Sheila Caffell with her twin sons
Remarkably, Jeremy Bamber’s sister, Sheila Caffell, penned an account of what would happen at White House Farm (WHF) shortly before the tragic events in two short handwritten ‘predictive’ letters and confessed that she was going to kill her twin boys. In their Statements of Reasons dismissing Jeremy Bamber’s submissions the CCRC have never discussed the content of these notes, which begs the question as to whether they even know that they exist?
DS 640 Eastwood of Essex Police recorded the existence of these letters and stated they had been given to DCI Jones at Chelmsford Police Station after the murders although it does not state by whom. Essex Police state that the letters were “not fully legible no useful information contained – NFA – File.” of one and “illegible” of the other. However, these letters, although difficult to read are legible for the most part and contain a vast wealth of useful information considering that these are highly likely to have been in the nature of ‘suicide’ letters.
Photographs of the scene taken on the 7th August 1985 show a note clearly visible on the bedside table next to Sheila’s bed in her room at White House Farm. According to Essex Police documentation the note was seized by DC Hammersley and was recorded in the Scenes of Crime Exhibit list which states: “DRH/42 Note On bedside table Sheila Caffell’s room DC 1470”.
The Holmes Computer Index itemises both notes as: “Document illegible and related correspondence” It is unknown what the related correspondence is as it would appear that it has never been disclosed. Apart from the SOCO Exhibit book and index to the Holmes Box contents document no mention is made in any other Essex Police documentation from 1985 to the existence of these notes. Documentation does, however, exist in the form of an exhibit book compiled by Essex Police sometime after 1996 as it refers to the destruction of a number of exhibits, although the date of the document cannot be pinpointed further than that. In this document it states: “Note/letter WH Farm bedside table SC’s room. DRH/42 found by DC 1470 – destroy.”
However, it appears that following the illegal destruction of case documentation ordered by Special Branch in 1996, the letters written by Sheila have been missed from the original bundles of documents which had been destroyed and that Essex Police had every intention of destroying this item as detailed in the extract from the exhibit book above. Due to the blunder that the documents had not been destroyed initially, the police have inadvertently revealed this letter to Jeremy Bamber concealed within the thousands of case documents Jeremy received in 2011.
It is fact that 30% of people who end their own lives leave a ‘suicide note’ and it is now known that Sheila Caffell wrote a number of such letters. The letters below represent the last thoughts of Sheila, who was suffering from acute paranoid schizophrenia and severe depression, before she ended her life and the lives of four members of her family. She was writing to her natural mother, Christine Jay (nee Webb). Sheila had clearly been affected profoundly by seeing her natural mother for the first time just a short while prior to the tragedies. Christine Finlay, Sheila’s friend and neighbour recalled: “Sheila’s mother came to England in March 1985 and stayed until about April 1985. She spent about one week with Sheila at the flat. I was introduced to her mother. Sheila and her mother were like sisters in that they got on so well together, and enjoyed doing the same things.”
Colin Caffell remembered: “It was the biggest, most important event of her life” and
“I will never forget the look of sheer joy on Bamb’s (Sheils Caffell) face when I first saw them together. She was beaming from ear to ear, with a smile I hadn’t seen the like of since she gave birth to the twins.”
It is clear that Sheila felt great affection for Christine, who she addresses in the letters as “Darling Mummy” whereas June Bamber is referred to rather coldly as “Mother”. However, it is possible that the feelings of elation evoked by meeting Christine, just after her release from the hospital for the second time in March 1985, had a powerfully depressive effect on Sheila when Christine returned home and may possibly have triggered the extreme suicidal thoughts expressed by Sheila. Discussions at White House Farm with Nevill and June Bamber that centered on day-care fostering for the twin boys seem to have been the catalyst for Sheila’s precipitate actions.
Sheila’s letters convey the message that by killing her two sons, Sheila would be reunited with them in an afterlife and by implication they could then not be parted. Clearly, Sheila was under great mental stress when she wrote these letters. While they are at times incoherent they, nevertheless, convey Sheila’s intentions quite overtly. Her intention to die, and to take the lives of her twin sons is evident from the phrase, in relation to her mother June, “Help her she needs so much comfort and I can not give her this being in the other world”, and additionally, “my Darling Mummy with my Babys and me go to our rest”.
There are several indications that Sheila was making unfavorable comparisons between June Bamber and her natural mother Christine, seeming to describe June as “that charlatan woman” more than once. She also says of June “she was and is not my Blood relation”.
With remarkable accuracy, Sheila anticipated that the action that she was contemplating would draw the attention of both The Sun newspaper and the Police. She also mentioned that the “authorities” would be in touch. So, obviously, Sheila fully understood that in killing her boys there would be a national interest via the newspapers and that what she was planning to do would draw the attention of the police – clear evidence that Sheila on some level of consciousness knew the seriousness and the illegality of what she planned to do.
When did Sheila write these letters? Possibly a day or two before the killings, or even on the evening before the shooting took place. It is perhaps the case that at the time of writing these letters Sheila did not contemplate killing her parents. She repeatedly asks her ‘Mummy’ Christine, to help her mother June, portrayed by Sheila as in need of help and comfort. However, events on the 7th August took a different turn and it appears to me from all of the evidence that I have evaluated that Sheila killed her parents after they made strenuous attempts to disarm her.
It is possible that the reference 3.3.5 below is a further biblical quotation, perhaps Psalm 3.3.5. There was a note poking out of the blood-stained bible found next to Sheila’s body that also contained biblical quotations from the psalms.
There is great anger directed towards her former husband, Colin Caffell, who she describes as a “womaniser”. Sheila clearly believed that what she was about to do in killing her two sons was for their benefit; “my Babys and me go to our rest”. Sheila wrote to her ‘Mummy’ in the expectation that in the near future she would exist “being in the other world”.
Stop looking at my picture it will break your heart. You must just remember I am your daughter 3.3.5 and no one can take this away from you and if the Sun Newspaper and the Police are going to be in touch soon and get this whole dirty mess cleared up and I must say it is a very dirty messy Business as I said before I’ve started a lot of dirty Bugs will crawl out, oh Mummy don’t you think I had feelings also in this family space I am in as soon as the...is dug up and the public no then my Darling Mummy with my Babys and me go to our rest we no awful strain you are going through all the time and Babys and me would Dearly
He loves to make it look like he was such as good man yet all the time he is NO GOOD TO US he can make himself look good to the Papers gone he loves publicity you Say at the Police Chelmsford the Sun...will talk to you if I was uneducated sorry Mummy no disrespect Police from Chelmsford in our Blood Mother dig down deep and a lot of dirt will come out from this case but please help my Mother she has gone through hell for us still is give her strength she was so poorly
I realise she phone you and gave…
To test that ex husband of mine told to do HOW DARE HE SAY NOT TO BRING MY SONS WHERE THEY BELONG WITH ME NEVER WANTED THEM oh sorry Mummy here I go again getting angry but he was never any good he was a womaniser but…
That doubt about that charlatan woman she was and is not my Blood relation so please get everything...you need...worth more than you ever bargained for My mother was brought up by the law she been loved by us all her life. Help her she needs so much comfort and I can not give her this being in the other world. I’m going to finish now as my (strength is slipping?) help her please Bambs 01989 4191 phone."
"Mummy, please don’t break your heart you will be OK. SYC is looking after you. Those people in authority will be round soon. Why do you think I’ve come to you because God told me I had to come now Mummy. Colin we are both here with you. Bless (innocent?) Mummy don’t let him see you so hurt I don’t mind him being here while I ???? you. SYC is also giving you strength so you are ready when the Sun & Police call because they’re going to. My dearest Mother I no you were upset see ?????? I ?????? you’re a little longer and Colin I’m sorry you are poorly with your lungs but SYC is ??????? you he won’t let anything happen yes Mummy I have got your eyes I no your looking at my picture in the paper but you will be given a lovely portrait of Myself & the Twins soon.
Darling, I know you are trying to calm your brother/mother but she is??? That you give her a rest now. So Mummy please put the paper away and stop crying Please everything is going to be alright.
Getting ??? Twins were laughing today they were upset when they had to leave you the other day I’m afraid Mummy was upsetting you to much they must find this charlatan of a woman. Canada or the USA Mummy alright SYC she is better when I write to her she is not strong enough at the moment ?? us to ?? her in a deep trench when the Sun & Police arrive. I hope by then we have give her the strength to get all this dirt out Don’t they realise Mummy that as they turn the stone a lot of Bugs will crawl out. I love you so I really do please be patient just be alright. God promises you this he knows you have had enough heartbreak all your life I will leave you for a while until much later have fun tonight with your ?? then when you are calm again I will be back with the boys. They really miss you ?? they said God Bless, Sorry SYC I’m going now."
Further evidence of suicide
During the Metropolitan Police Stokenchurch enquiry, on 6th August 2002, retired DS21 Stan Jones was interviewed by DCI Jeanette McDiarmid and DI Paul Brown. This was in relation to the kitchen telephone at White House Farm. During the discussion, he said:
Jones: “What you've got to remember is, it wasn't five murders it was four murders and a suicide, which throws a completely different picture on it. Because things wouldn’t be treated the same as a murder scene.
Jones: “You don't go hunting for things if you've got four murders and a suicide if you've got someone saying I’ve just killed myself you don't start searching cupboards upstairs, you don't start searching cupboards in the other rooms, because you've got a note saying I've killed myself so it was treated as four murders and a suicide, completely different.
In terms of the case constructed against Jeremy Bamber, Jones’ statements are of major significance in demonstrating Jeremy’s innocence. To my mind, Jones was clearly saying that the police had possession of a suicide note and they knew it was a case of four murders and suicide.
There is sufficient information in the predictive letters outlined above to conclude that Sheila Caffell had an intention to kill her sons and herself, with the belief that they would be united in an ‘afterlife’. When added to the actual suicide note found by the police on 7th August 1985 when they entered White House Farm as discussed by Stan Jones, the CCRC has three potential sources of documentary evidence that indicate Sheila Caffell’s intentions and exonerate Jeremy Bamber.
It appears that the CCRC have not discovered or examined any of these documents. The CCRC should be seeking further expert opinion on the content of these letters and demanding that Essex Police produce the suicide note referred to by Stan Jones.
 57-027) Suicide Letters PDF, Pg. 8.  AJ-11-01) HQ-SOC (Exhibit Book) PDF, Pg. 7.  Extract from box marked original instructions. PDF, Pg. 2.  AT-19-591-Q) Finlay (Christine) 12.09.85 HW PDF, Pg. 5.  Colin Caffell, In Search of the Rainbow's End, Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 1994, p. 72.  See: https://empowerinnocent.wixsite.com/ccrcwatch/post/is-the-ccrc-implicated-in-36-years-of-deception-in-the-case-of-jeremy-bamber  Both Essex Police and the Metropolitan Police admit that the suicide note reference by Stan Jones is accurate.
By Bill Robertson
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.
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