Bamber's Bid for Freedom; DNA Breakthrough Could Clear House of Horror Convict

Article excerpt

Byline: BEN TAYLOR

JEREMY BAMBER, given life five times in one of Britain's most sensational mass murder cases, has been granted an appeal hearing, it was revealed last night.

His 1986 convictions for the slaughter of five members of his family are to be re-examined in the light of new DNA evidence.

If he wins he could be free by Christmas. Bamber, 39, who has previously been told he would never leave prison, revealed the development on his personal Internet website.

'As you can imagine I am thrilled to bits at being one step closer to clearing my name,' he wrote.

Bamber was convicted of murdering his adoptive parents, Nevill and June, his sister Sheila Caffell and her six-year-old twin sons at the family farmhouse in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex, in 1985.

He claims the killer was Miss Caffell, also adopted, who he says was mentally unstable.

The appeal will say that she carried out the murder and then turned the gun on herself.

This was his original defence, but the new case will revolve around whose blood it was which was found on a silencer

for the semiautomatic rifle used to kill the family.

The original prosecution case said the blood belonged to Miss Caffell and got there when Bamber put the rifle against her head and shot her.

It proved, the Crown said, that she did not kill herself because the gun with silencer would have been too long to point at her own head.

Bamber's new claim, based on a blood sample from Miss Caffell's natural mother and examined using DNA technology not available at the time of the trial, is that the blood on the silencer was not his sister's.

His lawyer, Ewen Smith, said this meant that in theory she could have killed her family, removed the silencer - which was later found in a gun cupboard some distance from her body - and then shot herself.

The decision to look again at his conviction was made by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Its judgment is sure to be greeted with fury by surviving members of Bamber's family.

Detectives claimed he killed them out of greed so he could inherit their [pound]500,000 fortune.

Last night a spokesman for the commission confirmed that the case was to be referred back after a two-year review, during which fresh forensic tests have been ordered.

It has been reviewed by a single caseworker - whom Bam-ber thanked last night - who has been supervised by a member of the Commission.

Under the laws governing the Commission, it refers back only those cases that it believes have a strong likelihood of satisfying three judges at an appeal court.

Once a decision is made, cases are normally heard within six months - which means Bamber could leave his

cell at top security Whitemoor prison in Cambridgeshire before the end of the year.

Bamber also claims there are several other issues his legal team will be raising in the case.

At his trial, it was claimed that he managed to reach his parents house by bicycle. He says he never made that trip.

Secondly, he says that he could never have gained access to the farm because all the doors and windows were locked from the inside.

Finally, he insists that the Crown's suggestion that he fought with his father in the kitchen is false.

An earlier application for leave to appeal against conviction was refused by the Court of Appeal in 1989.

Members of Bamber's family have been informed of the latest move.

Last night his aunt Pamela Boutflour, who is in her eighties, said: 'We are just stunned.

'Jeremy Bamber is a very devious man and as Judge Drake said he is evil beyond belief and that is what we believe.' Bamber, who was convicted of five counts of murder at Chelmsford Crown Court in October 1986, has always maintained his innocence.

Earlier this year he set up his website to campaign for his release - to the anger of the victims' relatives, who denounced it as 'sick'. …