Bamber slaughtered family with 25 bullets then told girlfriend ‘It’s all going well…’ After years of investigation a leading author can tell exactly what happened on the night of the White House Farm massacre
Book marks 30th anniversary of one of most brutal crimes in Britain . He was convicted of killing his adoptive parents, sister and twin-nephews. Bamber says he is innocent but has lost three appeals against conviction
Here, The true story was recreated. The the full story
Next month sees the 30th anniversary of one of the most brutal crimes ever seen in Britain – the cold-blooded slaughter of three generations of his family by Jeremy Bamber, who stood to inherit the family fortune.
The official police account of how he killed his adoptive parents, sister and her twin sons was presented to the Director of Public Prosecutions in November 1985, but Bamber still insists he is innocent and has so far lost three appeals against his conviction. He claims that his schizophrenic sister, Sheila Caffell, killed their parents and six-year-old sons, before turning the gun on herself.
Now crime writer Carol Ann Lee has reinvestigated the murders with Bamber’s full co-operation.
Over the course of three years she has studied thousands of documents and interviewed detectives who worked on the case to create this reconstruction of what really happened at White House Farm. And she concludes there can only be one killer…
On August 6, 1985, Jeremy Bamber worked at the family’s farm at Tolleshunt D’Arcy, Essex, from 7.30am until 9.30pm. He took several breaks, including one that evening when he found his parents, Nevill and June, and his sister, Sheila, in the kitchen having supper.
Bamber later claimed that the conversation revolved around Sheila’s treatment for schizophrenia and the future of her children – six-year-old twins Nicholas and Daniel – and whether they should be adopted. One former policeman believes Bamber instigated a discussion about the twins in order to cause friction between Sheila and her parents, who disapproved of her lifestyle – Sheila, a model, had become pregnant out of wedlock and was now divorced.
Another suggests that Bamber was so angered by Nevill and June’s idea that Sheila and the children should move into Bourtree Cottage three miles away in Goldhanger – where he had lived for a year and on which he had lavished considerable expense – that he decided to carry out his long-planned murder plot that night.
Bamber then claimed he spotted two rabbits near the potato barn and set out with a rifle to shoot them – a story regarded as spurious by most involved in the investigation. Whether he left the gun in the scullery as he said, with the magazine on the settle nearby, is also thought unlikely given that Nevill did not normally allow guns there. Certainly, the telescopic sight had been removed from the rifle and a silencer attached.
We do know that Bamber left the farmhouse for Bourtree Cottage at about 9.30pm – neighbour Dorothy Foakes heard his car speeding down the lane. By then, all was not well at the farm.
Nevill was uncharacteristically brusque with his secretary Barbara Wilson when she phoned just after 9.30pm, and neither June nor Sheila were themselves when Pamela Boutflour, June’s sister, called just before 10pm. Barbara was under the impression that she had interrupted a row.
Dorothy’s husband Len was the last person to see any member of the household alive. At about 10.15pm he saw Nevill on his tractor, collecting the last of the rapeseed harvest. The house was fully secured on the ground floor that night. Two external doors had been bolted from the inside and the rear door was fastened with a mortice lock.
All ground-floor windows were fastened except the dairy window, which was protected by a metal mesh. Upstairs, the window in Nevill and June’s bedroom was slightly open at the top.
Bamber telephoned his girlfriend Julie Mugford from Bourtree Cottage at about 10pm. He sounded angry, telling her: ‘I’ve been thinking on the tractor and the crime will have to be tonight or never.’
Aware that he was talking about killing his entire family, Julie told him not to be stupid.
At the end of the 20-minute conversation, he told her she might hear from him later, although Julie ‘thought nothing of this’.
Bamber later described how, after ending the call, he had something to eat and watched TV before going to bed at about 11.30pm. None of his neighbours heard anything from him. A local man noticed a number of cars outside Bourtree Cottage at midnight, including Bamber’s, but couldn’t remember if any lights were on inside the house.
But some time that night, probably at around 11pm or later, Bamber collected his mother’s bicycle – which he’d brought home a few days earlier – and headed to the farm. Whatever he wore, he had time afterwards to get rid of his clothing and shoes.
The route along Maldon Road from Goldhanger to Tolleshunt D’Arcy took no more than 15 minutes. An approach from the front of the house was too risky; it was safer for Jeremy to dismount in the back garden, leaving the bicycle there before pulling on gloves and some sort of mask.
Using a hacksaw blade to slip the catch on the downstairs shower room window was easy. It was harder to avoid the wooden slats of the cellar entrance directly below the window outside, which would have made a loud noise if stepped on in the dead of night.
Sash windows do not open silently either, but Bamber managed to get into the house without alerting either the labrador in the garage or his mother’s dog indoors. After gaining entry, he took the kitchen phone off the hook, disabling all the farmhouse telephones, including the one on Nevill’s bedside table.
The rifle was where Jeremy had left it earlier that evening.
Climbing the stairs, he steeled himself to kill the greatest threats first: his father and his mother. A thin film of moonlight glimmered through the curtains in the master bedroom where his parents lay sleeping. He stood in the doorway, lifted the rifle and fired. The first two shots pierced June’s chest. Another shot hit her in the arm and a fourth travelled up inside her leg, lodging in her knee.
The terrible impact woke Nevill, who lurched out of bed. Bamber then turned the gun on his father, firing four shots: two bullets penetrated his forearm and shoulder, and two tore into his lip and jaw.
Bamber left the room, heading down the first flight of stairs and through the corridor to the twins’ bedroom, firing one shot into each slumbering child. With all ten cartridges expended, he made his way down to the kitchen to reload.
He managed to slot four cartridges into the magazine before his father stumbled into the room. A fierce fight for possession of the weapon then ensued: they fell against the table, knocking it into the dresser and sending crockery to the floor. The rifle struck the overhead lampshade, shattering it.
The struggle eventually came to a brutal end near the Aga.
As Nevill collapsed over a chair, Jeremy brought the gun down on his skull, then fired four shots into his head. The last trapped the empty cartridge case in the ejection port. Bamber removed the magazine and loaded it to its full capacity, then inserted it into the magazine well.
Climbing the stairs again, he cleared the jammed cartridge by working the bolt. It fell out, rolling towards the skirting board on the landing.
While father and son were fighting in the kitchen, June had managed to force herself up from the bed. The commotion had also woken Sheila, who crossed the landing to her parents’ bedroom, drowsy and confused. At the sight of her mother bleeding profusely, Sheila rushed to the other side of the room – the quickest route to the twins. June staggered around the bed after her, but before she could reach Sheila, Jeremy returned with the gun.
Sheila froze. June started towards her son, who fired three more shots into her neck, head, and finally between the eyes. Jeremy then forced Sheila down beside the bed and shot her once in the throat.
With six cartridges left in the rifle, he headed back down the corridor where he fired two further shots into Nicholas and four into Daniel, emptying the magazine.
The element of ‘overkill’ would help his story that Sheila, in the grip of psychosis, was the guilty party.
He then retraced his footsteps to the master bedroom, intending to finish setting the scene. To his shock he found his sister incapacitated but still alive. He returned to the kitchen, loading a single cartridge into the magazine. Upstairs once more, he crouched down and took aim.
The bullet went into Sheila’s brain, killing her instantly. He then placed his mother’s Bible at his sister’s side, unscrewed the silencer and positioned the rifle on her body.
After showering, he changed into new clothes from his old bedroom, pushing the others into a bag for disposal later. He placed the silencer in a box in the ‘den’ cupboard, since to dispose of it might raise questions about its whereabouts.
To account for his father’s death downstairs and the fact that he hadn’t been able to use the bedside telephone, Jeremy hid the kitchen telephone in a pile of magazines, then placed the bedroom telephone on the kitchen work surface. He dialled his own number, pressing the cradle to cut the call, and left the receiver off the hook. Clearing the area around the sink, he climbed out of the window, banging it shut, causing the lock to fall into place, before returning home on the bicycle.
Bamber called Julie just after 3am, choosing his words carefully: ‘Everything is going well, not to worry, there is something wrong at the farm.’ Then he rang Chelmsford Police Station, telling an officer: ‘You’ve got to help me, my father has just phoned me saying, “Please come over, your sister has gone crazy and has the gun,” then the phone went dead. My father sounded terrified. I don’t think he was kidding.’
‘Where does your father live?’ the officer asked.
‘White House Farm, Tolleshunt D’Arcy…’
The experts consulted don’t agree on every point. Indeed, there are puzzles and inconsistencies throughout the case. It is notable, for example, that no one can satisfactorily explain burn marks found on Nevill’s back. It demonstrates there are often questions that cannot be answered – except by the killer.
Culled from the Daily Mail, Uk
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