant had proposed to her.

95. On the day after the killings, Miss Mugford made a statement to the police. In that statement she said nothing adverse to the appellant. She spoke of receiving a telephone call from him at about 3.30 a.m. on the night of the killings. She said that he "sounded disjointed and worried" and he said "There's something wrong at home." She had been sleepy and had not asked what it was.

96. On 7 September, Julie Mugford contacted the police and told them that she had omitted matters from her earlier statement. She then gave a very different account that she was to repeat to the jury in evidence.

97. She said that after she met the appellant, it quickly became obvious to her that the appellant disliked his family. He resented his parents whom he claimed, "tried to run his life" and he said he did not get on with Sheila Caffell. He was angry that she lived in an expensive flat in Maida Vale, which was maintained by his parents. Between July and October 1984, he said that his parents were getting him down and he said that he wished "he could get rid of them all". In evidence Miss Mugford said this included his sister and children because "if he was going to get rid of them it would have to be all of them". The appellant explained to her that his "father was getting old, his mother was mad … Sheila was mad as well … and in respect of the way the twins had been brought up, … they were emotionally disturbed and unbalanced". The appellant also told Julie Mugford he had seen copies of his parents' wills.

98. Miss Mugford's evidence was that the conversations about killing the appellant's family became more frequent between October and December 1984. At first he spoke of being at the house for supper and then drugging the family before driving back to Goldhanger in his car. He said that he then intended returning to the farmhouse on foot or on bicycle and burning the house down. The appellant then appeared to realise that it would be difficult to burn the premises down especially since it would have the consequent effect of destroying the valuables within the property.

99. Later the appellant said he had decided to shoot his family and he told her that he had discovered that the catch on the kitchen window did not work and he could gain access to the house in that way. The appellant said he planned to leave the address by a different window, which latched when it was shut from the outside. He spoke of Sheila Caffell being a good scapegoat because of her admission to hospital during Easter 1985 and said that afterwards he would make it seem as if Sheila had done it and then killed herself.

100. Julie Mugford spent the weekend before the killings with the appellant in Goldhanger. During that period he dyed his hair black and she saw his mother's bicycle at the address. Other witnesses saw the bicyle at the appellant's home following the killings. Robert Boutflour saw mud on the walls of the tyres but not on the tread, as if it had been through deep mud.


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