Friday, 4 August 2017

Anniversary Tribute to the Bamber Family


It’s been 32 years since Jeremy lost his family in the tragedies at White House Farm. As a Campaign, every day we work towards justice and freedom for Jeremy. Through Jeremy we have come to know his family, this is because Jeremy frequently speaks so fondly of them.

Jeremy takes us into his memories by painting vivid pictures of the passionate interest in farming which he shared so closely with his father Nevill. We know how extremely proud he is of his mother’s brave achievements during the Second World War when she worked as a nurse and secretary assisting the Special Forces in Calcutta.

His love for Sheila shines through when he remembers her kind protectiveness over him as an elder sister. It is because of Jeremy’s recollections that we know of her talents as a storywriter and gifted letter writer. Her ethereal character came across in drawing and painting before she battled mental illness that eventually stripped her of her true personality.

He recalls how quickly his twin nephews Nicholas and Daniel grew into bright fun loving children, who enjoyed tractor rides and thanks to Jeremy and June, were developing a keen interest in wildlife, blackberry picking and farm animals.

The love for his family was so strong and an extremely big part of his life that we realise how large that gulf of grief must be.

Jeremy, in your grief we share,
in your love we share,
when we remember,
Nevill, June, Sheila, Nicholas and Daniel,

We honour their memory this day and always.

From Sarah, Trudi, Pat, Yvonne, Lorna, Heidi, Matt, Mike, and Philip - The Campaign Team. 

Monday, 19 June 2017

“Backspatter” and Malcolm Fletcher’s explanation for blood inside the silencer.

Today I would like to talk about the evidence relied upon at my trial regarding the issue of back spatter. Malcolm Fletcher was the prosecution ballistics expert who worked at Huntingdon Laboratory and forensically examined firearms exhibits related to my case. At my trial, Fletcher described to the court that, in his opinion Sheila’s blood entered the silencer from the contact wound to her neck through the process he referred to as 'back spatter'[i]. This, he concluded, led him to believe that the silencer was attached to the .22 rifle when Sheila received her wounds[ii].

During his testimony regarding this central issue, Malcolm Fletcher quoted from an article to support his argument, which was written by American scientists Stephens and Allen called ‘Backspatter of Blood’ written in 1982[iii]. These two scientists had not carried out their own experiments but simply quoted the results of those done by another scientist Dr Herbert Leon MacDonnell the founder of the Bloodstain Evidence Institute in America.[iv] However the experiments conducted in 1971 were not done using a .22 calibre rifle but a .38 revolver.

At my trial Fletcher gave testimony that he had never personally observed the phenomenon of backspatter, and that no one had ever observed backspatter of blood in a .22 calibre weapon, the calibre of the rifle used in the incident at White House Farm on 7th August 1985[v]. Fletcher also admitted he had not conducted any experiments to establish the possibility of backspatter, claiming that he had neither the facilities nor the equipment to conduct such tests, and when asked how much a silencer would reduce the emission pressures which were essential for backspatter to occur he informed the court that he had “No idea”[vi]. However, by its very nature the whole concept of a silencer is to significantly reduce the pressure and the velocity of gas which emerges from the muzzle.

In their article Stephens and Allen record that according to some experts backspatter of blood from gunshot wounds does not exist[vii]. They state a number of times that back spatter cannot be achieved from a fleshy part of the body and it appears that Malcolm Fletcher misinterpreted their comments. They wrote[viii]:
  • In our experience backwards spatter of blood occurs most commonly in association with contact gunshot wounds of the head. 
  • Back spatter rarely occurs in gunshot wounds of the abdomen and chest. 
  • Back spatter is not typically associated with wounds in which there is a potential space immediately underlying the entrance site. 
  • The accelerating force is the backwards stream of escaping gas trapped between the elastic skin and rigid skull. 

In the case of Sheila Caffell her two gunshot wounds were located in soft flesh directly below her chin on her neck. There is no hard surface beneath the wounds to support the expanding gas and therefore nothing to create back spatter[ix]. The trial jury had no other evidence put before them to account for how such a large quantity of blood came to be inside the silencer down to perhaps the 6th or 7th baffle plates[x]. Fletcher did however state that someone could have dripped the blood into the silencer as he informed the judge when asked how else blood could have entered the silencer to account for the quantity of blood found inside it: “There is only one I can think of and that somebody deliberately taking blood with a pipette and dripping it very carefully inside.[xi]

It has recently come to my attention that Dr Herbert Leon MacDonnell’s forensic work on which Fletcher based his testimony is now seriously undermined following his conviction for child sex offences in 2013. It is recorded that MacDonnell used his professional influence to prevent detection of these serious crimes and therefore the integrity of his research is certainly brought into question[xii].

Jeremy


[i] AH-06-08) Malcolm Fletcher (Transcript) PDF Page 78 at G and H and 79 at A


[ii] AH-06-08) Malcolm Fletcher (Transcript) PDF Page 102 at A


[iii] AH-06-08) Malcolm Fletcher (Transcript) PDF Page 102 at B, C and D and AH-06-08) Malcolm Fletcher (Transcript). PDF, Pg. 102 at C: “There is an article actually which I have a copy of from one of the journals”.


[iv] Legal Medicine Annual Appleton Century Crofts, New York 1971 PP 89-136) published in 1971.


[v] AH-06-08) Malcolm Fletcher (Transcript) PDF Page 104 at F: “Q. .22 back spattering, with a moderator, when have you seen that? A. I can’t recall having seen one before today.”


[vi] AH-06-08) Malcolm Fletcher (Transcript). PDF, Pg. 104 at B, C, D, E, F, G, H and page 105 at A: “How much is the emission pressure reduced by the moderator? A. I have no idea Q) Have you tested it? A) I don’t have the equipment and facilities to do that


Q) Have you sought others to test it for you? A) No Sir. Q) It is rather important isn’t it? A) You obviously consider it so (rather impertinent) Q) The .22 is the least likely candidate for a gun to produce back-spattering?


A) Yes Sir Q) And a moderator would make it more unlikely, make it less likely? A) Slightly less likely Q) To an extent which you have not tested? A) Correct. Q) Nor experienced? A) Nor experienced.”


[vii] Technical Note Stephens and Allen PDF Page 1 paragraph 1


[viii] Technical Note Stephens and Allen PDF.


[ix] This is supported by e mail correspondence with Expert Ballistics witness John Bloomfield dated 24.04.17.


[x] AH-06-08) Malcolm Fletcher (Transcript) PDF Page 108 at F


[xi] AH-06-08) Malcolm Fletcher (Transcript) PDF Page 122 at G; “There is only one that I can think of and that is somebody deliberately taking blood with a pipette and dripping it very carefully inside.”


[xii] Forensic Fraud Article MacDonnell dated 07.07.13

Friday, 31 March 2017

Jeremy's Easter Blog: "Memories from my Childhood"


I loved springtime on the farm. Early memories of the joys of spring are filled with instances of granddad Speakman. He loved daffodils, “Dafferdowndillies” as he called them to me.

I must have been about 7 or 8 years old when with a bottle of orange fizzy pop in hand, he’d take me around his daffodils. He loved to plant bulbs in his lawns making mowing the grass a nightmare but he’d also plant bulbs in the banks and the hedgerows around fields, and in fact any patch of land that he thought would be improved by a sea of yellow bobbing daffs. But they were not all standard yellow trumpeters; granddad would proudly show off his miniature daffs and special ones with frilly petals. He never liked the white ones much – it was yellow or nothing, except around white flowering shrubs when he would bend to a few white daffs. And from then on the sight of daffodils would remind me of granddad and thoughts of spring and the birds busy singing and making nests – birds in their fancy mating feathers iridescent in the sunlight.   

Early mornings were the best times for seeing wildlife on the farm. Mum’s favourite was stoats with their young – they were so incredibly long with their tiny legs at each corner that made them funny to look at. I liked Vixens with their cubs, whenever I got to see them they were always playing and yet I would have to keep the sighting secret to ensure that the gamekeeper didn’t get tipped off about them. I have always been a lifelong anti-fox hunting supporter – especially so as I was scared of horses up close as well.

So my love of springtime started with granddad and the swathes of daffodils he planted all over the place that just made springtime smile. Then with mum taking me out for walks in the early mornings to see the wildlife and hear all the birds singing with their new nests and broods of eggs, our crops would be starting to grow, trees beginning to turn green, flowers on the apple and pear trees.

I miss it of course, but my memories of spring are etched into my mind so deeply that closing my eyes with the spring sun on my face I can still recall granddad chuckle at the ‘tutting’ he’d make knowing, with a smile on his lips, the mayhem he caused where he had planted all his daffs knowing the banks couldn’t be mown, lawns driven on etc.

What with that and listening to larks singing their beautiful songs high up in the sky during a break and tilling the spring soil ready for sowing. I loved the springtime.

Jeremy

Monday, 6 March 2017

The Forensic Archive Ltd repeatedly wriggles on the disclosure hook

Above is the only image of the sound moderator taken pre-trial which has been disclosed. The police expect our forensic scientists to work with this poor quality photocopy, still refusing to disclose prints or negatives. This is what Essex Police call 'full disclosure'. The CCRC failed to obtain these photographs under s.17 of Criminal Appeals Act in 2011, and the Forensic Archive Ltd are avoiding disclosure

The dispute of non-disclosure has raised its head yet again in another area of my case. Not only are Essex Police deliberately and illegally not conforming to Court Orders to disclose all of the evidence in my case, but the Forensic Science Service are also refusing to hand over material they hold without any authority to do so.

The Forensic Science Service Laboratory at Huntingdon who handled exhibits and conducted experiments and tests in 1985/1986 on exhibits pertinent to my case was closed in 2012. All of the documentation including examination records, booking in logs, lab notes, reports, internal transfers and photographs were transferred to the ForensicArchive Ltd. (FAL) based at Birmingham. This Government-owned company was formed to retain and manage case files from all investigation work previously undertaken by the Forensic Science Service (FSS).

On 22nd July 2016, I contacted the archive by letter to establish that they did hold the complete case files and informed them that I was making a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to have full access and disclosure of all the material they held relative to the three case numbers which featured in my case during the Essex Police Investigation.

Alison Fendley the Executive Director of the FAL sent me a reply dated 4 August 2016 and confirmed that after a brief look they did hold pertinent files adding she did not know if all the case material generated by the Huntingdon Lab was held. In response to the Freedom of Information request, Ms Fendley continued: “It is not within the authority of the FSL to release such information to individuals, defence teams or appellants under the mandate to which we operate”. This statement contradicts the FSL website information, which states:

“For the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act), FAL is a Government Owned Company, and therefore meets the description of a public authority. As such, FAL is under an obligation to comply with the FOI Act’s legislative provisions concerning access to recorded information.”

Following this negative response I wrote again, requesting that they provide the information, which allowed them exemption from disclosure of case material. I also wrote to Mr John Lees, at the Information Commissioners Office and to my MP Mary Creagh to highlight this refusal to disclose. I received no response from my MP and the response from Mr Lees discussed a Data Protection Request for material. I had not made a Data Protection Request, I had made a Freedom of Information request for all documents and wrote back to advise him of his misinterpretation of the request.

Realising the error Mr Lees wrote to me again in December 2016 requesting copies of the two letters I had sent to when I made my requests. I do not hand copy every letter I write, but a typed manuscript copy of the two letters was available from my campaign team and these were immediately sent to Mr Lees so he could conduct his investigation into the non-disclosure of the material. Following the ICO involvement I received a garbled 2-page response from the FAL, which went into great detail about Data Protection Requests, which I had not made! In addition they stated they would not release all case material under a Freedom of Information Request, but specific items which they would then make a decision whether they would disclose or not. They further stated:

“The FAL is only obliged to consider FOI requests which do not exceed the appropriate limit. The appropriate limit for the FAL is set at £450, and represents the estimated cost of one person spending 2 ½ days working on determining whether the FAL holds the information, locating the information or a document containing it.”
The archive also stated:
“It is therefore important that you explain as precisely as you can, the information to which you are seeking access in order for us to identify and locate the correct material.”

I do not want cherry picked extracts from documents. I need to have the complete case files they hold and I have advised them of this in the last letter I sent to them in February 2017.  The archive have also tried to fob me off by stating that:

“requests for such information would need to be directed to the original investigating police force or the CPS. The pertinent force can then instruct the archive to release the appropriate information to you/your defence team.”

I sought legal advice on this and have been informed that I am not required to obtain permission for my case files from either the CPS or Essex police as no legal restrictions are in place regarding my case documents.

In response to the comments made by the archive regarding the “precise material” I want that is easy. I want the full set of case files they hold regarding the three case numbers relevant to the events at White House Farm which they have no right to withhold from me. The fight continues.


Jeremy


Friday, 13 January 2017

Jeremy's 56th Birthday, 13th January

When I think about all the birthdays I have spent in prison, I remember receiving some of the best gifts anyone can give.  The prison has always had very strict policies about what is allowed in and in recent years restrictions have grown even tighter. What sometimes amazes me is how people work around these difficulties to share the most amazing things with me. One lady many years ago bought me a star for my birthday, others send wonderful drawings and paintings and many send photos from holidays or of their gardens in bloom. I love sharing all of these things with my friends and supporters, the people who take those moments to share a part of themselves with me.

Personal memories are the best kinds of gifts shared, many people write with their happy recollections of events, it might be a marriage or a birth or the day they passed their driving test or got their degree. Others allow me glimpses into their every day life chatting as you would over coffee and expressing their woes, or just sharing the events of the day, moans about the latest parking fine they just received or details of their new shoes. Some debate over moving house or worry about relocating from the city to the country and sometimes I can allay fears over living in the rural but quiet and picturesque villages or homesteads.

I receive often very emotional letters from people who have lost family members in tragic circumstances or they have a sister, mother or child suffering from a serious mental illness. I share in their concerns; offer words of comfort and strength and most of all hope. Some friends write letters from all over the world while they travel or from where they live. Many are ex-pats and others of many different nationalities and it touches me that they are so far away and yet have heard about my wrongful imprisonment, which has moved them to write kind, supportive words and send a birthday greeting.

Strangers confide their loneliness, a feeling that is often all too real in prison, and I identify with the way they reach out to me baring so many emotions. People talk about pain, illness and suffering and in sharing together we find a salve. And soon strangers become friends; they share the laughter in their lives, the comedy in their relationships.

Friends pen their hopes and dreams for the future and talk about what we will do together once I’m on the outside. I’m looking forward to sharing so many of the things you write about in person. All your conversations in cards, letters and emails are welcome. So the next time you write a simple card to me, or offer words of comfort and strength, remember how much I appreciate these gifts even though they’re simple words, they’re so much more than that to me.


Jeremy

Jeremy Bamber

Jeremy Bamber
Innocent Jeremy Bamber