Bamber appeal hears new murder scene claims

Three judges hearing the appeal against conviction by Jeremy Bamber were today scrutinising allegations that police could have disturbed the scene at the farmhouse where five members of his adoptive family were murdered.

Bamber, 41, serving life in prison, was back in the dock at the Court of Appeal in London for the third day of a three-week review of his 1986 murder convictions.

Dressed in an open-necked white shirt, bespectacled Bamber, who was flanked by security officers, listened intently as his counsel Michael Turner QC made further submissions on the first of 15 grounds of appeal.

The first ground centres around alleged "deceit" by police over hand swabs taken from one of the victims of the White House Farm massacre almost 17 years ago.

Later today the judges are expected to be given details of allegations that the crime scene could have been disturbed by Tactical Firearms Group officers when they burst into the kitchen.

Bamber, who was convicted at Chelmsford Crown Court in October 1986 of five counts of murder, has always maintained his innocence.

His mother June, 61, and six-year-old nephews Nicholas and Daniel were shot dead in their beds at White House Farm in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex, in August 1985.

His father Nevill was found slumped downstairs, while his sister Sheila Caffell, a model nicknamed Bambi, was found by her parents' bed.

Lord Justice Kay, Mr Justice Wright and Mr Justice Henriques are being urged to quash his murder convictions as "unsafe".

At trial the "fight in the kitchen", where Nevill Bamber's body was found, loomed large.

Furniture and crockery were disrupted and sugar spilt on the floor. It will be argued on Bamber's behalf that this could have been caused by police officers.

Bamber's case was referred back to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which investigates possible miscarriages of justice.

Detectives initially suspected that Miss Caffell, who suffered from mild schizophrenia and who had not been taking her medication, had murdered her parents and sons before turning the gun on herself.

They arrested Bamber, who stood to inherit almost £500,000 from his parents' death, nine weeks later when he returned from a holiday in France.

His first appeal attempt was rejected in 1989.

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