1. ITV Report

Jeremy Bamber: White House Farm killer claims innocence in previously unseen letter

Jeremy Bamber (left) has restated his innocence in letters sent to a journalist (top right). White House Farm (bottom right), where the killings took place. Credit: ITV News/ PA
  • Words by Multimedia Producer Charlie Bayliss

Convicted killer Jeremy Bamber, the subject of the new ITV drama White House Farm, has restated his claim of innocence of the murders of five of his family members in a letter sent to an ITV News journalist.

Bamber was convicted of shooting dead his adoptive parents, Nevill and June Bamber, his adoptive sister Sheila Cafell, and her six-year old twins, Daniel and Nicholas in the family home of White House Farm in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex, in August 1985.

Bamber, now 58, has always maintained his innocence.

Police initially believed Cafell, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, had shot and killed her family before she turned the weapon on herself.

However, Bamber became a suspect after his then-girlfriend told police he had been after his inheritance.

During his trial, a gun silencer found at the scene was pivotal to Bamber's conviction, however, a 2018 letter from the head of special crime at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) raises questions over this piece of evidence.

Concerns raised at the time by a forensic scientist also question its reliability. In 1986, the jury was told that blood found on the silencer belonged to Ms Cafell.

They were also told the length on the rifle - which was the murder weapon - when the silencer was attached to it which meant Caffell could not have shot herself, and that she also could not have placed the silencer back in a cupboard afterwards.

First page written by Bamber from prison. Credit: ITV News

A week before the trial, the head of biology at Huntingdon Science Laboratories wrote to Essex Police saying the results of tests carried out on the silencer showed that the blood found on it could have come from Sheila Caffell or Robert Boutflour.

Boutflour was June Bamber's brother-in-law, and has since passed away. He had been a regular visitor to White House Farm and had been on a number of shooting trips, Bamber claims.

Despite the earlier statement sent to Essex Police, a forensic scientist who had examined the results for Huntingdon Science Laboratories told the jury that only Sheila Caffell's blood was found in the silencer.

The White House farm, where the murders took place. Credit: PA

Also, a Daily Mail article from September 17, 1985 stated "a silencer was found by police" at the farm house where the killings took place, while a Daily Mirror article from the time claimed "police found a bloodstained gun silencer on the day of the massacre".

However, during the trial it was officially ruled by Mr Justice Drake that Boutflour found a silencer a few days after the killing, after going to the house.

Bamber argues that the conflicting news reports could suggest there may be a second silencer which the jury was not told about.

Second page written by Bamber from prison. Credit: ITV News

In a letter sent to an ITV News journalist in 2018, Bamber claimed the head of the special crime unit at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Frank Ferguson, was "always going to be reluctant to fulfil the CPS obligation re disclosure and admit that my case featured two silencers".

He added: "To do so would be an admission that there was no evidence to suggest that Sheila had not committed suicide."

In May 2018, Bamber's lawyer Mark Newby received a letter from Ferguson.

Third page of a letter Bamber penned from prison. Credit: ITV News
Fourth page of a letter which Bamber penned from prison. Credit: ITV News

He had written to the prosecutors' office on the issue of two silencers being examined in the case but the jury only being told about one.

Although Ferguson stated "there is no documentary evidence either provided or referred to which supports the existence of a second silencer", he added: "Any evidence that suggests that there was or may have been another silencer for the rifle would raise the possibility that the other silencer was used during the shooting and not the one alleged by the prosecution.

"Such a possibility would significantly undermine the case against JB [Jeremy Bamber] and any material supporting such a possibility would plainly be material which casts doubt on the safety of the conviction."

ITV News approached the CPS for a response to Bamber's claims concerning non-disclosure of evidence, but they were unable to comment due to an upcoming judicial review into the matter.

  • White House Farm airs on ITV One at 9pm on January 29, 2020