ITV’s new drama White House Farm dramatises the real-life murders of a family in 1985. The six-part series looks at the killings of parents Nevill and June Bamber, their adoptive daughter Sheila Caffell and her two sons, who were murdered in their Essex farmhouse.
The series, written by The Slap’s Kris Mrksa and Giula Sandler, follows the aftermath of their deaths. Although the police initially believe Sheila, who suffered from schizophrenia, had committed the murders and killed herself, they start to realise that surviving family member Jeremy Bamber was responsible for killing his family.
Freddie Fox plays the role of Jeremy Bamber in White House Farm, but who is the character based on in real life?
Who is Jeremy Bamber?
Jeremy Bamber is a convicted multiple murderer, having been found guilty of murdering his parents, adopted sister and her six-year-old twin sons in August 1985.
Jeremy was born in 1961 and adopted by farmers Nevill and June Bamber at six months old. He was 24 and working on his father’s farm prior to the murders.
Sheila Caffell’s ex-husband, Colin Caffell, described Jeremy as a charming man, and said on Lorraine that he had been “seduced” by Jeremy’s lies when dealing with the loss of his wife.
What happened at White House Farm?
Jeremy Bamber rang the police after committing the murders and said that Nevill told him Sheila went “berserk” with a rifle. Police entered the farmhouse to find June, Nevill, Sheila and her two sons shot dead.
Police initially believed Sheila had shot her family, as she had spent time in a psychiatric hospital with depression and schizophrenia prior to the murders and was found dead with a rifle against her throat. However, the police arrested Bamber after his girlfriend told them that he’d expressed an intention to kill his parents.
What evidence was found against Jeremy Bamber?
Bamber’s fingerprint was found on the murder weapon’s gun barrel and Bamber’s cousin found a gun silencer and telescopic lenses for the murder weapon at the back of a gun cupboard at the house after the killings. Traces of Caffell’s blood were found smeared on the silencer and the prosecution determined that she would have not been able to shoot herself with the sound moderator attached to the gun.
The prosecution also argued that Bamber’s telephone conversation with his father had never happened as there was no evidence the conversation took place and they argued that Nevill was too badly injured to have spoken to anyone.
Bamber’s trial lasted 18 days in 1986, with the jury finding Bamber guilty by a majority of 10 to two. The judge told him: “Your conduct in planning and carrying out the killing of five members of your family was evil, almost beyond belief.” Bamber was sentenced to five life terms, with a recommendation that he serve 25 years.
Why did Jeremy Bamber do it?
The prosecution argued that Bamber was motivated by “hatred and greed” when he planned and carried out the killings. They argued that his motive behind the murders was to inherit the whole of the family estate.
Bamber’s girlfriend Julie Mugford told police that Bamber had resented his parents who “tried to run his life” and begrudged his sister Sheila, who lived in an expensive flat maintained by their parents. Mugford told police that he had previously said that he wished “he could get rid of them all”.
Bamber still maintains his innocence, and is one of few murderers who are serving a whole life order imposed by a Home Secretary.
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Where is Jeremy Bamber now?
Jeremy is serving a whole life order at HM Prison Wakefield in Yorkshire.
Who plays Jeremy Bamber?
Cucumber’s Freddie Fox plays Jeremy Bamber in White House Farm. He recently starred in comedy Year of the Rabbit and is the younger brother of Silent Witness’s Emilia Fox.