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UK The White House Farm Murders - 1985

Discussion in 'Europe: Cold Cases' started by GarAndMo49, Sep 10, 2015.

  1. GarAndMo49

    GarAndMo49 Not A Sheeple

    The White House Farm murders took place near the village of Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex, England, during the night of 6–7 August 1985. Nevill Bamber, a farmer and magistrate, and his wife, June, were shot and killed inside their farmhouse, along with their adoptive daughter, Sheila Caffell, and Sheila's six-year-old twin sons. The only surviving member of the immediate family was Nevill and June's adoptive son, Jeremy Bamber, then 24 years old, who said he had been at home a few miles away when the shooting took place.[1]

    The police at first believed that Sheila, diagnosed with schizophrenia, had fired the shots then turned the gun on herself. But weeks after the murders Jeremy Bamber's ex-girlfriend told police that he had implicated himself. The prosecution argued that, motivated by a large inheritance, Bamber had shot the family with his father's semi-automatic rifle, then placed the gun in his unstable sister's hands to make the case appear as a murder–suicide. A silencer the prosecution said was on the rifle would have made it too long, they argued, for Sheila's fingers to reach the trigger to shoot herself. Bamber was convicted in October 1986 by a 10–2 majority, and sentenced to a minimum of 25 years' imprisonment. In 1994, Bamber was informed that he would never be released from prison.[2] <snip>
    Police investigation

    Front page of the Daily Express just after the murders.
    Journalist David Connett, who attended the trial, writes that it was by common consent a poor investigation.[67] The trial judge, Mr Justice Drake, expressed concern about what he called a "less than thorough investigation."[68] Claire Powell wrote that "doing a Bamber" briefly became police slang for making a mess of a case.[69]

    According to Connett, the officer in charge, DCI "Taff" Jones, deputy head of CID, was told that it was a "domestic," and went off to play golf. Jones became so convinced of the murder–suicide theory that he ordered Bamber's cousins out of his office when they asked him to consider whether Bamber had set the whole thing up. Evidence was not recorded or preserved, and three days after the killings the police burned bloodstained bedding and a carpet, apparently to spare Bamber's feelings. The inquest opened on 14 August 1985, and the police gave evidence that it was a murder–suicide.[67]

    The scenes-of-crime officer did not find the silencer in the cupboard. It was found by one of Bamber's cousins days later, and it took the police three days to collect it from them. The same officer moved the rifle without wearing gloves, and it was not examined for fingerprints until weeks later. The Bible found with Sheila was not examined at all. Connett writes that a hacksaw blade that might have been used to gain entry to the house lay in the garden for months. Officers did not take contemporaneous notes; those who had dealt with Bamber wrote down their statements weeks later. Bamber's clothes were not examined until one month later. The bodies were cremated. Ten years later all blood samples were destroyed.[67]

    Unlike DCI Jones, his junior officers were suspicious of Bamber, and when Jones was removed from the case, they began to look more closely at him. (Jones died before the case came to court after falling from a ladder at his home.) Bamber's behaviour after the funeral increased suspicion that he had been involved. The Times reported that, immediately after the bodies were found, he broke down and was offered tea and whisky by police, and apparently managed to persuade them to burn bedding and carpets inside the house. He wept openly at the funerals, supported by his girlfriend, Julie Mugford, after which he flew to Amsterdam, where he apparently tried to buy a consignment of drugs and offered to sell nude photographs of Sheila to tabloid newspapers. He also invited friends to expensive champagne-and-lobster dinners. His behaviour served to draw police attention to him.[1]

    I came across this case in another forum, and found it interesting. There are a decent number of resources about it, so please check it out and share what you think!
  2. GarAndMo49

    GarAndMo49 Not A Sheeple

  3. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    G&M, glad you made a thread for this case! It's one I'm looking forward to posting about, once a few current projects are complete. Lots to contemplate, that's for sure!
    MissyMoo, spike and GarAndMo49 like this.
  4. GarAndMo49

    GarAndMo49 Not A Sheeple

    MissyMoo, spike and Lily like this.
  5. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    There is a very similar case from here in Aus I must post up soon.. In that, too, I try to consider what evidence there is for both sides. Thanks for the link!
  6. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    That is a really good article, G&M! There were a couple of things I can't recall noticing before, including this:

    "Although the carpet was spattered with blood, the soles of her feet were spotlessly clean."
  7. Ladyslug

    Ladyslug Bronze Member

    MissyMoo and GarAndMo49 like this.
  8. GarAndMo49

    GarAndMo49 Not A Sheeple

    VERY interesting, @Ladyslug ! Initially, I was on the fence, but after doing some research, I'm pretty convinced he was the perp. Great to hear from someone in the UK; I'd love to hear more from you...
    MissyMoo, Lily and Ladyslug like this.
  9. Ladyslug

    Ladyslug Bronze Member

    He seems to have a group of fans who are willing to say that he's innocent and do things like read at his parents grave.
    I was quite young when the case first happened but have looked at it when I got older and interested in true crime.
    I never bought that his sister did it, yes she had mental health issues but the way Jeremy said she killed herself with the shotgun doesn't work with the length of the barrel.
    MissyMoo, Lily and GarAndMo49 like this.
  10. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    There kind of comes a point, in my mind, where "incompetence" becomes "effing suspicious". I was pretty much there, after "to spare Bamber's feelings". I wonder WHO ordered those items burned?

    But if Jones was not merely mind-bogglingly incompetent, what would be his motive for throwing the case? Was there some kind of personal connection to Bamber? Was he known to take bribes or the like?
    MissyMoo, GarAndMo49 and Ladyslug like this.
  11. Ladyslug

    Ladyslug Bronze Member


    Essex police: Contempt of court & perverting justice?

    Unfair trial? Miscarriage of justice? Police cover up? Time for retrial?

    London, UK – 5 April 2017

    Peter Tatchell has today written to the Chief Constable of Essex, Stephen Kavanagh, urging him to comply fully with three court orders to make available to Jeremy Bamber’s legal team hundreds of pieces of evidence that Essex police have failed to disclose for 32 years. Shockingly, some evidence has been destroyed, despite court orders to hand it over to the defence.

    Bamber was convicted and jailed for killing five members of his family at White House Farm in Essex in 1985. He is serving a whole life tariff, which means he can never be released from prison.

    In today’s letter, Mr Tatchell points out that the withholding of significant evidence means that Jeremy Bamber may not have had a fair trial and that:
    GarAndMo49 and spike like this.
  12. Ladyslug

    Ladyslug Bronze Member


    Bamber has always protested his innocence. What frustrates him most, he says, is that he believes the police always had evidence that would have cleared him. This evidence, he claims, was not disclosed at his trial, or at his first appeal in 1989, or at his second appeal in 2002.

    This is despite the fact that Essex police have been ordered three times by the courts to make a full disclosure of material relevant to Bamber and have failed to comply. In 1994 the central criminal court ordered disclosure of DNA evidence relevant to the case. Not only did Essex police fail to disclose it, in 1996 a special branch officer ordered its incineration. In a statement to the Metropolitan police in 2002 the officer claimed he was “unaware” of the court’s ruling.
  13. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    This doco is really good:
    noZme, Ladyslug and GarAndMo49 like this.

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