Jeremy Bamber

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Jeremy Bamber
Jeremy Bamber.jpg
Jeremy Paul Marsham

(1961-01-13) 13 January 1961 (age 59)
London, England
Criminal penaltyWhole life order (convicted 28 October 1986)

Jeremy Nevill Bamber (born Jeremy Paul Marsham; 13 January 1961) is an English mass murderer who was convicted of the 1985 White House Farm murders in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex. Bamber's victims included his parents, Nevill and June Bamber; his sister, Sheila Caffell; and his sister's six-year-old twin sons, Daniel and Nicholas Caffell.[1][2] Returning a majority verdict, the jury found that, after committing the murders to secure a large inheritance, Bamber had placed the rifle in the hands of his 28-year-old sister, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, to make the scene appear to be a murder–suicide.[3]

Bamber is serving life imprisonment under a whole life tariff,[4][5] and is the only such prisoner to assert his innocence.[6] He has repeatedly applied unsuccessfully to have his conviction overturned or his whole life tariff removed; his extended family remain convinced of his guilt.[4] The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) referred the case to the Court of Appeal in 2001, which upheld the conviction in 2002. The appeal was rejected and the CCRC rejected further applications from Bamber in 2004 and 2012, having not identified any new evidence or legal argument capable of raising a real possibility that his conviction would be quashed.[7]

Early life[edit]

Adoption, education[edit]

Jeremy Bamber was born Jeremy Paul Marsham at St Mary Abbot's Hospital, Kensington, London,[8] to Juliet Dorothy Wheeler (born 1938 in Leicester),[9] a vicar's daughter who had had an affair with British Army Sergeant Major Leslie Brian Marsham (born 1931 in Tendring, Essex),[10] a controller at Buckingham Palace.[11][12] Wheeler gave the baby up for adoption in 1961, the year of his birth, through the Church of England Children's Society. Nevill and June Bamber adopted Bamber when he was six months old. It was only after his conviction that his biological parents were told by reporters that Bamber was their son. They were by then married to each other and working at Buckingham Palace.[13]

The Bambers were wealthy farmers who lived in a large Georgian house at White House Farm, near Tolleshunt D'Arcy in Essex. Nevill was a local magistrate and former RAF pilot. In 1957, four years before adopting Jeremy, the couple had adopted a baby girl, Sheila.[14]

Bamber attended St Nicholas Primary, followed by Maldon Court, a private prep school. In September 1970 he was sent to Gresham's School, a boarding school in Holt, Norfolk.[15] Bamber left Gresham's with no qualifications, much to Nevill's anger, but managed to pass seven O-levels at sixth form college in Colchester, which he left in 1978.[16] Brett Collins, a former close friend of Bamber's, claims Bamber was sexually assaulted when he was 11, around the time he started at Gresham's. According to Collins, Bamber went on to have sexual relationships with men and women, finding that his good looks and charm made him popular with both.[17]f>


After leaving school Nevill financed a trip for Bamber to Australia, where he took a scuba diving course, and to New Zealand. In New Zealand, according to Collins, Bamber was "ripped off" by a would-be heroin dealer in Auckland.[18] Bamber reportedly boasted of smuggling heroin overseas and broke into a jewellery shop to steal two expensive watches, one of which he gave to a girlfriend back in the UK. One of Bamber's cousins claimed that he ended up leaving New Zealand in a hurry after friends of his had been involved in an armed robbery.[19]

Bamber returned to the UK and worked in restaurants and bars, which included working as a waiter in a Little Chef on the A12; but he later agreed to return home and work on his father's farm.[19] Although Bamber reportedly resented the low wages, he was given a car and lived rent-free in a cottage his father owned at 9 Head Street, Goldhanger, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) from his family's farmhouse at White House Farm. He also owned eight percent of his family's caravan site, Osea Road Camp Sites Ltd., in Maldon.[20] A few weeks before the murders, Bamber broke into and robbed the caravan park; this was only revealed following the murders, when he admitted to the robbery after his girlfriend Julie Mugford came forward as a witness against him.[21]

White House Farm murders[edit]

White House Farm in 2007

Bamber claims he alerted police to the shootings at around 3:30 am on 7 August 1985. He contests to have told them Nevill had telephoned him to say that Bamber's sister, Sheila Caffell, had gone "berserk" with Nevill's rifle. When police entered the farmhouse at White House Farm, Caffell was found dead on the floor of her parents' bedroom with the rifle up against her throat. June was found in the same room. Caffell's six-year-old twin sons, Nicholas and Daniel, were found in their beds in another upstairs room, while Nevill was found in the kitchen downstairs. The family had been shot a total of twenty-five times, mostly at close range.[4]

Sheila had spent time in a psychiatric hospital being treated for schizophrenia months before the murders. The police believed that she was responsible until Mugford told them he had implicated himself.[4] The prosecution argued that there was no evidence that Bamber's father had telephoned him, stating that Nevill was too badly injured to have spoken to anyone; that there was no blood on the kitchen phone; and that he would have called the police, not Bamber. They also argued that the silencer was on the rifle when the shots were fired, and that Caffell's reach was not long enough to hold the gun and silencer at her throat and press the trigger. In addition Sheila was not strong enough, they said, to have overcome Nevill in what appeared to have been a violent struggle in the kitchen. They also argued that the fact she had shot herself twice in her apparent suicide attempt was evidence that she was not the killer.[22]

Bamber's defence team have unsuccessfully challenged the evidence over the years. They alleged that a police log suggested that Bamber's father had indeed called the police that night, and that the silencer may not have been on the gun during the attacks.[23] The silencer evidence was unreliable, they argued, because the silencer was found in a farmhouse cupboard by one of Bamber's cousins three days after the murders.[4]

Life in prison[edit]

Bamber is a Category A prisoner in HM Prison Wakefield, Yorkshire. He has worked there as a peer partner, which involves helping other prisoners to read and write, and has won several awards[which?] for transcribing books in the prison's braille workshop.[24] In 2001 The Times alleged that he had been treated with indulgence at HM Prison Long Lartin, Worcestershire, where prisoners were given the key to their cells. Among the allegations were claims that he studied for his GCSE in sociology and media studies, had a daily badminton lesson, and drew pictures of supermodels in an art class which he later sold through an outside agent.[25]

Bamber's maternal grandmother, Mabel Speakman, had removed him as a beneficiary within her will shortly after his arrest,[26] but in 2003, he instituted an action to recover £1.2 million from her estate, arguing that he should have inherited her home in Wix, Essex – which went to June's sister – and that he was owed seventeen years rent from his cousins who lived there.[27] In 2004 the court denied Bamber's claim to £326,000 of profits from the caravan site.[28]

A group of outside supporters has formed around Bamber, and he has reportedly developed several close relationships with women since his conviction. He defended himself on one occasion from a knife attack by another prisoner by using a broken bottle, and on another received twenty-eight stitches on his neck after being attacked while making a telephone call.[29] In 1994, Bamber called a radio station from Long Lartin prison to protest his innocence.[25]


Bamber launched two unsuccessful lawsuits while in prison to recover a share of his family's estate.[30] His grandmother had cut Bamber out of her will when he was arrested, and most of the inheritance went to June's sister.[27][31] In 2004 Bamber went to the High Court again to claim a share of the profits from the Bambers' caravan site in Maldon. He had retained his shares after his conviction, but had sold them to pay the legal costs arising from his claim on his grandmother's estate. The court ruled that he was not entitled to any profit from the site because of his conviction.[32]

In January 2012 Bamber and two other British prisoners, Peter Moore and Douglas Vinter, lost a case before the European Court of Human Rights, in which they argued that whole-life imprisonment amounts to degrading and inhuman treatment. In July 2012 they were granted the right to appeal that decision.[33] In July 2013 the Court's Grand Chamber ruled in their favour, holding that there must be a possibility of release and review.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carol Ann Lee, The Murders at White House Farm, Sidgwick & Jackson, 2015.
  2. ^ Powell, Claire (1994). Murder at White House Farm. Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 978-0747243663.
  3. ^ Lee 2015, 342–344.
  4. ^ a b c d e David James Smith, "And by dawn they were all dead", The Sunday Times Magazine, 11 July 2010 (webcite).
  5. ^ Martin Evans, "The 70 prisoners serving whole life sentences in the UK", The Daily Telegraph, 25 November 2016.
  6. ^ Allison, Eric; Hattenstone, Simon (10 February 2011). "Is Jeremy Bamber innocent?". The Guardian.
  7. ^ Eric Allison, "Jeremy Bamber murder appeal bid thrown out, The Guardian, 26 April 2012.
  8. ^ Lee, Carol Ann (7 April 2016). The Murders at White House Farm. Pan Macmillan. ISBN 9781447285755. Retrieved 4 February 2018 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ "". Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  10. ^ "". Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  11. ^ "He went to lovely people who gave him the best start in life. He abused them. He's a murderer, he's guilty as hell. We want nothing to do with him; EXCLUSIVE: KILLER'S REAL DAD SPEAKS. – Free Online Library". Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  12. ^ "". Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  13. ^ Lee 2015, 25, 55–60.
  14. ^ Scott Lomax, Jeremy Bamber: Evil, Almost Beyond Belief?, The History Press, 2008, 67–68.
  15. ^ Lee 2015, 27, 31.
  16. ^ Powell 1994, 40.
  17. ^ Powell 1994, 38, 46.
  18. ^ "So my best friend turned out to be a mass murderer". Stuff/Fairfax. 1 March 2020.
  19. ^ a b Powell 1994, 47–48.
  20. ^ Lomax 2008, 68–69.
    For the cottage in Goldhanger, "R v Jeremy Bamber", Royal Courts of Justice, 12 December 2002, para 18.
  21. ^ Blood Relations: Jeremy Bamber and the White House Farm Murders ISBN 978-0-140-24200-3 pp. 159-161
  22. ^ "R v Jeremy Bamber", 12 December 2002.
  23. ^ Eric Allison, Mark Townsend, "Gun experts raise doubts over Jeremy Bamber murder verdict", The Observer, 4 February 2012.
  24. ^ Lomax 2008, pp. 72–73.
  25. ^ a b "Murder most foul, but did he do it?", The Times, editorial, 18 March 2001.
  26. ^ "Bamber Claims £1m From Family". BBC News. 18 August 2003. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  27. ^ a b "Bamber claims £1m from family", BBC News, 18 August 2003; John Ezard, "Murder family sued by killer", The Guardian, 19 August 2003.
  28. ^ "Killer's family cash claim fails", BBC News, 6 October 2004.
  29. ^ Martin Wainwright, "Murderer Bamber suffers knife attack in prison", The Guardian, 1 June 2004.
  30. ^ Ezard, John (19 August 2003). "Murder family sued by killer". The Guardian.
  31. ^ "On This Day," The Times, 29 October 1986.
  32. ^ "Killer's family cash claim fails", BBC News, 6 October 2004.
  33. ^ Tom Whitehead, "Notorious killers can die behind bars, rules Europe", The Daily Telegraph, 17 January 2012.

    Caroline Davies, "Jeremy Bamber wins right to European appeal over whole-life sentence", The Guardian, 19 July 2012.

  34. ^ "Killers' life terms 'breach their human rights'", BBC News, 9 July 2013.