In 1985 a family were shot and killed. A young man was accused of the murders, that is of killing his family. Jeremy Bamber allegedly shot and killed his adoptive parents June and Nevill, his sister Sheila Caffell and her six-year-old twins Daniel and Nicholas, at their Essex farmhouse. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in jail. He remains one of the few people in the UK who have been sentenced to a whole life term n jail.
Now aged 51 Bamber still maintains his innocence. Throughout the trial and period since he has insisted that he is innocent of these terrible crimes.
Tonight ITV in the UK aired a brief 30 minute documentary about Bamber, his hope that he will be freed and various people who either feel the conviction was right or unsafe. One participant in the show was a cousin of Bamber who, to this day, is still positive that Mr Bamber carried out the killings. Others are not so sure. The program interviewed many of those involved in the case and went over the evidence.
Bamber was just 25-years-old when he was convicted of the murders. He was damned by many for his apparent easy mood after the murders were made public. In a way similar to Amanda Knox his attitude was seen almost as a confession of guilt. One crucial witness for the prosecution of Bamber was his girlfriend at the time of the murders. Julie Mugford, after the couple split up, told police that Bamber had confessed to her, that he had hired hitman to carry out the murders.
This was disproved yet the judge at Jeffrey Bamber's trial told the jury that they could convict him on Julie's evidence alone. Recently however it has been revealed that Mugford was accused of burglary, smuggling cannabis into the UK from Canada and cheque fraud just prior to the trial. Police agreed to drop the investigations into these accusations if she testified against Bamber.
She was noticeable by her absence from tonight's documentary. She had declined to be interviewed.
Jeremy Bamber has now launched an appeal against his sentence. Those who believe he is innocent claim that his is one of the worst miscarriages of justice in the UK. Others vehemently disagree maintaining that he is guilty.
Mr Bamber claims that his sister Sheila killed the family and then herself. Whilst there appears to be some flaws in this scenario it is not outside of the realms of possibility. Previously the Criminal Cases Review Commission has rejected appeals by Jeremy Bamber but now they may have to at least listen, perhaps reopening the case.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog