'Evil' family killer granted appeal
Bamber relies on 'forensic issue' to overturn 1986 conviction
The case of Jeremy Bamber, one of the most notorious killers of the last 20 years, is being referred to the court of appeal, it emerged last night.
Bamber was convicted of shooting dead five members of his wealthy family, including six-year-old twins, at their Essex farmhouse in 1985.
The trial judge described Bamber as having a "warped, callous and evil mind" and characterised his conduct as "evil beyond belief". He became one of a handful of prisoners in Britain who have been told they will spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
However, there have long been doubts about the safety of his conviction. Experts from the criminal cases review commission, which investigates suspected miscarriages of justice, have been examining the case for several months and have now decided it should go to the appeal court.
Bamber was convicted of shooting his adoptive parents at their home in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, his sister, Sheila Caffell, and her twin sons. The prosecution alleged he murdered them to inherit a £500,000 family fortune.
But Bamber claimed Mrs Caffell, who had a history of mental illness, killed the family and turned the gun, a .22 semi-automatic rifle, on herself.
On a website set up on Bamber's behalf, he says the submission to the commission would focus on a "narrow forensic issue" but does not give details.
It is understood the appeal could centre on traces of blood found in a silencer believed to have been used in the killings. The prosecution suggested the blood was Mrs Caffell's and could not have entered the silencer had she killed herself.
It is believed that forensics experts consulted by those acting for Bamber may have cast doubt on this theory. The way the tests on the blood were carried out could have resulted in errors.
Bamber, 39, claims on the website: "I was wrongly convicted in 1986 of murdering five members of my family and I've been in jail for nearly 16 years. I have protested my innocence through all the usual channels and tried hard to find a successful path to the appeal courts."
He says the crucial forensic information has been disclosed only to his legal team but adds: "In time, I will publish this information but there are compelling reasons why I cannot do so now."
Bamber also appeals for anyone with any other information which could help his fight for freedom to come forward.
Bamber claims he has had 17 jail moves and 89 cell moves during his imprisonment. At present, he is in the high security Whitemoor prison, Cambridgeshire.
An earlier application for leave to appeal against his conviction was refused by the court of appeal in 1989.
Bamber then applied to the Home Office for a review of his conviction and his case was transferred to the criminal cases review commission after March 1997, when it assumed responsibility for the review of suspected miscarriages of justice.
In 1995 Bamber lost his high court attempt to challenge the home secretary's decision that he should remain behind bars for the rest of his life. The appeal was seen as a test case for 14 other convicted murderers.
Following Bamber's conviction, Essex police were criticised for the way the investigation was handled. Bamber's supporters believe vital evidence could have been destroyed.