Jeremy Bamber launches new appeal to clear his name over White House Farm murders
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Jeremy Bamber is launching a new appeal to the High Court in a bid to have his murder convictions overturned.
The 59-year-old is serving life behind bars after being found guilty of murdering his adoptive parents, sister and two nephews – both aged six – at the family home in White House Farm, Essex, in 1985.
Mr Bamber has continually protested his innocence following their deaths, and claims his sister, Sheila Caffell – who suffered from schizophrenia – shot her family before turning the gun on herself.
Police had initially believed Mr Bamber’s version of events, however prosecutors later argued a silencer attached to the murder weapon meant she would not have been able to pull the trigger on herself.
He was later sentenced in 1986 for the murders of Nevill and June Bamber, both 61, Miss Caffell, and twins Daniel and Nicholas.
However Bamber’s lawyers now claim the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had not disclosed material about a second silencer said to have been found at the farm, which they argue is relevant to his latest attempt to overturn his conviction.
Joe Stone QC, representing Bamber, told a remote High Court hearing on Friday that “it now seems almost certain that there is a second sound moderator”, suggesting it could be the “most important exhibit in the case” and “significantly undermine the prosecution”.
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Mr Stone told Mr Justice Julian Knowles: “The prosecution case at trial was based exclusively on the point that there was only ever one sound moderator and that the specific factual circumstances in which this sound moderator was found and the nature of the blood grouping on it meant that Sheila Caffell could not have committed the murders and then taken her life.”
He added Mr Bamber would be “significantly handicapped” in mounting a fresh bid to overturn his conviction through the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the independent body which investigates possible miscarriages of justice, without the evidence sought.
He also argued that “blood-based exhibits from Sheila Caffell’s DNA were destroyed by Essex Police in February 1996” as part of a “systematic destruction of core exhibits”.
Annabel Darlow QC, for the CPS, said in written submissions that claims of a second silencer had been looked into “extremely intensively”.
Ms Darlow added: “The alleged existence of two sound moderators, and the integrity of the exhibits relating to the examination of the sound moderator, have been the subject of exhaustive inquiry and review.”
She said the CPS “does not accept that the documents now sought were not previously disclosed or made available to the claimant”.
Mr Justice Julian Knowles reserved his judgement on Bamber’s application and said he hopes to give a written ruling next week.