JEREMY BAMBER CASE > Jeremy Bamber Case Discussion



By Scott LomaxIn October 1986 Jeremy Bamberwas convicted by a majority of ten to two of the murders of five members of hisfamily. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, with the recommendation that heshould serve a minimum of twenty-five years behind bars. Subsequently he wastold that his life sentence should mean exactly that. Jeremy has maintained hisinnocence throughout and has launched a new bid to clear his name, on the basisof compelling new evidence.The Crime
In the early hours of 7 August1985 the police were called to White House Farm in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex,having been told by Jeremy Bamber that his adopted father, Ralph, hadtelephoned him to say that Bamber's sister (a paranoid schizophrenic namedSheila Caffell) had "gone crazy" and had got a gun. At 07:30, afterhaving been at the farm for a number of hours, members of the Tactical FirearmsUnit stormed the building and found five dead bodies. Ralph had been shot eighttimes and was found in the kitchen. Sheila Caffell's twin sons were found intheir room with one having been shot three times in the head and the other fivetimes in the head. Ralph's wife, June, was found in the main bedroom where shehad been shot seven times. Beside June's bed lay Sheila Caffell, who had been shottwice in the throat and who held an Anschutz rifle in her hands. It appearedshe had committed suicide, with the post mortem examination showing that shecould have survived for a few minutes after sustaining the first wound butwould have died immediately upon sustaining the second. Sheila was known tohave considered ending her life, expressed an intention to kill her sons andfelt the need to cleanse her mother's ‘evil' mind. It was therefore notsurprising that the police believed she killed her family before ending her ownlife. However, in September 1985 Jeremy was arrested twice and charged withfive murders. Sheila Caffell
It was not surprising that thepolice originally believed Sheila was responsible for all the deaths. She was aparanoid schizophrenic who had stopped taking her medication. She had told herpsychiatrist that she wanted to kill her children, who she called “the Devil’schildren.” She had on occasions expressed her intention to kill her mother andhad often expressed suicidal thoughts. It was said at trial that Sheilacould not have committed the murders because she was inexperienced with guns.What the jury never heard was that she had gone on shooting holidays with acousin. It is true that twenty five or twenty six rounds had been fired andthat all or all but one had hit their target but most shots had been fired froma few inches away and so, from such a short range, how could she be expected tomiss? JulieMugford
Julie Mugford was Jeremy’sgirlfriend at the time of the deaths. Once he ended their relationship she wentto the police with information that led to his initial arrest. The evidence wasnot thought to be credible and he was released without charge. Yet at trial sheprovided testimony that formed a part of the prosecution’s case.She told the court that Jeremyhad plotted to kill his family for many months before their deaths. On the eveof the shootings Jeremy told Mugford, "Tonight's the night", sheclaimed. He later phoned to tell her that everything was going well. It wasshown Mugford had become incredibly hurt and upset with the breakdown of therelationship. At one point in time she had tried to smother Jeremy with apillow, by her own admission, stating "If I can't have you, nobodycan."Mugford named a man who shealleged was hired by Jeremy to carry out the crime. That man was found to havean alibi and he was quickly eliminated from the investigation. There was noevidence to support Mugford’s ‘hit man’ story. When Mugford was shown to be wrong,the police eventually came to the conclusion that the ‘hit man’ story wassimply a veiled confession by Jeremy who, they argued, commited the murdershimself.Mugford’s evidence wasexceptionally controversial and. It was ultimately circumstantial forensicevidence, found by relatives of Jeremy after a police forensic examinationfailed to find any evidence against him, that formed the main planks in theprosecution’s case at trial.TheBlood in the Sound Moderator
Days after the shootings one ofJeremy's cousins found a sound moderator (silencer) in a downstairs guncupboard. Upon close examination later that evening it was noticed that a smallamount of blood was present inside the tube and a grey hair was also allegedlyadhered to the end. By the time the sound moderator reached a laboratory fortesting, the grey hair had disappeared. Prior to it being forensicallyexamined, one of Jeremy’s cousins took the sound moderator apart and removedpart of the blood with a razor blade. What affect could such an action have hadon the integrity of this exhibit?Tests on the blood suggestedthat it might have originated from Sheila Caffell although the prosecution werenever able to prove this. The prosecution’s expert admitted that there was a"remote possibility" that the blood could have been a mixture fromRalph and June Bamber. If the blood was Sheila's then this meant she could nothave committed suicide, because if she did kill herself how did the soundmoderator find its way downstairs? It was this evidence that allegedly providedthe proof that Sheila Caffell could not have committed the murders andtherefore somebody else must have been responsible. That somebody else, thecourt was told, had to be Jeremy Bamber because of his account of the telephoneconversation with his father.At trial it was suggested thatthe blood was Sheila's because of the presence of an AK1 enzyme in the flake ofblood. Of those who lost their lives as a result of the White House Farmtragedy, only Sheila had the AK1 enzyme in her blood. You might think this isproof that the blood in the sound moderator came from Sheila and therefore shecould not have committed suicide, but you would be wrong.DNA tests show that the bloodwas 3500 times more likely to have been a mixture of a male's blood with JuneBamber's blood, than Sheila Caffell's. And the AK1 enzyme can be innocentlyexplained by the presence of two types of animal blood on the end of the soundmoderator, though this information was never disclosed to the defence untilrecently. At trial the police’s expert denied finding animal blood buthandwritten notes prove otherwise. The AK1 enzyme is present inmany animals. If animal blood managed to find its way on to the end of thesound moderator, could it not have also managed to find its way into the soundmoderator? Furthermore, documents recentlyobtained by Jeremy’s defence team show that the sound moderator was dismantledand reassembled incorrectly before it was tested. This new evidence shows thatthe key forensic evidence at trial was treated in a very cavalier way. Bychanging the arrangement of baffle plates within the sound moderator, theaccuracy of interpretations about the blood within the moderator and itsposition in the sound moderator, is significantly affected.TheWindows Issue All of the doors to thefarmhouse were locked from the inside when the police stormed the building andexamined it. According to Jeremy Bamber's relatives who undertook their owninvestigation, it was possible to gain access to the farmhouse through one ofthe windows and indeed it is claimed that one of the windows was found to beinsecure. Earlier police reports innocently explain this. On 7 November 1985 DetectiveSuperintendent Ainsley wrote, "As stated, there was no apparent entry toor exit from the house D/Chief Inspector did in fact examine the inside of allthe ground floor windows and noted that they were all shut and secure on theirlatches. ... It seems, however, that after the inspection by DCI Jones someperson partially opened the transom window in the kitchen and also opened thecatch on the ground floor bathroom window. I have been unable to discover theperson responsible ... "It was alleged Jeremy enteredthe farmhouse via the window for the downstairs toilet and that he climbed outof a window in the kitchen after having killed his family. It was argued attrial that both of these windows had been found insecure, but numerousdocuments unavailable at the trial show that when the police entered thebuilding all of the windows were closed and locked. If they were locked, andall of the doors were locked, then how did Jeremy get into the house to carryout the murders? It would appear that the killer never left the building alive.AnAlibi If Jeremy was the murderer hemust have committed his crimes between midnight and 03:00 on the morning of 7August 1985. This is a fact as agreed at trial. From 03:15 onwards Jeremy wasspeaking to the police on his phone at his cottage in Goldhanger (three and ahalf miles from White House Farm), driving to White House Farm and then he wasin the company of police officers until long after the bodies were discovered.The many bullets fired at each of his alleged victims would have meant thatthey died within moments of being shot. How, therefore, could the police haveseen someone moving within the farmhouse at 03:45 and later, at 05:25, couldthey have been conversing with someone inside the building? Whilst he wasoutside White House Farm with two police officers a figure was seen moving inthe main bedroom. At trial the figure was dismissed as a shadow or trick oflight, but now documentary evidence shows the officer who made the sightingrecorded seeing ‘an unidentified male.' A log of radio communications showsthat at 05:25 the tactical firearms officers were ‘in conversation' with aperson inside White House Farm. How could this be if everyone inside was dead?And five minutes later extra firearms officers were called for an"urgent" situation. Why was it so urgent, and why was backup requestedif everyone inside was dead? What was so urgent at 5:30 that was not urgent anhour or more earlier?It is known, from studyingphotographs never shown to the jury, that Sheila Caffell was still bleeding after09:25 when photographs of the scene of the crime were taken. Indeed it wasnoted that blood was running down from her mouth. How could this be if she hadbeen shot at least six hours earlier? People stop bleeding shortly after death.Their blood would not stay red and running as can clearly be seen inphotographs given to Jeremy’s legal team two decades after his conviction. Remember, if Sheila was aliveafter 03:00 then Jeremy Bamber must be innocent. If Sheila was still alive thenJeremy could not have been responsible for her death or the deaths of anyoneelse inside the building. On the basis of highlysignificant new evidence Jeremy Bamber's case is being reviewed by the CriminalCases Review Commission. A conviction can only be justified if there is thebelief of guilt, beyond reasonable doubt, upon considering the truth, the wholetruth and nothing but the truth. The jury at Jeremy’s trial were deprived ofimportant evidence, so much so that they only knew part of the story. The newevidence builds a more complete picture and surely warrants an appeal. It hasnever been scrutinised in court and this is a situation that needs to bechanged.


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