top of page
Search
  • empowerinnocent

Jeremy Bamber case: The additional injuries to the adult victims not disclosed at trial



Is the CCRC just a plaything for dilettante Chairman Helen Pitcher[1]? Under her control the ‘Miscarriage of Justice Watchdog’ seemingly has no capability to investigate matters that would free innocent prisoners.


‘However, one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to our core purpose: finding and investigating miscarriages of justice’ (CCRC Annual Report 21-22. pg. 4).[2]



Chair, CCRC, Helen Pitcher. OBE


Following the discovery of the five deceased at White House Farm, numerous photographs of the crime scene were taken on 7th August 1985.


The high definition photographs have never been published.


The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) have possessed copies of several hundred of the photographs for over twelve years, but it appears that the crucial evidence outlined below has escaped their attention.


That is to say, evidence indicating Jeremy Bamber’s innocence has not been acted upon by the CCRC.


It is apparent from discussions during the Trial that the Jury viewed photographs similar to the one reproduced immediately below. Blood on the right arm of Sheila Caffell was described as having run down from her two neck wounds. It is difficult to discern any detail on her right hand. What we see there was dismissed as ‘smears’ of blood. Assurances were given by the pathologist that Sheila Caffell received only two gunshot wounds to her neck and no other injuries whatsoever.



However, it shall become obvious from this article that the Court that tried Jeremy Bamber and the subsequent Court of Appeal hearing both based their deliberations upon a fairy-tale presented to them by the prosecution. Foremost in the false evidence was significant misinformation about wounds to the adult victims as outlined below.


At Jeremy Bamber’s appeal hearing in 2002 the Judgement noted that:[3]


‘5. The killings occurred in the early hours of 7 August 1985. All five of those who died met their deaths from gunshot wounds. They were the appellant’s parents, Ralph Nevill Bamber and June Bamber, his sister, Sheila Caffell, and his sister’s 6 year old twin sons, Nicholas and Daniel Caffell. There was no dispute at trial that four of the five had been murdered. In respect of the fifth, Sheila Caffell, there was an issue, which lay at the very heart of the case, as to whether she had been murdered as the prosecution alleged or whether she had taken her own life as the defence contended…45. Sheila Caffell was also dressed in her nightwear and bare-footed. She had received two contact or near contact bullet wounds to her throat. The higher of the two wounds would have killed her almost instantaneously..… There was no evidence of any other mark or injury to Sheila Caffell's body such as might be suffered during a fight or in a scuffle.’


The sentence highlighted in bold above is based upon testimony given by the pathologist who performed her autopsy, Dr Peter Vanezis. As we shall see below, he either overlooked or did not bother recording a large number of wounds to Sheila Caffell of immense significance:


(a) a small incised wound with bruising near the base of her right trigger finger, with slight bruising to her thumb in two visible separate locations;

(b) a fingernail shaped wound on the back of her right hand probably inflicted during a struggle with June Bamber;

(c) a further six or seven wounds to the back of Sheila’s right hand;

(d) four further wounds at the base of blood rivulets on her lower right arm probably caused by June Bamber grabbing Sheila by the arm;

(e) three fingernail gouge wounds in the vicinity of the mid-arm;

(f) twelve or more fingernail gouges on Sheila’s upper right arm;

(g) a wound to her right forehead;

(h) two gouges in Sheila’s neck caused by the pendant she was wearing being pulled tight against her skin, indicative of further attempts to disarm her and a ‘life and death’ struggle; (i) a small wound in her right ear lobe where an earring had been torn free during a struggle; and,

(J) a cut to her right shoulder.


Additionally, Vanezis failed to mention around 35 wounds suffered by the parents, June and Nevill Bamber, some of which are described below. Some charitable observers argue that Vanezis simply ‘forgot’ about these injuries, others try to excuse him by saying that he concentrated on the main bullet wound injuries.


However, after reading his testimony I am left in no doubt that his intention was to hide the existence of these wounds from the Jury. Is this why the CCRC is so reluctant to confront the evidence, for fear of exposing deliberate deception by the pathologist?


Wounds to Sheila Caffell’s hand and arm – an overview



Hand wounds


The main wound to Sheila’s right (trigger) finger is approximately 5mm long with two identical 2mm cuts at either end of it. This is not a smear of blood as was claimed at the trial, although it may appear that way in photographs until the area is isolated and enlarged. It has clearly been caused by a mechanical object, probably in the vicinity of the rifle trigger guard.


The angle of the cut is identical to the mechanical part of the rifle.








The cut to her trigger finger was still clearly visible after blood had been cleaned off during her autopsy as seen below; this cut was not mentioned by the pathologist, Dr Peter Vanezis. In fact he testified during the Trial that no cut existed:





In relation to Sheila Caffell’s hands Dr Vanezis stated on 30th September 1985[4], “The palms and the fingers were not contaminated with blood. There were nicotine stains on the fingers of the right hand”. Unfortunately, he seems to have failed to notice the vitally important evidence that suggests firmly that Sheila received a self-inflicted wound from the rifle and bruising to her thumb.


We can also see in the pictures below that there is a smaller wound to the left of the mechanically inflicted wound on Sheila’s trigger finger.





Fifth, sixth and seventh wounds on rear of Sheila’s right hand.


On the back of Sheila’s right hand there is a crescent-shaped wound with blue bruising, indicative of her being gouged by a fingernail. There is also a further graze, probably caused at the same time. Due to the size of the crescent-shaped wound it most likely originated during a struggle with June Bamber. Of immense significance, these wounds were not mentioned by Dr Vanezis. It is a further indication that Sheila was involved in a violent struggle with a member of her family, this time possibly her mother?




What was previously regarded as just dried blood is clearly a cut made by a semi-circular sharp object, most likely a fingernail.


It is self-evident that the only time someone would gouge another person with their fingernails to the extent seen above is to cause sufficient pain that the recipient let go of whatever they were holding – in this case, the rifle. It appears that even though the fingernail gouges must have been painful, Sheila retained possession of the weapon.


This also indicates that the two women were involved in, literally, a life and death struggle in which Sheila emerged the winner, despite receiving a large number of what must have been agonizing fingernail gouges during a struggle to take possession of the rifle.


Jeremy Bamber’s fingernails were short and incapable of inflicting such a wound as seen above and below.



In the image above five further cuts and gouges can be seen, one a straight line and the other four are small gouges.


In total there are at least 11 cuts, gouges or bruises on the right hand. Vanezis failed to mention any and when questioned in Court he denied their existence.


What was said by Dr Vanezis at Jeremy’s Trial about Sheila Caffell’s wounds?


It is estimated that Vanezis gave evidence for around thirty minutes. During this time, he was questioned by the Judge, Mr Justice Drake, and Mr Arlidge QC for the prosecution and Mr Rivlin QC for the defence. He appears to have dissembled throughout the entire period of his evidence to all three men on numerous occasions.


While giving evidence Vanezis gave the impression that the blood on Sheila’s “wrist” originated from her neck wounds, and that the blood on her arms, all ten or more rivulets, also originated from her neck wounds.


At the start of Vanezis’ testimony there was an exchange between Mr Arlidge, for the prosecution, and Vanezis:


Q) You saw there was bloodstaining on her nightdress?

A) Yes

Q) You noticed some particularly where her right wrist had been lying?

A) Yes

Q) Did you form any conclusion about that?

A) My opinion was that this blood appeared to have been transferred from her wrist[5]

Q) Did you see blood on her right forearm?

A) I did, yes.

Q) And then you have got this blood on the forearm, which has got spots and then trails either to or from the spots?

A) Yes

Q) What can you say about those?

A) These trails of blood appear to have run vertically down the outer side of the arm

Q) They look as if they are going sideways to start with and then they go down?

A) Yes

Q) Can you tell how that had occurred? Was that from a wound or did it come from somewhere else?

A) In my view these trails of blood were associated with substantial blood staining on the right side of the nightdress in the armpit area and below, as well as the blood from the neck region.

Q) When you say “associated” do you mean by that it had run directly from one of the other wounds, or had it fallen on to it, or what do you say?

A) All I can say is that blood had been transferred from that area on to the arm, and of course, had trailed.

Q) There are obviously wounds in the neck?

A) Yes.

Q) Was there an indication that blood had run down from those wounds?

A) Yes.

Q) Now as to the rest of the body, I think one can deal with that fairly quickly: no other injuries to head or neck?

A) That is correct

Q) Was there any blood at all on the hands? One can see some sort of mark on the right hand…do you see what I mean, On the mid-finger?

A) Yes, that is right. There appears to be some smearing there.


Given that Vanezis had not answered the question about the fingers of the right hand, the judge intervened, seeking further clarity.


Q) Mr Justice Drake: What you were being asked about is, what about the fingers of the hand?

A) The fingers of the hand – that appears to be smearing.

Arlidge to witness: Just one finger if one looks at it. Is that right or not?

A) Yes.


The judge was still not satisfied with Vanezis’ answer.


Q) Mr Justice Drake: The palms and then the fingers and the palms. I can understand that. Do you think that smear in the photograph is blood smearing?

A) Yes, my Lord.

Q) And apart from what you have described to us, there was nothing else to indicate that there was anything else physically wrong with her?

A) That is right.

Q) Now, apart from the two gunshot wounds, was there any evidence of any other injury anywhere else on the body?

A) No, I could not find any evidence of any other injury.


The Judge then asked a direct question about the possibility of a fight between Sheila and anyone else: -


Mr Justice Drake to the witness: No evidence of any other injury, what about the possibility that she had been involved in some fighting or scuffling to leave any sort of marks, other than what one might term “an injury”?


A) There was certainly no evidence of any other marks that could have been produced in a scuffle


Bear the above answer in mind when viewing evidence of the 35 wounds suffered by Sheila Caffell which Vanezis denied existed.


Mr Rivlin, for the defence, in relation to Sheila Caffell asked:


Q) Dealing with the adults who were present in the house, there are signs, or possible signs, of what have been described as defence injuries on Ralph and June?

A) Yes, that is fair.

Q) There are none on Sheila?

A) Yes, that is right.

Q) There is nothing whatsoever on Sheila to suggest that she tried to fight anyone else off.

A) Yes, that is right.



Right arm wounds


Below the elbow - The twelfth to fifteenth wounds


In the picture below there are four incised wounds at the base of the four rivulets of blood, near the ‘clots’, one large, long and obvious, (the second one down) and three other smaller grazes, indicating that June grabbed Sheila’s right arm.







Second from top cut


It would be easy to assume that the ‘blobs’, i.e. blood clots are the result of blood running down the arm from the top to bottom, as if Sheila had held her hand to her face perhaps. However, in fact the blood flows away from the clots; the blood is thicker as it emerged from the wound and narrows as it flows downwards. This indicates that after being wounded by June’s four fingernails Sheila lowered her arm sufficiently that blood flowed away from the original wound site.







Wounds from gouging, not blood trails from the neck.


Sheila was then grabbed a second time by June, further down the arm towards the elbow, inflicting three further gouging wounds.





It can be seen in the picture below that the rivulets of blood are thicker at the source, the ‘clots, than further away.





Upper right arm wounds


Cut to the right shoulder






On the right shoulder, once again we see the straight line of a cut and blood flowing away from it, nowhere near the supposed blood streams that were falsely said to have originated from the throat wounds.


There is evidence that June likely grabbed Sheila a third time, with twelve or more wounds to the upper arm causing similar injuries and blood rivulets to those seen on the lower arm. These were not caused by blood from the neck wound.



Fingernail gouged wounds # 19-31, Clean skin around the wounds indicate that the blood streaks originate from separate gouged wounds, not from the neck.




In the autopsy photograph above can be seen numerous small cuts and gouges on the upper right arm, distinct from any blood that may have run down from the neck area. It is unfathomable as to why Dr Vanezis did not mention these individual cuts and gouges; they are clearly indicative of someone grabbing Sheila Caffell by the upper arm in a struggle. They have nothing to do with blood streams from the two throat wounds. Overall, the evidence of numerous cuts to the arms and right hand of Sheila Caffell indicates that someone repeatedly grabbed at her arm, undoubtedly in an attempt to disarm her.



The forehead wound (thirty-second new wound discovery)


What appears to be simply a lock of hair hanging down from Sheila’s forehead conceals a small graze and slight bruising. Again, this is indicative of Sheila being involved in a struggle to disarm her, possibly inflicted by the end of the gun barrel.






There is bruising underneath the hair. The red/blue tinge is either a cut or bruise. A swab was taken of the forehead area during the autopsy, but the result has not been disclosed.[6]



Neck Wounds #33 and 34 – the pendant injuries


Below and to the right of the bottom bullet hole in Sheila’s neck is an incised wound probably caused by the sharp edge of the pendant that Sheila wore around her neck, indicative that someone, probably June, yanked hard on the gold chain. This wound, in common with the others outlined above, was not noted by the pathologist, Dr Vanezis. Located below the gold chain is a further small wound, a graze probably caused by the chain being pulled hard.






The wound on the lower neck matches exactly the profile of the pendant. Someone pulled hard on the pendant causing the injury.



Sheila’s displaced earring, wound #35


Sheila Caffell habitually wore two earrings in each ear.[7] A small star-shaped ‘stud’ type earring can be seen in her right ear in photographs taken of her dead body. Indications of a struggle during which a larger, bell-shaped dangling earring became dislodged and snagged on the nightie, is shown below in the picture on the left. The shiny metallic object seems to have caught on Sheila’s nightie and is located up towards the throat area on the right side of her body, just above the right armpit. According to Jeremy Bamber, Sheila had a set of earrings identical to the one pictured below (left).





In the picture below can be seen the wound caused when the larger earring became displaced, i.e. yanked out, during a struggle.





Wounds to June Bamber


June Bamber suffered around 15 wounds in addition to her gunshot injuries. In the picture below a large cut to June Bamber’s chin is shown. This cut, about 1.5cm long was most likely caused by the left thumbnail of Sheila Caffell as she pushed June away while June, who had already been shot several times, was bravely trying to disarm her. Dr Vanezis did not mention this injury.







Mr Justice Drake to the witness: No evidence of any other injury, what about the possibility that she had been involved in some fighting or scuffling to leave any sort of marks, other than what one might term “an injury”?


Vanezis) There was certainly no evidence of any other marks that could have been produced in a scuffle.


In the picture below a large cut and several smaller grazes to June Bamber’s left hand is shown.






Vanezis) There was certainly no evidence of any other marks that could have been produced in a scuffle.



Nevill Bamber


As seen below, Nevill Bamber suffered numerous gouge wounds to his arms, indicative of a fight, including a crescent shaped gouge which could have been inflicted by a sharp fingernail. Not mentioned by Vanezis in testimony.




In determining whether Jeremy Bamber was guilty of murder, any evidence that his sister, Sheila Caffell, fought with anyone inside White House Farm (WHF) in the early hours of 7th August 1985, changes the fundamental premise behind the Prosecution case against Bamber.


For, supported by misleading testimony from the pathologist, Dr Peter Vanezis, the prosecution could state that Sheila received only two wounds, both gunshots to her neck. By thus testifying, Dr Vanezis enabled the prosecution to present Sheila Caffell as an innocent victim rather than the perpetrator of violence. The prosecution narrative was fairy-tale.



Summary


I have uncovered strong evidence of thirty-five additional wounds to Sheila Caffell indicative of a struggle between Sheila and her parents. A number were obviously caused by sharp fingernails, almost certainly June’s. These multiple injuries indicate firmly that Sheila rampaged through the house wielding a rifle and was restrained, and attempts were made to disarm her by her parents.


I have also outlined how June Bamber was injured during a scuffle for possession of the rifle and shown how testimony from Dr Vanezis misled the jury into accepting the prosecution version of events.


Without doubt, the CCRC could have discovered the same thing around 20 years ago. The software used to analyse the crime scene images cost £50, surely not beyond the budget of the CCRC. It then took around four hours to identify most of the wounds shown in this article.


Surely it is not asking too much for the CCRC to have expended the minimal effort required to identify this new evidence, evidence that indicates clearly that Jeremy Bamber at the very least did not have a fair trial and raises the distinct probability that he did not kill his family?


The crucial point being that the pictures referred to were held exclusively by the CCRC and until 2011 nobody else could view them.[8] By not analysing the images the CCRC kept Jeremy Bamber imprisoned until whatever date he is eventually released, 12 years and counting. But in fact the CCRC should have discovered the facts revealed in this article much earlier than 2011, any time after the failed 2002 appeal.


Furthermore, because the CCRC will not work in partnership with anyone supporting Jeremy Bamber’s pleas of innocence, they perform their role in an obstructive rather than collaborative manner, and the prisoner has no option other than to rely on their goodwill and sense of duty.



Locard’s theory and the failure of the CCRC to investigate


Edmund Locard[9] developed Locard’s exchange principle which states that: “Any action of an individual, and obviously, the violent action constituting the crime, cannot occur without leaving a trace.”


We would hope that CCRC Case Review Managers are familiar with the concept. Therefore, they should have theorized along the following lines:


  • Jeremy Bamber insists that he did not kill his family.

  • Therefore, Sheila Caffell most likely carried out the killings.

  • According to Locard, there must be physical evidence to link Sheila Caffell to the victims.

  • What does the crime scene reveal?

  • Abundant evidence of fighting between the three adults and numerous wounds to each of them.

  • Therefore, evidence given in Court was wrong.

  • The case must be referred to the Court of Appeal.


Of course, this has not happened to date.



Conclusion


In conclusion, we question the culture of the CCRC under the Chairmanship of Helen Pitcher. We have previously showed that the CCRC is dismissive of all claims of innocence if it is believed that there is nothing new or ‘fresh’ that was or could have been dealt with at the original trial and regards, therefore, applicants as guilty (see here).


It now has a two-days a week Chairman. What kind of message does that send to the staff?


People may be weary of Jeremy Bamber’s repeated claims of innocence, but his case is one of the most serious abortions of justice in British legal history and eventually this fact must be acknowledged.


Jeremy Bamber’s Campaign Team made a new submission to the CCRC in March 2021. It was reported in June 2022: “During April this year, the CCRC advised Jeremy’s legal team that Andrew Timney, the Case Review Manager who was allocated to review the submissions, is leaving the CCRC.


Correspondence from Timney since October 2021 does not indicate that he has undertaken any substantive review of the evidence submitted.”[10]


Thus, a submission was virtually ignored for over a year without any repercussions for the Case Review Manager, it would appear.


How can any member of staff at the CCRC be allowed by senior management to make virtually no progress on reviewing a submission in over a year?


In part, this must stem from lack of managerial oversight and the attitude of the part-time Chairman must have an influence.


The CCRC is, in effect, being abolished gradually by government cuts, not just to budget, but also to status. Many fine words emanate from Annual Reports about how the organisation remains effective despite having its budget slashed repeatedly, but how can this be true?


Was it overstaffed and over-funded prior to 2008 when the so-called government ‘austerity’ programme was launched?


The CCRC needs a full-time Chairman prepared to argue with the Government for more resources, but instead has someone who seems content to give the impression that a part-time Chairman is adequate for the role.


This defeatist culture leads to the overwhelming majority of applicants being rejected when they request the CCRC to investigate their case – upwards of 97% of applicants are rejected and in some years 99% of applications were rejected.


It appears that the CCRC refuses to actually investigate anything.


Whether it is evidence of unreported injuries in the White House Farm murders, or DNA suggesting that a police officer may have killed Diana Garbutt or requests for the Court of Appeal to consider convincing new pathology evidence in the case of Clive Freeman, the answer is always NO, often after interminable delays in reaching a decision to reject a submission.


The failure of the CCRC to identify the evidence highlighted in this article ought to bring about the abolition of the current organisation.


It is clearly not fit for purpose and tinkering around the edges is not an option.


Abolish it and start again. However, does anyone really think that either the CCRC or the Ministry of Justice cares enough to be even mildly embarrassed that Jeremy Bamber has remained in prison for over 37 years when this evidence of his innocence should have been discovered?


By Bill Robertson


References

[1] Dilettante: a person who cultivates an area of interest without real commitment or knowledge: Pitcher is engaged in collecting influential positions in government and commerce beyond what is capable of any individual intent on serious professional commitment. Indeed, she pursues such positions even when a clear conflict of interest exists. Helen Pitcher is the sole Director, i.e. owner of a company called Advanced Boardroom Excellence, with current assets of £548,629 . In addition to her Advanced Boardroom Excellence role Pitcher holds the following high profile Board roles: Chairman of the Criminal Cases Review Commission and Chairman of the Public Chairs’ Forum. A Non-Executive Director at UB UK and C & C Group Plc where Pitcher is the Chairman of their Remuneration Committee and a member of the Nomination and ESG Committees. SID at OneHealth Group Ltd and Chairman of the Remuneration and Nominations Committees. Recently appointed to IAA ExCo VP of Global Clubs. Pitcher is the President of KidsOut (a National Children's Charity) and sits on the Advisory Board for Leeds University Law Faculty. She has recently been appointed by Dominic Raab as Chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission, raising serious concerns among legal circles as to her suitability for the role. Pitcher’s main declared interest is “as a fervent advocate of targeted development of women on Boards, as opposed to mandatory quotas, a significant distinction in my mind was the necessary progression of a robust cadre of women in the executive leadership pipeline as well as new role models on the Board, who would carry the mantel of gender equality onto Boards through organisations and into future generations.” She also has said, “Consequently, my reflections have left me feeling a bit ‘hollow’ about this Board gender victory, have we ‘bought’ into the ‘trap’ of slow and careful? It seriously feels that we are not facing up to the issues of women flowing rapidly through to the senior leadership of our companies. We are relying on traditional and slow solutions to solve an unconventional premise, where we need to employ spiralling creativity and innovation. This should be a revolution of thought and imagination to break the mould and learn new ways of thinking and acting.” How on earth is the CCRC employing “spiralling creativity and innovation” in their leaden-footed approach to case reviews? [2] It has become obvious over the years that CCRC interprets ‘investigate’ as undertaking a desk top review of case papers, not investigation in the commonly held definition of probing the case and seeking evidence [3] Neutral Citation Number: [2002] EWCA Crim 2912 Case No: 20011745 S1; Royal Courts of Justice Strand, London, WC2A 2LL 12th December 2002. [4] Dr Vanezis post-mortem condition of Sheila’s body. [5] The blood referred to is a large handprint that could not conceivably have been transferred from the wrist. By saying that it came from Sheila’s wrist, Vanezis ruled out the possibility that the blood could have come from June Bamber’s hand. [6] Reported by Jeremy Bamber Campaign Team. [7] Information from Jeremy Bamber. [8] The photographs were never intended to be seen by the public. It is pure chance that they are available. In 1995 a court case, Taylor V Anderton resulted in an important decision that was to greatly assist Jeremy Bamber 10 years later. The ruling was to ensure that one party does not enjoy an unfair advantage or suffer an unfair disadvantage in litigation because of a document not being produced for inspection. This meant that in 2005 Jeremy’s lawyers were able to secure the release of case documentation previously not disclosed, though Essex Police took a further six years to release the documentation. In 2011 it was possible to start analysing around 375,000 pages of evidence previously not available and the crime scene photographs (which were not actually viewed and analysed until 2015). [9] Dr Edmond Locard was a French criminologist, a pioneer in forensic science who became known as the "Sherlock Holmes of France". [10] Jeremy Bamber Campaign Official Web Site (jeremy-bamber.co.uk) Latest News 06.06.2022.


Bill Robertson has researched alleged miscarriages of justice for around 20 years and advised on several cases, including the most recent application to the CCRC by Jeremy Bamber.


Please let us know if you think that there is a mistake in this article, explaining what you think is wrong and why. We will correct any errors as soon as possible.

1,715 views0 comments
Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page