The White House Farm murders took place near the village of Tolleshunt D’Arcy, Essex, England, during the night of 6 – 7 August 1985. Nevill and June Bamber were shot and killed inside their farmhouse, along with their adoptive daughter, Sheila Caffell, and Sheila’s six-year-old twin sons. The only surviving member of the immediate family was June and Nevill’s adoptive son, Jeremy Bamber, then 24 years old, who said he had been at home a few miles away when the shooting took place.
The police at first believed that Sheila, diagnosed with schizophrenia, had fired the shots then turned the gun on herself. But weeks after the murders Jeremy Bamber’s ex-girlfriend told police that he had implicated himself. The prosecution argued that, motivated by a large inheritance, Bamber had shot the family with his father’s semi-automatic rifle, then placed the gun in his unstable sister’s hands to make it look like a murder–suicide. A silencer the prosecution said was on the rifle would have made it too long, they argued, for Sheila’s fingers to reach the trigger to shoot herself. Bamber was convicted of five counts of murder in October 1986 by a 10–2 majority, sentenced to a minimum of 25 years, and informed in 1994 that he would never be released.
Bamber protested his innocence throughout, although his extended family remained convinced of his guilt. Between 2004 and 2012 his lawyers submitted several unsuccessful applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. They argued that the silencer might not have been used during the killings, that the crime scene may have been damaged then reconstructed, that crime-scene photographs were taken weeks after the murders, and that the time of Sheila’s death was miscalculated