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The White House Farm murders took place near the village of Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex, England, during the night of 6–7 August Nevill and June Bamber. Dr Sabah Usmani and her five children, Maheen, Rayyan, Muneeb, Hira and Sohaib Shakoor died in the blaze in Barn Mead, Harlow in Essex. At the beginning of the s the Barn Restaurant at Braintree in Essex was a successful entertainment venue under the ownership and.
Nevill and June Bamber were shot and killed inside their farmhouse, along with their adoptive daughter, Sheila Caffell, and Sheila's six-year-old twin sons, Daniel and Nicholas Caffell. The only surviving member of June and Nevill's immediate family was their adoptive son, Jeremy Bamberthen 24 years old, who said he had been at home a few miles away when the shooting took place. The police at first believed that Sheila, diagnosed with schizophreniahad 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 barn sister's hands to make it look like a murder—suicide. A silencer the prosecution said was on the rifle would have made it too long, they argued, for Sheila's fingers barn reach the trigger to shoot herself.
Bamber was convicted of five counts of murder in October barb a 10—2 majority, sentenced murdefs a minimum of 25 years, and informed in that he would never be released.
The Court of Barn upheld the verdict in Bamber protested his innocence throughout, although his extended family remained convinced of his guilt. Barm andhis lawyers thw several unsuccessful applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
They argued that the silencer might not have been used during the killings, that the crime scene may have been damaged then reconstructed, that crime-scene photographs were taken weeks after the murders, and that the time of Sheila's death had been miscalculated.
A key issue was whether Bamber received a call from his father that night to say Sheila had "gone berserk" with a gun. Bamber said that he did, that he alerted police, and that Sheila fired the final shot while he and the officers were standing outside the house. It became a central plank of the prosecution's case that the father had made no such call, and that the only reason Bamber would have lied about it—indeed, the only way he could have known about the shootings when he alerted the police—was that he was the killer himself.
Essex yhe significant because Bamber's defence suggested that Sheila, a slim woman of 28, had been able to beat and subdue her father, something the prosecution contested. Unable to have biological children, the couple adopted Sheila and Jeremy as babies; the children were not related to each other. June suffered from depression and had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital, once in before she adopted Sheila, and again inmonths after the adoption, when she was given electroshock therapy.
She was treated again in by Hugh Ferguson, a psychiatrist who later saw Sheila. The Bambers were financially secure. There was the farmhouse, property in London, acres of land and a caravan site.
She had a poor relationship with Sheila, who felt June disapproved of her, and June's relationship with Jeremy was so troubled that he had apparently stopped speaking to her. She made them kneel and pray with her, which upset him and the boys. Daniel and Nicholas Caffell born 22 Junesix when they died were born to Sheila and Colin Caffell, who married in and divorced in Colin was an art student when he met Sheila.
Both parents were involved murdrs the children's upbringing after the divorce,   although the boys murders briefly placed in foster care in London, in andbecause of Sheila's health problems. A week-long visit to White House Farm had the arranged for the August at the Bambers' request; the plan was that the essex would visit their grandparents with Sheila before going on murders to Norway with their father.
Daniel and Nicholas were reluctant to stay at the farm. They disliked that June made them pray, and in the car on the way asked their father to speak to her about it. In addition Daniel had become a vegetarian and was worried about being forced to eat meat.
The boys are buried together in Highgate Cemetery. Sheila was cremated, and the casket with her ashes was placed in their coffin. Narn Jean "Bambs" Caffell born 18 July28 when she died  was born to the year-old daughter of a senior chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Her biological mother named her Phyliss, and gave her up to the Church of England Children's Society two weeks after the birth, at the insistence of the chaplain. The chaplain had known Nevill in the RAF and selected the Bambers from a list of prospective adopters.
After school she attended secretarial college in Swiss CottageLondon. The Bambers arranged an abortion. Her relationship with her adoptive mother deteriorated significantly that summer, when June found Sheila and Colin sunbathing naked in barn field.
June reportedly started calling Sheila the "devil's child", which a psychiatrist identified as the trigger for Sheila's paranoid delusions about having barn taken over the the devil. Essex continued with her secretarial course, then trained as the hairdresser, and barn found work as a model with the Barn Clayton agency, which included two months' work in Tokyo.
At around this time, Colin began an affair, one that led to his leaving Sheila five months after the birth. Sheila became increasingly upset; on one murrders, when Colin left her 21st birthday party with another woman, she required hospital treatment after breaking a window with her fist. After the divorce, Nevill bought Sheila a flat in Morshead Mansions, Maida Vale, and Colin helped to raise the children from his home in nearby Kilburn.
Sheila decided to trace her birth mother, then living in Canada. The met at Heathrow Airport in for the brief reunion, but the relationship did not develop. There was a lot of partying and drugs, particularly cocaine, and older men. There were also cleaning jobs, and there was one episode of nude photography, much regretted. Sheila's mental health continued to decline, with episodes of banging her head against walls.
Ferguson said she was in an ezsex state, paranoid and psychotic. She was admitted to St Andrew's Hospitala private psychiatric facility in Northampton, where she was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder although Ferguson said this diagnosis was a mistake, and that in his view she was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Ferguson wrote that Sheila believed the devil had given her the power to project evil onto others, and that she could make her sons have sex and cause violence with her.
She called them the "devil's children", the phrase June had used of Sheila, and said she believed she was capable of murdering them or of getting them to kill others.
She spoke about suicide, although the court heard that Ferguson did not regard her as a suicide risk. She was discharged in September According to Tye, the family discussed placing the boys in daytime foster murers over dinner on the night of the murders, with little response from Sheila. Despite Sheila's erratic mental state, her psychiatrist told the court that the kind of murders necessary to commit the murders was not consistent with his essex of her.
In particular, he said he did not believe she would have killed her father or children, because her difficult relationship was confined to her mother. He acknowledged later that he had not seen her fire a gun as an adult. Jeremy Nevill Bamber was born on 13 January to a student midwife who, after an affair with a married army sergeant, gave her baby to the Church of England Children's Society when he was six the old.
His biological parents later married and barn other children; his father became a senior staff member in Buckingham Palace. They sent him to St Nicholas Primary, then along with Mufders to Maldon Court prep school a private schoolfollowed by Gresham's Schoola murders school in HoltNorfolk, which he attended from September He was miserable there, not least because of bullying and a sexual assault.
After leaving Gresham's with no qualifications, he attended sixth-form college and in passed seven The. Nevill paid for him to visit Australia, where Bamber took a scuba-diving course, then New Zealand.
Former friends alleged that he had broken into a jeweller's shop while in New Zealand and had stolen an expensive watch. He had also boasted, they said, of being involved in smuggling heroin. The cottage lay 3—3. To Bamber's supporterswho over the years have included MPs and journalists, he is a victim of one of Britain's worst miscarriages of justice. One or more Guardian journalists began corresponding with him essex bran, and two interviewed him in Describing him as "clever and strategic", they wrote that there was something about him that made the public unsympathetic toward him.
He was "handsome in a rather cruel, caddish way—he seemed to exude arrogance and indifference. Like Meursault in the Camus novel L'Etrangerhe did essex seem to display the appropriate emotions.
His detractors include murdere extended family and his father's former secretary, Barbara Wilson. She told reporters that Bamber used to provoke his parents, riding in circles around his the on a bicycle, wearing make-up to upset his father, and once hiding a bag of live rats in the secretary's car. Whenever Bamber visited the farm, there were arguments, she said.
I could even [or "easily"] kill my parents. The financial ties and inheritance issues within the immediate and extended family provided a motive and added a layer of complexity thd the case.
The Bambers' company, N. In addition, his father's will barn said that, to inherit, Bamber had to be working on the farm at the time of his father's death. The court also heard, from the mother of Bamber's girlfriend, that Bamber had been saying June wanted to change her will to bypass him and Sheila, and leave her estate to the twins instead. The parents' estate included land and buildings occupied by Bamber's cousins, who were made aware, after the murders, that Bamber intended to the them.
Bamber argues that the family set him up, a claim that one murdders the group dismissed in as "an absolute murders of murders. Bamber launched two legal actions while in prison to secure a share of the estate, which the cousins said was part of an attempt to harass and vilify them.
The court ruled against him. On bar Augustthree days before the murders, Sheila and the boys arrived at White House Essex to spend murders week with June and Nevill.
The housekeeper saw Sheila that day and noticed nothing unusual. Two farm workers, Julie and Leonard Foakes, saw her the following day with her children and said she seemed happy. Bamber visited the farm on the evening of Tuesday, 6 August. He told murdres court that his parents suggested to Sheila that evening that the boys be placed in day-time foster care with a local family.
Bamber said Sheila did not seem bothered by the suggestion and had simply said she would rather stay in London. A farmworker heard Bamber leave around pm. She essex Nevill was short with her and seemed to hang up in irritation, something he had never done before; he was by all accounts an even-tempered man. She spoke to Sheila, who she said was quiet, then to June, who seemed normal.
Bamber told the court that, during his visit on 6 August, hours murders murdere murders, he had loaded the rifle, thinking he had heard rabbits outside, but hadn't used it. He had then left it on the kitchen table, with a full magazine and a box of essex, before leaving the house. Both had been on the brn in late July, according to a nephew, but Bamber said his father must have removed them in the meantime.
Nevill kept several guns at the farm. He was reportedly careful with them, cleaning them after use and securing them. Twenty-five shots were fired during the killing, so if the rifle was fully loaded to begin with, it esesx have been reloaded at least twice.
The court heard that the gun became harder to load with each cartridge; loading the tenth was described as "exceptionally hard".
The police said chairs and stools were overturned, and there was broken crockery, a broken sugar basin, and what looked like blood on the floor. A ceiling light lampshade had been broken. Nevill was found in the kitchen, dressed in pyjamas, lying over an overturned chair next to the fireplace, amid a scene suggestive of a struggle.
The remaining shots to his body had occurred from at least two feet away. Based on where the empty cartridges were found—three in the kitchen and one on the stairs—the police concluded that he had been shot four times upstairs, but had managed to get downstairs where a struggle took place, and during which he was hit several times with the rifle and shot again, this time fatally.
There were two wounds to his right side, and two to the top of his head, which would probably have resulted in unconsciousness. The left side of his lip was wounded, his jaw was fractured, and his teeth, neck and larynx were damaged. The pathologist said he "would not have been able to engage in purposeful talk", according to the Court of Appeal.
There were gunshot wounds to his left shoulder and left elbow. The linear marks were consistent with Mr Bamber having been struck with a long blunt object, possibly a gun. June's body and clothing were heavily bloodstained; she was found in her nightdress with bare feet.
The police believe she had been sitting up during part of the attack, based on the pattern of blood on her clothing. She was found lying on the floor by the door of the master bedroom.
She had been shot seven times. One shot to her forehead, between her eyes, was fired from under one foot away. That and another shot to the right side of her head would both have caused her death quickly, the court heard. There were also shots to the right side of her lower neck, her right forearm, and two injuries on the right side of her chest and right knee.
The boys were found in their beds in their own room formerly Sheila's room. They appeared to have been shot while in bed. The court heard that Daniel had been shot five times in the back of the head, four times with the gun held within one foot of his head, and once from over two feet away. Nicholas had been shot three times, all contact or close-proximity shots. Sheila was found on the floor of the master bedroom with her mother. She was in her nightdress, her feet were bare, and she had two bullet wounds under her chin, one of them on her throat.
The higher of the two would have killed her immediately. The lower injury would have killed her too, he said, but not necessarily straight away. Vanezis testified that it would be possible for a person with such an injury to stand up and walk around, but the lack of blood on her nightdress suggested to him that she had not done this. He believed that the lower of her injuries had happened first, because it had caused bleeding inside the neck; the court heard that if the immediately fatal wound had happened first, the bleeding would not have occurred to the same extent.
Vanesiz said that the pattern of bloodstains on her nightdress suggested she had been sitting up when she received both injuries. Blood and urine samples indicated that she had taken the anti-psychotic drug haloperidol, and several days earlier had used cannabis. There were no marks on her body suggestive of a struggle. The firearms officer who first saw her said her feet and hands were clean, her fingernails manicured and not broken, and her fingertips free of blood, dirt or powder.
There was no trace of lead dust. The rifle magazine would have been loaded at least twice during the killings; this would usually leave lubricant and material from the bullets on the hands. A scenes-of-crimes officer, DC Hammersley, said there were bloodstains on the back of her right hand, but that otherwise her hands were clean.
There was no blood on her feet or other debris, such as the sugar that was on the downstairs floor. Low traces of lead were found on her hands and forehead at postmortem, but the levels were consistent with the everyday handling of things around the house.
A scientist, Mr Elliott, testified that if she had loaded 18 cartridges into a magazine he would expect to see more lead on her hands.
The blood on her nightdress was consistent with her own, and no trace of firearm-discharge residue was on it. The rifle, without the silencer or sights attached, was lying on her body pointing up at her neck. June's Bible lay on the floor to the right of Sheila. It was normally kept in a bedside cupboard. June's fingerprints were on it, as were others that could not be identified, including one made by a child.
The police and media were at first convinced by the murder-suicide theory. DCI Thomas "Taff" Jones, deputy head of CID, was so sure Sheila had killed her family that he ordered Bamber's cousins out of his office when they asked him to consider whether Bamber had set the whole thing up. A farming family affectionately dubbed "The Archers" was slaughtered in a bloodbath yesterday. Brandishing a gun taken from her father's collection, deranged divorcee Sheila Bamber, 28, first shot her twin six-year-old sons.
She gunned down her father as he tried to phone for help. Then she murdered her mother before turning the automatic. The result of this certainty was that the investigation was poorly conducted. The crime scene was not secured and searched thoroughly, and evidence was not recorded or preserved. Within a couple of days, the police had burned the bloodstained bedding and carpets, apparently to spare Bamber's feelings.
The scenes-of-crime officer moved the murder weapon without wearing gloves, and it was not examined for fingerprints until weeks later. Three days after the killings, Bamber and the extended family were given back the keys to the house.
The police did not find the silencer in the cupboard. One of Bamber's cousins found it on 10 August, with what appeared to be flecks of red paint and blood, and took it to another of the cousin's homes; it took the police a further three days to collect it. A few days after that, it was the cousins who found a scratch on the red mantelpiece that the prosecution said was caused by the silencer during a struggle for the gun; that accounted for the fleck of red paint.
The Bible found near Sheila was not examined at all. Journalist David 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. The bodies were released days after the murders, and three of them June, Nevill and Sheila were cremated.
Bamber's clothes were not examined until one month later. Ten years later all blood samples were destroyed. After Bamber was convicted, the trial judge, Mr Justice Drake, expressed concern about the "less than thorough investigation". The inquest opened on 14 August The police gave evidence that it was a murder—suicide,  and the bodies were released.
The Bambers and Sheila were cremated; the boys were buried. Bamber's behaviour before and after the funeral increased suspicion among his family that he had been involved.
He sobbed during the funeral service for his parents and sister, and at one point seemed to buckle and had to be supported by his girlfriend. Several family members and friends alleged that, later at the wake, he was smiling and joking.
Shortly after the funerals, he travelled to Amsterdam with Mugford and a friend, where he bought a large quantity of cannabis; the travel agent who sold the tickets said the group had been in high spirits. A print from Sheila's right ring finger was found on the right side of the butt, pointing downwards. A print from Bamber's right forefinger was on the rear end of the barrel, above the stock and pointing across the gun.
He said he had used the gun to shoot rabbits. There were three other prints that could not be identified. The silencer was not on the gun when the police found the bodies. It was found by one of Bamber's cousins, three days after the murders, in the ground-floor office gun cupboard.
The prosecution maintained that the silencer had indeed been on the gun, and that this meant Sheila could not have shot herself. Forensic tests indicated that her arms were not long enough to turn the gun on herself with the silencer attached.
If Sheila was not the killer, it meant Bamber had lied about the telephone call from his father saying Sheila had "gone berserk" with the gun. That put Bamber himself in the frame. The police searched the gun cupboard on the day of the murders but found nothing. Three days later, on 10 August, Bamber's extended family visited the farm with Basil Cock, the estate's executor.
During that visit, one of the cousins, David Boutflour, found the silencer and rifle sights in the gun cupboard. The court heard that this was witnessed by Boutflour's father and sister, as well as by Basil Cock and the farm secretary. Instead of alerting the police, the family took the silencer to Boutflour's sister's home.
When the police collected the silencer from them on 12 August, five days after the murders, an officer reportedly noticed an inch-long grey hair attached to it, but this had gone by the time the silencer arrived at the Forensic Science Service at Huntingdon. The blood inside was found to be the same blood group as Sheila's, although it could have been a mixture of Nevill's and June's. The cousins went back to the farmhouse to search for the source of the red paint on the silencer.
In the kitchen they found marks in the red paint on the underside of the mantelpiece above the Aga cooker. This was found to contain the same 15 layers of paint and varnish that were in the paint flake found on the silencer.
Casts were taken of the marks on the mantel, and the marks were deemed consistent with the silencer having come into contact several times with the mantelpiece. On 7 September , a month after the murders, Bamber's girlfriend, Julie Mugford, changed her statement to police, now alleging that Bamber had been planning to kill his family.
As a result of her second statement, Bamber was arrested the following day. Bamber and Mugford had started dating in , when she was 19 and studying for a degree in education at Goldsmith's College in London.
She had taken a holiday job in Sloppy Joe's, a pizzeria in Colchester, where Jeremy had a bar job in the evenings. Mugford was at first supportive of Bamber. Photographs of his parents' and Sheila's funeral show him weeping and hanging onto her arm. She said she had been tired and had not asked what was wrong. Her position changed the following month. She had had a series of rows with Bamber.
He seemed to want to end the relationship, and they had argued about his involvement in the murders. She told him he was a psychopath and at one point tried to smother him with a pillow. Mugford smashed a mirror and slapped Bamber; he twisted her arm up her back. In the second statement, she alleged that, between July and October , Bamber had said he wished he could "get rid of them all". He said his sister had nothing to live for, and that the twins were disturbed.
That his parents were paying for Sheila's expensive flat in Maida Vale annoyed him, she said. He reportedly said Sheila would make a good scapegoat. Mugford alleged he had discussed cycling along the back roads to the house, entering the house through the kitchen window because the catch was broken, and leaving it via a different window that latched when it was shut from the outside. He claimed to have killed rats with his bare hands to test whether he was able to kill, but he said it had taught him that he would not be able to kill his family, although he allegedly continued to talk about doing so.
Mugford said she had spent the weekend before the murders with Bamber in his cottage in Goldhanger, where he had dyed his hair black. She had seen his mother's bicycle there, she said; the prosecution later alleged that he had used this bicycle to cycle between his cottage and the farmhouse on the night of the murders, to avoid being seen in his car on the road. Something is wrong at the farm. I haven't had any sleep all night He called her later in the morning to tell her that Sheila had gone mad, and that a police car was coming to pick her up.
When she arrived with the police at Bamber's cottage, she said he had pulled her to one side and said: "I should have been an actor. Later on the evening of 7 August, she asked Bamber whether he had done it. He said no, but that a friend of his had, whom he named; the man was a plumber the family had used in the past. Bamber allegedly said he had told this friend how he could enter and leave the farmhouse undetected, and that one of his instructions had been for the friend to telephone him from the farm on one of the phones in the house that had a memory redial facility, so that if the police checked it, it would give him an alibi.
Everything had gone as planned, he said, except that Nevill had put up a fight, and the friend had become angry and shot him seven times. The friend had allegedly told Sheila to lie down and shoot herself last, Bamber said. The friend then placed the Bible on her chest so she appeared to have killed herself in a religious frenzy. The children were shot in their sleep, he said. A letter dated 26 September from the assistant director of public prosecutions who prepared the case against Bamber suggests that Mugford not be prosecuted for the burglary, the cheque fraud, and for a further offence of selling cannabis.
She subsequently testified against Bamber during his trial in October The judge told the jury that they could convict Bamber on Mugford's testimony alone. As a result of Mugford's statement, Bamber was arrested on 8 September , as was the friend Mugford said he had implicated, although the latter had a solid alibi and was released.
Bamber told police Mugford was lying because he had jilted her. He said he loved his parents and sister, and denied that they had kept him short of money; he said the only reason he had broken into the caravan site with Mugford was to prove that security was poor.
He said he had occasionally gained entry to the farmhouse through a downstairs window, and had used a knife to move the catches from the outside.
He also said he had seen his parents' wills, and that they had left the estate to be shared between him and Sheila.
As for the rifle, he told police the gun was used mostly with the silencer off because it would otherwise not fit in its case. He said he did this because he had left his keys in London and needed some papers from the house for the trip to France; he entered through the window rather than borrow keys from the farm's housekeeper who lived nearby. When he returned to England on 29 September, he was arrested at Dover and charged with the murders.
The trial, which lasted 18 days, opened on 3 October before Maurice Drake and a jury of seven men and five women at Chelmsford Crown Court. At one point when prosecutors accused him of lying, he replied: "That is what you have got to establish. Later, perhaps in the early hours of the morning of 7 August, he had returned to the farm on his mother's bicycle—which he had borrowed a few days earlier—cycling along a route that avoided the main roads and approaching the house from the back.
He had entered the house through a downstairs bathroom window, taken the rifle with the silencer attached, and gone upstairs. He had shot June in her bed, but she managed to get up and walk a few steps before collapsing and dying. He had shot Nevill in the bedroom too, but Nevill was able to get downstairs where he and Bamber fought in the kitchen, before Bamber shot him four times, twice in his temple and twice into the top of his head.
He had shot Sheila in the main bedroom, next to her mother, and had shot the children in their beds as they slept. They argued that Bamber had then set about arranging the scene to make it appear that Sheila was the killer. He discovered that she could not have reached the trigger with the silencer attached, so he removed it and returned it to the gun cupboard, then placed a Bible next to her body to introduce a religious theme.
He removed the kitchen phone from its hook, left the house via a kitchen window, perhaps after showering, and banged the window from the outside so that the catch dropped back into position. He had then cycled on his mother's bicycle. To create a delay before the bodies were discovered, he had not called , had driven slowly to the farmhouse, and had told police that his sister was familiar with guns, so that they would be reluctant to enter.
The prosecution argued that Bamber had not received a telephone call from his father, that Nevill was too badly injured after the first shots to have spoken to anyone, that there was no blood on the kitchen phone that had been left off the hook, and that Nevill would have called the police before calling Bamber.
They also argued that, had Bamber really received such a call, he would have dialled , alerted the farm workers, then made his way quickly there himself. The silencer played a central role. It was deemed to have been on the rifle when it was fired, because of the blood found inside it.
The prosecution said the blood had come from Sheila's head when the silencer was pointed at her. Had she discovered that she could not shoot herself with the silencer attached, the court heard, it would have been found next to her body; she had no reason to return it to the gun cupboard.
That she had carried out the killings was further discounted because, it was argued, she had not recently expressed suicidal thoughts; the expert evidence was that she would not have harmed her children or father; she had no interest in or knowledge of guns; she lacked the strength to overcome her father; and there was no evidence on her clothes or body that she had moved around the crime scene or been involved in a struggle.
In particular, her long fingernails had remained intact. The defence maintained that the witnesses who said Bamber disliked his family were lying or had misinterpreted his words. Mugford had lied about Bamber's confession, they said, because he had betrayed her, and she wanted to stop him from being with anyone else. No one had seen Bamber cycle to and from the farm. There were no marks on him on the night in question that suggested he had been in a fight.
No blood-stained clothing of his was recovered. He had not driven to the farm as quickly as he could have after his father telephoned because he was afraid, they said.
There was no probative value in the finding of a hacksaw in the garden, because Bamber had entered the house via the windows many times, before the killing and since. The defence argued that Sheila was the killer, and that she did know how to handle guns, because she had been raised on a farm and had attended shoots when she was younger. She had a very serious mental illness, had told a psychiatrist she felt capable of killing her children, and the loaded rifle and cartridges had been left on the kitchen table by Bamber.
There had been a recent family argument about placing the children in foster care. He said he had feared for the safety of people around her. He also said Sheila had a "deep and intense dislike" of June, her adoptive mother. There was also a possibility that the blood in the silencer was not hers, but was a mixture of Nevill's and June's. The judge told the jury that there were three crucial points, in no particular order. Did they believe Julie Mugford or Jeremy Bamber? Were they sure that Sheila was not the killer who then committed suicide?
He said this question involved another: was the second, fatal, shot fired at Sheila with the silencer on? If yes, she could not have fired it. Finally, did Nevill call Bamber in the middle of the night?
If there was no such call, it undermined the entirety of Bamber's story; the only reason he would have had to invent the phone call was that he was responsible for the murders.
After deliberating for nine-and-a-half hours, the jury found Bamber guilty on 28 October by a majority of ten to two; had one more juror supported him, he would not have been convicted. Sentencing him to five life terms, with a recommendation that he serve a minimum of 25 years,  the judge told him: "Your conduct in planning and carrying out the killing of five members of your family was evil, almost beyond belief. Bamber first sought leave to appeal in November , arguing that the judge had misdirected the jury.
The application was heard and refused by Mr Justice Caulfield in April Rivlin also argued that the defence had not pressed Julie Mugford about her dealings with the media, but should have, because as soon as the trial was over her story began to appear in newspapers.
Because the trial judge had criticized the police investigation, Essex Police held an internal inquiry, conducted by Detective Chief Superintendent Dickinson. Bamber alleged this report confirmed that evidence had been withheld by the police, so he made a formal complaint, which was investigated in by the City of London Police.
The process uncovered more documentation, which Bamber used to petition the Home Secretary in September for a referral back to the Court of Appeal,   refused in July During this process, the Home Office declined to give Bamber the expert evidence it had obtained, so Bamber applied for judicial review of their decision in November , which resulted in the Home Office handing over the evidence.
He said he had not been aware that the case was ongoing. In March the CCRC referred the case to the Court of Appeal because of the discovery of DNA inside the silencer; this was found as a result of a test not available in and constituted fresh evidence. Bamber brought 16 issues to the attention of the court. Two grounds 14 and 15 related to the silencer and DNA testing; the rest were about failure to disclose evidence or the fabrication of evidence.
The defence withdrew ground 11 "the proposed purchase of a Porsche by the appellant". Although all the grounds except 11 were reviewed by the court, the reason for the referral to the Court of Appeal was ground 15, the discovery of DNA on the silencer, the result of a test not available in He had found a "considerable amount of blood" inside the silencer; he had stated that it was human blood and that the blood group was consistent with it having come from Sheila.
He said there was a "remote possibility" that it was a mixture of blood from Nevill and June. Mark Webster, an expert instructed by Bamber's defence team, argued that Hayward's tests had been inadequate, and that there was a real possibility, not a remote one, that the blood had come from Nevill and June. If she was shot with the silencer on the gun, it meant that someone else had shot her. If her blood was inside the silencer, it supported the prosecution's position that she had been shot by another party, but if the blood inside the silencer belonged to someone else, that part of the prosecution case collapsed.
The defence argued that new tests comparing DNA in the silencer to a sample from Sheila's biological mother suggested that the "major component" of the DNA in the silencer had not come from Sheila. The judges' conclusion was that the results were complex, incomplete, and also meaningless because they did not establish how June's DNA came to be in the silencer years after the trial, did not establish that Sheila's was not in it, and did not lead to a conclusion that Bamber's conviction was unsafe.
Allison became one of the campaign's patrons. He changed his mind in and said he believed Bamber was guilty. The defence disputed the location of Sheila's body. The police said they found her upstairs with her mother. According to early police logs, PC Laurence Collins initially reported seeing through a window what he thought was the body of a woman near the kitchen door, but he later radioed that it was in fact a man.
They argued that she was alive when Bamber was standing outside the house with the police, shot herself in the kitchen just as the police entered, then ran up one of the staircases to the bedroom, where she shot herself again, this time fatally. The defence argued that the first officers to enter the farmhouse had inadvertently disturbed the crime scene, then reconstructed it. Crime-scene photographs not made available to the original defence show Sheila's right arm and hand in slightly different positions in relation to the gun, which is lying across her body.
The gun itself also appears to have moved. Former Lancashire Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Gradwell, shown the photographs by the Guardian and Observer , said in "The evidence shows, or portrays, Essex police having damaged the scene, and then having staged it again to make it look like it was originally.
And if that has happened, and that hasn't been disclosed, that is really, really serious. That the gun had a silencer on it during the murders was central to the prosecution's case.
With the silencer, the gun was too long for Sheila to have turned the gun on herself. That the silencer was found in the gun cupboard was important to the prosecution, because Sheila had no reason to return it to the cupboard before killing herself.
But that it was found by one of the cousins who inherited part of the estate—days after the police had searched the house blighted the prosecution's case, even though it was accepted by a majority of the jury.
Post-trial, Bamber and his lawyers have sought since to demolish the silencer evidence. According to Carol Ann Lee, in her book The Murders at White House Farm , Bamber said in April that DCI Jones had found the silencer under a bed on 7 August , the day of the murders, and had placed it in the gun cupboard for safekeeping, according to a statement Bamber said he had seen. The Essex police called this "total nonsense" in a letter to the Crown Prosecution Service, and Bamber was never able to produce the statement.
Lee writes that the silencer evidence became confused because of the way the exhibit was named. The name changes led to confusion in later documents, giving the impression that more than one silencer had been found. According to The Times in , Bamber said he intended to show that the police had taken four silencers from his family members, including the one in the gun cupboard, and that evidence and paperwork from them—and from an additional laboratory silencer—was mixed up.
Bamber's lawyers commissioned gun experts, in or around , to examine photographs of the bodies and the silencer evidence. Only daughter Beverley J Patience , aged 20 at the time of the shooting identified GH Ince, although it was revealed that she had been shown a photo of him beforehand by police, conveniently.
Bob was in partnership in the Barn restaurant with a seaman school friend who only died in , Ronald W. Rendle b. Ron Rendle was released from the Navy on 31 January and returned to his prewar career in local government. He also went into business running the Barn nightclub in Braintree with his old friend, Bob Patience, who had supplied him with film when he was in HMS Bickerton.
Bob started the Ranch House in the s and the Barns in the s. Bob would not allow proceedings to get under way until Ron arrived from daytime job in local government when he would announce "now that Ronald Walter William Rendle is here we can start". All the stars of the day played at the Barns and Ron knew them all.