New twist in Bamber case

THE conviction of mass killer Jeremy Bamber may be one of the great miscarriages of justice from recent years, it has been claimed. During a debate at the House of Commons yesterday Bamber's MP, Andrew Hunter, called for the Government to look seriously at the case and the "behaviour and attitude" of Essex Police.

THE conviction of mass killer Jeremy Bamber may be one of the great miscarriages of justice from recent years, it has been claimed.

During a debate at the House of Commons yesterday Bamber's MP, Andrew Hunter, called for the Government to look seriously at the case and the "behaviour and attitude" of Essex Police.

Bamber was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1986 for the murder of his adoptive parents, Nevill and June, his schizophrenic sister Sheila and her twin six-year-old sons, Nicholas and Daniel.

Their bloodstained bodies were found at White House Farm in Tolleshunt D'arcy on an August morning in 1985. They had all been shot.

But Bamber, now 44, has always protested his innocence and despite two failed bids to have the convictions overturned at the Court of Appeal, the case is being probed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Originally detectives worked on the assumption Ms Caffell - a model known as Bambi - had shot everybody in the house before killing herself.

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But the focus later shifted to Bamber with the police citing a sizeable inheritance as his motive.

In yesterday's adjournment debate Mr Hunter, MP for Basingstoke, said evidence which has emerged in the last 12 months gave him "grave concerns" about the safety of the conviction.

He also called for Bamber's defence team to be given access - so far denied - to notebooks of the inspector who headed the inquiry, audio tapes describing the scene of the crime and to the original radio and telephone message logs and the incident report.

Mr Hunter said a police log of radio communications from the morning of the killings in August 1985 - not available at the trial - revealed details inconsistent to the case put by the prosecution at the trial.

He said the logs proved Bamber was outside with the police when they engaged in conversation with someone inside the house, therefore proving he could not have killed everyone inside.

Mr Hunter added: "If the police were in conversation with someone inside the farm at 5.25am, the case against Bamber collapses.

"He could not have murdered everyone in the farmhouse before 3.00am if at 5.25am the police were talking to one of his supposed victims.

"If, on the other hand, the police were in conversation with some 'third party' inside the house, the judge's ruling that either Jeremy or Sheila and no-one else could have committed the murders is blatantly wrong.

"However, neither trial judge nor prosecution nor defence had an opportunity to evaluate the 5.25am entry because the police had withheld it."

Mr Hunter became Bamber's MP after he received a letter from prison asking him to look at the case.

He said yesterday he had always harboured doubts about the safety of the conviction.

He added: "It is now time for the Home Office to take matters seriously and look very closely not only at the few points which I have made but also at the whole 'Bamber affair', in particular the issue of non-disclosure and the behaviour and attitude of Essex Constabulary.

"Such action is necessary to avoid perpetuating what a growing number of people fear may be one of the greatest miscarriages of justice of our time."

Mr Hunter also claimed the case was flawed because: -

n Recently released photos of Sheila Caffell's body show she could have still been alive in the farm house long after Bamber arrived on the scene - proving he could not have killed her.

n The non-disclosure of evidence by the police until recently, including more crime scene photos and last year's release of the radio logs.

Home office minister Fiona McTaggarttold Mr Hunter it was "not appropriate" for the Home Secretary to interfere in the matter as the Criminal Case Review Commission was considering it.

She also read the ruling from the Court of Appeal judges in 2002 which stated the jury had reached the verdict "they were entitled to" in light of the evidence they had been presented at Chelmsford Crown Court in 1986.

A spokesman for Essex Police said yesterday they could not comment on the case because it was being looked at by the Criminal Case Review Commission.

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