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The Murders at White House Farm: Jeremy Bamber and the killing of his family. The definitive investigation.

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On 7 August 1985, Nevill and June Bamber, their daughter Sheila and her two young sons Nicholas and Daniel were discovered shot to death at White House Farm in Essex. The murder weapon was found on Sheila's body; a bible lay at her side. All the windows and doors of the farmhouse were secure, and the Bambers' son, 24-year-old Jeremy, had alerted police after apparently rec On 7 August 1985, Nevill and June Bamber, their daughter Sheila and her two young sons Nicholas and Daniel were discovered shot to death at White House Farm in Essex. The murder weapon was found on Sheila's body; a bible lay at her side. All the windows and doors of the farmhouse were secure, and the Bambers' son, 24-year-old Jeremy, had alerted police after apparently receiving a phone call from his father, who told him Sheila had 'gone berserk' with the gun. It seemed a straightforward case of murder-suicide, but a dramatic turn of events was to disprove the police's theory. In October 1986, Jeremy Bamber was convicted of killing his entire family in order to inherit his parents' substantial estates. He has always maintained his innocence. Drawing on interviews and correspondence with many of those closely connected to the events - including Jeremy Bamber - and a wealth of previously unpublished documentation, Carol Ann Lee brings astonishing clarity to a complex and emotive case. She describes the years of rising tension in the family that culminated in the murders, and provides clear insight into the background of each individual and their relationships within the family unit. Scrupulously fair in its analysis, The Murders at White House Farm is an absorbing portrait of a family, a time and a place, and a gripping account of one of Britain's most notorious crimes.


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On 7 August 1985, Nevill and June Bamber, their daughter Sheila and her two young sons Nicholas and Daniel were discovered shot to death at White House Farm in Essex. The murder weapon was found on Sheila's body; a bible lay at her side. All the windows and doors of the farmhouse were secure, and the Bambers' son, 24-year-old Jeremy, had alerted police after apparently rec On 7 August 1985, Nevill and June Bamber, their daughter Sheila and her two young sons Nicholas and Daniel were discovered shot to death at White House Farm in Essex. The murder weapon was found on Sheila's body; a bible lay at her side. All the windows and doors of the farmhouse were secure, and the Bambers' son, 24-year-old Jeremy, had alerted police after apparently receiving a phone call from his father, who told him Sheila had 'gone berserk' with the gun. It seemed a straightforward case of murder-suicide, but a dramatic turn of events was to disprove the police's theory. In October 1986, Jeremy Bamber was convicted of killing his entire family in order to inherit his parents' substantial estates. He has always maintained his innocence. Drawing on interviews and correspondence with many of those closely connected to the events - including Jeremy Bamber - and a wealth of previously unpublished documentation, Carol Ann Lee brings astonishing clarity to a complex and emotive case. She describes the years of rising tension in the family that culminated in the murders, and provides clear insight into the background of each individual and their relationships within the family unit. Scrupulously fair in its analysis, The Murders at White House Farm is an absorbing portrait of a family, a time and a place, and a gripping account of one of Britain's most notorious crimes.

30 review for The Murders at White House Farm: Jeremy Bamber and the killing of his family. The definitive investigation.

  1. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I have always been an avid reader of Carol Ann Lee’s true crime books and so I was delighted to have the chance to review her latest – The Murders at White House Farm, which looks at the Jeremy Bamber case. The murder of Jeremy Bamber’s family; his adopted parents and sister, plus her two young twin sons, happened in 1985, when I was a student. However, I still recall the horrific crime and the way the press, and public, turned from viewing Jeremy Bamber as a tragic figure to a possible suspect. I have always been an avid reader of Carol Ann Lee’s true crime books and so I was delighted to have the chance to review her latest – The Murders at White House Farm, which looks at the Jeremy Bamber case. The murder of Jeremy Bamber’s family; his adopted parents and sister, plus her two young twin sons, happened in 1985, when I was a student. However, I still recall the horrific crime and the way the press, and public, turned from viewing Jeremy Bamber as a tragic figure to a possible suspect. Of course, Bamber himself has always maintained his innocence and this book gives you all the possible facts, allowing you to make your own deductions from the evidence, but does not attempt to ‘lead’ you in thinking one way or another. The book begins with giving the history of the Bamber family. Nevill Bamber and his wife, Jean, were devout and hard working farming people. The couple adopted their daughter, Sheila Jean in 1958 and son Jeremy Nevill in 1961 and raised them at White House Farm, in the beautiful countryside. However, as is so often the case, what looks idyllic from the outside, is rarely so when examined closely and the Bamber family had their share of issues over the years. Obviously, I do not wish to spoil the book by giving too much away – but, among other things, Jean’s religious outlook caused friction within the family, as did Sheila’s later mental illness and Jeremy’s lack of interest in the farm. Carol Ann Lee steers us through events; from childhood up until the very day of the murders, plus the police investigation, trial and Bamber’s quest to obtain his freedom. Obviously, nobody really knows what happened on the nights of the murders, although this book does try to recreate events as far as possible (and the book includes an Appendix which gives the official police account of a possible reconstruction of events at White House Farm). However, it was clear that, originally, the murders were viewed as that of a suicide/murder scenario – with Jeremy’s sister Sheila assumed to have killed her family, before killing herself. I knew very little about this case and found this book extremely interesting. It reads almost like a thriller, with greed and suspicion raising their heads as attention begins to turn towards Jeremy as the killer. Like all Carol Ann Lee’s books, this is meticulously researched, brilliantly told and an absolute must read for all true crime fans. Movingly, the book ends with an email from Colin Caffell; the father of Sheila’s sons, Nicholas and Daniel, and his thoughts of how these terrible and tragic events have affected his life. However, despite the difficult subject matter, these events are told with sympathy, intelligence and in great detail. Lastly, I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gerry

    It was Jeremy Bamber who alerted police to some trouble at his parents' farm early one morning when he rang from his own home, stating that his father had called him and told him that his sister was going berserk. The police rushed to the farm but Bamber, perhaps surprisingly, took his time and arrived after them. Because the report mentioned some shooting, the armed police were careful and watchful before they finally made entry into the farmhouse. Inside they found Bamber's parents, his sister It was Jeremy Bamber who alerted police to some trouble at his parents' farm early one morning when he rang from his own home, stating that his father had called him and told him that his sister was going berserk. The police rushed to the farm but Bamber, perhaps surprisingly, took his time and arrived after them. Because the report mentioned some shooting, the armed police were careful and watchful before they finally made entry into the farmhouse. Inside they found Bamber's parents, his sister and her two children dead, all shot with the same gun. Aided by Bamber's tale of his father's call and seeing the position of the bodies, the police decided that it was four murders and a suicide, Bamber's sister Sheila being the culprit. It was noticed that Bamber did not appear too upset by the disaster and when questioned he accounted for his time convincingly. The senior police officer felt that it was an open and shut case but, even at that early stage, one of his junior officers thought otherwise and felt that Jeremy Bamber was the killer. It was later stated that officers had been 'temporarily fooled by what amounted to a very carefully premeditated and executed murder plot'. With hindsight, the investigation that followed was flawed in a number of ways but the original interpretation of the crime was upheld. However, sometime later Bamber's girlfriend went to the police and told a very different tale and explained that it was Jeremy Bamber who had committed the murders, he having confessed to her. This put a different light on the case., which was perhaps just as well for forensic evidence differed widely and some important, and at times controversial, clues were only discovered latterly. Bamber, who had been questioned intently was further interrogated and despite his vehement denials he was eventually arrested on suspicion of murder. He always protested his innocence and was convinced that it was just a matter of time before he would be freed. But more evidence was discovered and further investigation revealed that it could definitely all have been a very different story. Bamber eventually went to trial and a majority decision by the jury found him guilty. He could not believe it for he was still protesting his innocence despite what seemed like overwhelming evidence against him. He subsequently made various appeals, all of which were turned down and he remained in prison for a minimum 25 years. Despite ardent campaigning he is still there. Carol Ann Lee has done exhaustive research into the case and 'The Murders at White House Farm' is a compelling read but despite the conclusion that Jeremy Bamber did commit the crime, it is just possible that there could well be still some lingering doubt.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    The Bamber case has long fascinated me - fascinated a lot of people, one of those things most hold a solid opinion about. With this account, Carol Ann Lee brings together all the background, the people, the place, the investigation and gives an in depth overview of the events and those caught up in them. This book is a terrific resource if you want the facts without the drama, the author has taken great pains to gain a great insight into the background of all the players, tracing the family histo The Bamber case has long fascinated me - fascinated a lot of people, one of those things most hold a solid opinion about. With this account, Carol Ann Lee brings together all the background, the people, the place, the investigation and gives an in depth overview of the events and those caught up in them. This book is a terrific resource if you want the facts without the drama, the author has taken great pains to gain a great insight into the background of all the players, tracing the family history in the years leading up to the tragedy, an intelligent and obviously well researched piece that allows the reader to draw their own conclusions. When you read the newspapers of course everything tends to be sensationalised - and the dribs and drabs of information you glean when things like this are actually going on are bound to have gaps as the police do their jobs. Here, in retrospect, Carol Ann Lee brings everything together in one place, writing with practical yet absolutely fascinating factual styling and I was absolutely riveted. Jeremy Bamber of course, has always maintained his innocence - I won't tell you my opinion after reading this book, but I would definitely recommend it if you would like to gain a better understanding of all the ins and outs of what was a case where the phrase "truth is stranger than fiction" could easily apply. Recommended. Happy Reading Folks!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lozzi Counsell

    It is an extremely in-depth book that looks at every different side/event possible. The only problem is that the book is TOO in-depth to the point that half of the facts aren't particularly relevant to the murders at White House Farm. The book could easily be shortened down to half the length. It is an extremely in-depth book that looks at every different side/event possible. The only problem is that the book is TOO in-depth to the point that half of the facts aren't particularly relevant to the murders at White House Farm. The book could easily be shortened down to half the length.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    I found this book difficult to get into and to keep my attention which is disappointing as I usually devour books like this. After watching the tv drama about this I realised I had this already on my book shelf and I wanted to read it straight away. Clearly with something like this though there are many people involved in the investigation and family members that I found it confusing to keep track of everyone. Overall a very intriguing case and even now I dont have a clear certainty of what I th I found this book difficult to get into and to keep my attention which is disappointing as I usually devour books like this. After watching the tv drama about this I realised I had this already on my book shelf and I wanted to read it straight away. Clearly with something like this though there are many people involved in the investigation and family members that I found it confusing to keep track of everyone. Overall a very intriguing case and even now I dont have a clear certainty of what I think happened but it was interesting to learn about a case that I didnt really have much knowledge about even after reading alot of other crime books.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Clare

    Review to follow.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pat Lilley

    I found this book to be a real page-turner. I’m Canadian and hadn’t heard about this case, although I gather it’s notorious in the UK. Jeremy Bamber murdered his parents, his sister, and his two little nephews in order to be the sole heir of his parents’ well-to-do estate. The Bambers were far from perfect but the author describes them as real-life flawed people. There are apparently some in Britain who still insist Jeremy is innocent but the in my opinion the book presents a very convincing cas I found this book to be a real page-turner. I’m Canadian and hadn’t heard about this case, although I gather it’s notorious in the UK. Jeremy Bamber murdered his parents, his sister, and his two little nephews in order to be the sole heir of his parents’ well-to-do estate. The Bambers were far from perfect but the author describes them as real-life flawed people. There are apparently some in Britain who still insist Jeremy is innocent but the in my opinion the book presents a very convincing case that he is a heartless murderer. This book reminded me very much of Fatal Vision, another true case where a father murders his wife and two little girls. A lot of people still think he’s innocent, too. It seems as if the more brutal the crime, the less willing decent people are to be believe someone could actually do it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I came into reading this with an open mind as I knew very little about the case. I knew the basic outline and this was because every few years JB is on the news trying to launch another legal bid for freedom / clear his name. It's a thoroughly researched and detailed account into the lives of the family, the fateful night and aftermath of one of GB's most notorious crimes. I did feel it was a little too detailed, making the book feel a little bogged down at times. Certain parts were dwelled on fo I came into reading this with an open mind as I knew very little about the case. I knew the basic outline and this was because every few years JB is on the news trying to launch another legal bid for freedom / clear his name. It's a thoroughly researched and detailed account into the lives of the family, the fateful night and aftermath of one of GB's most notorious crimes. I did feel it was a little too detailed, making the book feel a little bogged down at times. Certain parts were dwelled on for pages i.e. the background of the farm and then other matters were rushed through speedily i.e. the trial. Also there are some many people mentioned in the book at times it got hard to keep track of who was who, pretty much anyone who had met the family during their lives was mentioned. I won't give my opinion on whether he did it or not, but I do have some views on the case. However there are two things struck me the most about the book; firstly it is that JB is a very dislikeable person with narcissistic tendencies whose basic aim seemed to be just to have money but not to work very hard for it. His lack of emotions, his hurry to sell all the family possessions and buys a Porsche within days of his family's deaths goes onto prove this - also he claimed not to know how the 999 system here worked which I would unbelievable!! Secondly I found how Essex Police handled the case quite atrocious. Evidence lost, the crime scene not treated correctly, experts not even sent to the crime scene to determine matters for themselves; all in all a pretty bungled operation. It's an interesting read even if the story did get a little labouring at times 3.5/5 (rounded up to 4.)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Edel Henry

    Unsurprisingly I decided to read this book as it had been one of the primary resources for the “White House Farm” series that had recently been added to Netflix. Intrigued to see if there was more to the case than appeared in the series, I decided to read Carol Ann Lee’s book myself. I was initially wary as I saw she had penned a numbered of “true crime” books on various topics and feared it would be more “sensationalist” but I needn’t have worried. This book is painstakingly well researched and Unsurprisingly I decided to read this book as it had been one of the primary resources for the “White House Farm” series that had recently been added to Netflix. Intrigued to see if there was more to the case than appeared in the series, I decided to read Carol Ann Lee’s book myself. I was initially wary as I saw she had penned a numbered of “true crime” books on various topics and feared it would be more “sensationalist” but I needn’t have worried. This book is painstakingly well researched and referenced. For context, I read this on Kindle and the last 25% of the book was bibliography and footnotes. In terms of the crime and evidence, there wasn’t much more in the book that hadn’t been touched on in the series. However in this book, Lee spends a lot of time giving a full picture of the victims, in particular the tragic Sheila, which makes the murders about far more than just Jeremy Bamber, as is only right. A really in-depth, detailed account of an incredibly sad case.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Holdaway

    Fascinating and balanced insight into the murders at White House Farm, which is meticulously researched and detailed. Some of the early details are a little dry to read at times, particularly in discussing the relationships between the family members and early life of the Bambers, but it all adds to the rich tapestry of the case and the brick by brick picture Carol Ann Lee builds throughout. By the time you get to the murders and the court case you're compelled to read more and more about it, an Fascinating and balanced insight into the murders at White House Farm, which is meticulously researched and detailed. Some of the early details are a little dry to read at times, particularly in discussing the relationships between the family members and early life of the Bambers, but it all adds to the rich tapestry of the case and the brick by brick picture Carol Ann Lee builds throughout. By the time you get to the murders and the court case you're compelled to read more and more about it, and the book is likely to leave you questioning the verdict - whichever one it may be - you initially held.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Detailed, clear and procedural it's well researched and put together in a balanced, informative way. The sheer volume of chronological detail can become a little much. That aside, one is left with the overwhelming impression that Jeremy Bamber is a massive, massive c*nt. Detailed, clear and procedural it's well researched and put together in a balanced, informative way. The sheer volume of chronological detail can become a little much. That aside, one is left with the overwhelming impression that Jeremy Bamber is a massive, massive c*nt.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pip

    Such a thoroughly researched book, unbiased and brilliantly written.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Damaskcat

    Those who have read this author's previous books about the Moors Murders and about Ruth Ellis will know what to expect from this one and they will not be disappointed. The Bambers - Nevill, June, daughter Sheila and her twin sons, Nicholas and Daniel were murdered at White House Farm in Essex in August 1985. Jeremy Bamber - son of Nevill and June - is in prison for their murders though he has always maintained his innocence. The author unravels the family history in a low key unemotional way and Those who have read this author's previous books about the Moors Murders and about Ruth Ellis will know what to expect from this one and they will not be disappointed. The Bambers - Nevill, June, daughter Sheila and her twin sons, Nicholas and Daniel were murdered at White House Farm in Essex in August 1985. Jeremy Bamber - son of Nevill and June - is in prison for their murders though he has always maintained his innocence. The author unravels the family history in a low key unemotional way and explains how Sheila and Jeremy were both much loved and wanted adopted children. Sheila in her late teens started to show signs of mental illness and she did not always get on with June, reacting against June's steadfast Christian faith. She got on better with Nevill. Jeremy seems to have had a reasonably happy childhood though he did not always get on well at school as his peers found him boastful and arrogant at times. Both children went to boarding schools in Norfolk. Jeremy worked on the farm but didn't always seem too keen on the work and he didn't seem to have a sense of responsibility which his father expected from him if he was to inherit the tenancy of the farm and other business interests. The family were not short of money but Jeremy seems to have had expensive tastes and he wasn't too particular about where he got his money from, growing and selling cannabis at one time. He also spent some time in Australia and New Zealand and one of the friends he made there, Brett Collins came to the UK when Jeremy returned. The author shows that there were disagreements within the family and Jeremy felt he lost out to his sister even though both were provided with property to live in by their parents. Sheila's mental problems worsened and she spent time in a mental hospital though she was never considered a danger to other people. She had help from family and Social Services to look after the twins though just before the killings they had been living with their father Colin Caffell who was by that time divorced from Sheila. The author reconstructs from the police logs of the incident, the sequence of events on the fateful night and shows how the police at first considered it an open and shut case; Sheila had gone mad with a gun and shot her family and then herself. Jeremy was the sole survivor and he was the one who called the police after a frantic phone call from his father in the middle of the night. Unfortunately the police decided very early on that this is what had happened and therefore forensic evidence was contaminated by people walking in and out of the house whereas it should have been preserved as a crime scene. Some police officers at the time were suspicious of Jeremy but their suspicions were ignored because the Senior Investigating Officer had made up his mind. It was months later, after complaints had been made by Jeremy's extended family to the police that the case was looked at again and Jeremy was arrested. His girl friend also came forward with fresh evidence about how he had talked for months about getting rid of his family so that he could inherit and be able to do what he wanted with his life. Did Jeremy's family concoct an elaborate conspiracy to frame him for the killings? Or did he do it? He certainly had the motive for doing so and no alibi for the time of the shootings as well as knowing how to get into and out of the farm house when the doors were locked and bolted. There were no fingerprints on the gun - even though he had handled it perfectly legitimately the previous night when going out to shoot rabbits. Was the phone call he said he received from his father genuine? If his father hadn't ended the call then Jeremy wouldn't have been able to make his subsequent calls to his girlfriend and the police when he actually did make them. How could Sheila have shot herself twice with a rifle? How could she have loaded and reloaded the gun without damaging any of her very long nails and how did she manage to get only her own blood on her nightdress when she had shot four other people at very close range? Whether or not you believe Jeremy to be guilty as the judge and jury did and his family and some of his friends and acquaintances do this is still a fascinating book. It is well written in a low key and unsensational style and clearly meticulously researched. There are notes on the chapters, a bibliography and an index and a useful appendix reconstructing the crime. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about this case and to anyone who likes reading true crime books. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    James

    Before reading this I only had a sketchy idea of the events of 7th August 1985 at White House Farm. I knew that on that night a whole family had been brutally murdered – father, mother, daughter and her two young children. I knew that a young man, Jeremy Bamber, the son of the elderly couple who owned the farm, was eventually tried for the murder, convicted, and has been protesting his innocence ever since. It was one of those notorious cases that resonate, like the Moors’ Murders and that of th Before reading this I only had a sketchy idea of the events of 7th August 1985 at White House Farm. I knew that on that night a whole family had been brutally murdered – father, mother, daughter and her two young children. I knew that a young man, Jeremy Bamber, the son of the elderly couple who owned the farm, was eventually tried for the murder, convicted, and has been protesting his innocence ever since. It was one of those notorious cases that resonate, like the Moors’ Murders and that of the Yorkshire Ripper, and unsurprisingly Jeremy Bamber has become something of a hate figure for the tabloid press. Beyond that I knew snippets: something about a silencer with paint on, Bamber’s assertions repeated by his vocal band of supporters that movement had been spotted from within the house when Bamber was outside with the police, that he claimed that it was his sister, Sheila, an erratic and mentally unstable schizophrenic, who fired the shots. Carol Ann Lee has form; she seems to like delving into the darkest recesses of the human psyche. I’ve only read one of her previous works, an exhaustive investigation into the mind and motivation of Myra Hindley. It was powerful but disturbing stuff, definitely not for the weak hearted. But it was also fair and balanced. One thing I applauded about that earlier work is how she refused to allow the wool to be pulled over her eyes. Many of Hindley’s supporters argue that she was led astray by the evil mind of Ian Brady. While acknowledging Brady’s psychopathology the author demonstrated that Hindley herself had many questions to answer, that on numerous occasions she had shown irritation and contempt towards the relatives of her victims. So the author has the credentials and gravitas to tackle a case as sensitive as the murders at White House Farm, a massacre that in some ways is more controversial than the Moor’s Murders, for there has never been any doubt as to Brady and Hindley’s guilt. Does she manage it? I think she does. The Murders at White House Farm is as exhaustive account as her previous work, perhaps as definitive an account of what happened that night that we can ever hope to get. The author delves into the family and its wider milieu; she places Jeremy and Sheila’s upbringing under a microscope (the siblings were adopted) she pores over their tensions and schisms. Carol Ann Lee subjects the murder scene, police investigation, forensic evidence and trial to meticulous examination and while there is some evidence that Sheila had religious mania and was a seriously unwell woman the narrative of this tome comes back to one subject: Jeremy himself. Jeremy Bamber does not come out of this book well, should he read it he won’t be pleased. He comes across as a cold, calculating and money obsessed psychopath, a man who resents his adopted parents for tying him to the farm, not allowing him to lives his own life, and most of all, not providing him with the monies to do so. He poses as heartbroken by his family’s graveside only to smile when the press has gone. He refers to Sheila’s children as a burden and thinks their father Colin should be grateful that he killed them. In prison he appeals and appeals, perhaps having convinced himself of his own innocence, but his efforts come to nothing, as there is nothing to be found. One thing that did surprise me was the admissibility in court of the silencer. Rather than the police it was relatives who found it. The author’s account makes clear that they repeatedly handled it and didn’t immediately alert the police to its presence. Even once they were alerted to it, the police were slow to seize it and place it in evidence. There’s little evidence of conspiracy here and the author demonstrates that the anomaly is more than likely down to police procedure of the time, the issue does demonstrates a fascinating difference between US and UK law. In the US legal system there is a concept of The Fruit of The Poisoned Tree, whereby evidence is struck out if it was accumulated in a questionable way. My understanding is that the UK legal system does not recognise this concept. So while one might wonder about the chain of custody that doesn’t appear to have unduly concerned the court, either then or since. At no point does Carol Ann Lee give her opinion as to Jeremy’s guilt, rather she lets the evidence speak for itself. On the basis of what I’ve read in The Murders at White House Farm there’s little doubt. I’m sure Jeremy and his supporters will condemn this book but for those with an open mind this is a magisterial and forensic account.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Inga Vesper

    Incredibly detailed and forensic investigation of this case. So much backstory and insight, but it never feels gratutious or petty. The author does a wonderful job staying balanced and impartial, while lending a modern view on a case that drew, and still draws, so much ire and confusion.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jill Meyer

    Here in the United States, we've become almost numb to the amount of murders - both of family members and strangers - that seem to occur with great regularity. In the UK, I think they're a bit more shocked by murders and murder/suicides. One in particular that gained a lot of press was the murder of a husband/wife/daughter/twin sons at White House Farm in Essex in August, 1985. A recent book, "The Murders at White House Farm", by Carol Ann Lee, takes a close examination of the murder and the tri Here in the United States, we've become almost numb to the amount of murders - both of family members and strangers - that seem to occur with great regularity. In the UK, I think they're a bit more shocked by murders and murder/suicides. One in particular that gained a lot of press was the murder of a husband/wife/daughter/twin sons at White House Farm in Essex in August, 1985. A recent book, "The Murders at White House Farm", by Carol Ann Lee, takes a close examination of the murder and the trial, and the victims and the convicted murderer. Since this book is true crime, the ending - the conviction - is well-known. What's less known are some details that have emerged in the 30 years since the crime and trial. Okay, were the deaths of Nevill and June Bamber, their divorced daughter, Sheila and her twin boys, age 7, "murder/suicide" or just "murder". The difference is that when the bodies were discovered at the rural farm house, the police, guided by the Bamber's son, Jeremy, thought that Sheila - age 28 - had murdered her parents and her sons, and then turned the gun on herself. Later evidence showed that Jeremy had entered the house and done the murders himself, basically for reasons of greed. Nevill and June Bamber married after WW2 but were unable to have children. After a few years of marriage, they adopted, first, Sheila, and then a few years later, Jeremy. It was thought that neither child "bonded" with their adoptive parents, but that's easy to claim if adoption is how a family is put together. Certainly the same problems between parents and children can and do occur between natural parents and children. In any case, the Bambers did the best they could for their two children but they had grown a bit apart as the children aged. June Bamber became very religious and the children didn't feel particularly comfortable with the religious bent of the household. Both mother and daughter had emotional problems. Sheila, a beautiful girl, tried her hand at modeling but wasn't quite right at it. She married a young man, Colin Caffell, and had twin sons before divorcing. The two shared the child-rearing, even though Sheila's emotional difficulties. Jeremy Bamber had a diffident personality. He wasn't close to his family but worked in the family businesses. He knew he would inherit a goodly amount of of money from his parents at their deaths, but he didn't want to share the inheritance with his sister. They all had to die. And die they did. After the police had finally been set straight by Jeremy's former girlfriend as to his role in their murders, the trial resulted in his spending the rest of his life in jail. Since his conviction, almost 30 years ago, Jeremy Bamber has been touting his innocence to anyone who would listen. But he couldn't convince the courts of law or the courts of public opinion that his sister could have murdered their parents and her sons. Author Carol Ann Lee takes a long and detailed look at the case and the verdict. This book, published in hard back, rather than in mass-market, shows the seriousness and interest that this case has held in Britain since 1985. It was a good, but ultimately sad, read as these stories of personal destruction usually are.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Niamh Mcmahon

    This is an interesting read and clearly well researched, yet I have some issues with it. It is overly detailed and drawn out regarding some aspects of the case, yet glosses over or rushes through other parts. The author spends large chunks of the book relating conversations Jeremy had with family and friends and his overall behaviour in the period after the murder. This got quite tedious after a while. We get the point that he behaved oddly, there was no need to list every single interaction he This is an interesting read and clearly well researched, yet I have some issues with it. It is overly detailed and drawn out regarding some aspects of the case, yet glosses over or rushes through other parts. The author spends large chunks of the book relating conversations Jeremy had with family and friends and his overall behaviour in the period after the murder. This got quite tedious after a while. We get the point that he behaved oddly, there was no need to list every single interaction he had (all of which are hearsay anyway) Yet she rushes through the evidence of Jeremy's phone call to police and doesn't mention at all the fact that Neville allegedly called the police after ringing Jeremy but before Jeremy made his call to the police. This would give Jeremy a cast iron alibi if true and so should have been given more intensive scrutiny rather than the repetitive narrative about his odd behaviour. Overall a good read, but I would have liked to see a little more scrutiny of the points that allegedly exonerate Jeremy.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alice Nuttall

    A full, thorough and very well-balanced account of a horrific crime.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    After watching a couple of episodes of the White House Farm series on Netflix, I decided to pick up this book, which I bought last year. I've been vaguely aware of the case for some time, but never knew the details. The book sounded interesting: a thorough account of the murders and the investigation afterwards. I didn't realise that a thorough account would mean detailing EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION that Jeremy had with relatives that had anything to do with his feelings towards his family, or co After watching a couple of episodes of the White House Farm series on Netflix, I decided to pick up this book, which I bought last year. I've been vaguely aware of the case for some time, but never knew the details. The book sounded interesting: a thorough account of the murders and the investigation afterwards. I didn't realise that a thorough account would mean detailing EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION that Jeremy had with relatives that had anything to do with his feelings towards his family, or could point towards his guilt. I do believe he did it. I don't think Sheila would have killed her children like that, and I don't think that she would have been able to shoot herself a second time. I think Jeremy had the motive and means to do it, and was very cold and calculating in everything he did in in the lead up to the murders and the months afterwards. But, I know that people believe he didn't do it, and are still campaigning for his release. I hope he never gets out. Out of the whole of this book, the one thing that will sit with me the most is Colin's statement at the end. Let's stop glamourising the murderer and think of the victims: not just those who died, but those who are left behind to grieve. I do wonder if our obsession with true crime makes it even worse. The book itself was okay. It was long, too long, and had way too much information in it. But, if you like that kind of detail, this might be the book for you. I don't think I'll ever re-read it, and I don't think I'll try any of the author's other books. She's not a bad writer, but her style is just not for me. I would say that in the book the author tries to be fair. I don't think it's biased one way or the other. Jeremy's side is put in here, as well as Julie's version of events, and the comments of various friends and family members. Everything is included, and we are left to make up our own minds at the end. Overall, I'd rate this a three star. I appreciated the knowledge I gained from reading this, but I got so bored by the amount of detail. It's such a dry read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Lee

    I had recently watched the tv series about the murders at White House Farm and the story of Jeremy Bamber. I do remember the murders taking place, even though I was only 14. I think I remember the sensationalistic headlines that the newspapers ran for some reason. I ‘enjoyed’ the series and thought that the book written by Carol Ann Lee would be interesting. For those who don’t know on the 7th August 1985, 5 bodies were found at White House Farm, Nevill and June Bamber; their daughter Sheila and I had recently watched the tv series about the murders at White House Farm and the story of Jeremy Bamber. I do remember the murders taking place, even though I was only 14. I think I remember the sensationalistic headlines that the newspapers ran for some reason. I ‘enjoyed’ the series and thought that the book written by Carol Ann Lee would be interesting. For those who don’t know on the 7th August 1985, 5 bodies were found at White House Farm, Nevill and June Bamber; their daughter Sheila and her two young sons, Nicholas and Daniel. They all had been shot dead, in what appeared at first a murder suicide by Sheila. At first it appeared a straightforward case but soon became a murder enquiry with Jeremy Bamber as the main suspect. In 1986 he was convicted of killing his entire family. He has always maintained his innocence. I found this an interesting account of the events that night, but also interesting in that Carol Lee explores the family history and relationships. She uses interviews and correspondence with those connected to the killings, including Bamber himself. A compelling read, I found this very interesting and couldn’t put it down. I probably finished it in a few days. I would very much recommend this book, extremely well researched, and very well written.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    A compelling but disturbing account of the notorious 1985 murder case. Serious mistakes were made in the investigation and you do question how Bamber was convicted on such weak (in places) evidence. But, on the basis of this book, he - at the very least - is a manipulative, cold-hearted individual. You can certainly believe that he was capable of carrying out the killings. His sister Shelia, who Bamber claims was the real killer, is just is not a believable culprit. She was very ill but did not s A compelling but disturbing account of the notorious 1985 murder case. Serious mistakes were made in the investigation and you do question how Bamber was convicted on such weak (in places) evidence. But, on the basis of this book, he - at the very least - is a manipulative, cold-hearted individual. You can certainly believe that he was capable of carrying out the killings. His sister Shelia, who Bamber claims was the real killer, is just is not a believable culprit. She was very ill but did not show any indication that she was psychotic (to the extent she would commit murder/suicide). You could just about believe that she would kill her sons and then herself but not her parents as well, and not in the way that White House Farm murders happened. Therefore, on the balance of probabilities, I think he is guilty. His mistake was to be so damn arrogant to think people would believe his story. They did initially but they saw through him in the end. I think his problem now is that he has forgotten that he is guilty. He probably is convinced that Shelia - and not him - pulled the trigger. I like to believe in redemption but I think prison is where Bamber should stay. I don't even he realises quite what horrific things he is capable of.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sian Kerr

    I first heard about White House Farm when Stephen Graham was being interviewed about playing DCI Taff Jones. From then on I was intrigued into finding out more about the crime and what happened on that night. Carol Ann Lee writes in a very approachable way, that makes the events accessible to those that aren't experts in forensics or police work. I must admit, I found the second part of the book much more intriguing and I galloped through the chapters surrounding the murders and the subsequent t I first heard about White House Farm when Stephen Graham was being interviewed about playing DCI Taff Jones. From then on I was intrigued into finding out more about the crime and what happened on that night. Carol Ann Lee writes in a very approachable way, that makes the events accessible to those that aren't experts in forensics or police work. I must admit, I found the second part of the book much more intriguing and I galloped through the chapters surrounding the murders and the subsequent trial. I understand the need for the first half, however I felt it was a bit bogged down in information that wasn't entirely necessary. I also found all the names challenging and struggled to remember how everyone was related to everyone else. In the last few chapters Nevill was referred to as Ralph which completely threw me. Despite this, it was a well written nonfiction piece, which kept me hooked from the off. The case and Jeremy Bamber are very intriguing and I wonder if we'll ever know what really happened that night.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Graham Powell

    This seems to be a fair and detailed account of the murders at the farm. Plenty of background, but we are left to decide for ourselves what happened on the night of the shootings. It is credible to believe that Jeremy Bamber murdered his family. But that is not the only possible explanation for the deaths. As someone with more recent experience with fostering and adoption, I was aware that this family should have been given more support from the outset. I hope that times have changed for the bet This seems to be a fair and detailed account of the murders at the farm. Plenty of background, but we are left to decide for ourselves what happened on the night of the shootings. It is credible to believe that Jeremy Bamber murdered his family. But that is not the only possible explanation for the deaths. As someone with more recent experience with fostering and adoption, I was aware that this family should have been given more support from the outset. I hope that times have changed for the better. Secure, middle-class family adopts two very young children - what could possibly go wrong? It's OK to admit that you're struggling - either as a child who has experienced the inevitable loss that comes before adoption or as a parent shouldering emotional responsibility for two young children, teenagers, young adults. Adoption can be a blessing when it works well, but there has to be support available for all parties. With more modern insight and appropriate intervention, maybe there would have been a better outcome. Maybe.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gary Loewy

    If I didn't know it was true..... I remember vaguely the white house farm murders at the time. It was a busy time in my life I was just married and had bought our first home. So it was the t.v series on itv recently that made me come back to the story. I found fascinating. I needed to understand what really happened all those years ago. It is true that Hollywood couldn't have made this up. This book covers everything, from the families background to the events leading up to the killings though to hi If I didn't know it was true..... I remember vaguely the white house farm murders at the time. It was a busy time in my life I was just married and had bought our first home. So it was the t.v series on itv recently that made me come back to the story. I found fascinating. I needed to understand what really happened all those years ago. It is true that Hollywood couldn't have made this up. This book covers everything, from the families background to the events leading up to the killings though to his conviction and appeals. Firstly, I have no doubt in my mind that Bamber is guilty, secondly his refusal to admit his guilt is breathtakingly arrogant. The family will never get closure or recover while he is allowed to continue to post on line and incredibly people fight for his freedom. He should never be released , and may be one day before he dies he will finally explain what he did to his poor family.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amy W

    Went into this cold, based on having read some of this author's previous books. Unlike those focused on the Myra Hindley/Ian Brady killings I'd never actually heard of this crime. I got as far as 23%, so over 1/5 of the way in and the crime still hadn't happened. Just lots and lots of background on the generations of the family, incidents that happened in Jeremy Bamber and the family's lives, speculation from people close to the family and so on. Had to resort to the Wikipedia article to actuall Went into this cold, based on having read some of this author's previous books. Unlike those focused on the Myra Hindley/Ian Brady killings I'd never actually heard of this crime. I got as far as 23%, so over 1/5 of the way in and the crime still hadn't happened. Just lots and lots of background on the generations of the family, incidents that happened in Jeremy Bamber and the family's lives, speculation from people close to the family and so on. Had to resort to the Wikipedia article to actually tell me what happened and, although there were some faintly interesting points on the location of evidence, the timeline etc, it seems pretty obvious Jeremy did it. To me it boils down to a man dissatisfied with his family who one day took matters into his own hands and killed them all. Tragic, but not the most compelling. The author really tried, but there just isn't much to get your teeth into with this crime. So leaving it here and wishing I'd just gone to Wikipedia first...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    I’m not qualified to pronounce on the rights and wrongs of this case, but I can pronounce on the literary qualities of the book and for me it failed on many aspects. For a start it’s just too detailed. A case can be made for going into detail about the main protagonists but we don’t need to know all about their friends, acquaintances and colleagues. It all gets far too bogged down in the minutiae which slows the narrative. Then there’s far too much reconstructed dialogue, making it all feel like I’m not qualified to pronounce on the rights and wrongs of this case, but I can pronounce on the literary qualities of the book and for me it failed on many aspects. For a start it’s just too detailed. A case can be made for going into detail about the main protagonists but we don’t need to know all about their friends, acquaintances and colleagues. It all gets far too bogged down in the minutiae which slows the narrative. Then there’s far too much reconstructed dialogue, making it all feel like a bad novel. In the end I just found the book too tedious and simply turned to the Wikipedia page to get the facts and left it at that. Tabloid journalism at its worst turned into a long-winded book. Not for me, this one, especially as there seems to be a lot of doubt about the book’s accuracy as well.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Natasha

    At the beginning of the book I questioned the authors choice to discuss Sheila Caffell's life and medical history in such detail, believing that this would be the basis for her argument that Jeremy Bamber did not kill his family. however as the story goes on it became apparent that a lot of research has gone into this story and the details provided were needed to lay the back story of this family and the tragic circumstances surrounding them. In the end it comes down to who was believed and what At the beginning of the book I questioned the authors choice to discuss Sheila Caffell's life and medical history in such detail, believing that this would be the basis for her argument that Jeremy Bamber did not kill his family. however as the story goes on it became apparent that a lot of research has gone into this story and the details provided were needed to lay the back story of this family and the tragic circumstances surrounding them. In the end it comes down to who was believed and what was believed possible, I think the author has done an excellent job, bringing the story to the general public and i would recommend it as a good read to any one. well told, well evaluated, it seems that the author has attempted to remove bias from her writing to provide an impartial look at what happened, including the police workings afterwards and I believed she did this well.

  28. 5 out of 5

    susan prentice

    Not sure about this book. I have read other reviews that have given it 5 stars and wonder why. The structure is extremely complicated and the content tends to ramble too much. 25% of the book is taken up with 'notes'. Unless the reader has access to these sources of information they do not contribute much. Also, so many people form part of the narrative that it would have been useful to have had a list of the main characters and their relationship with Jeremy Bamber and his family. With regard t Not sure about this book. I have read other reviews that have given it 5 stars and wonder why. The structure is extremely complicated and the content tends to ramble too much. 25% of the book is taken up with 'notes'. Unless the reader has access to these sources of information they do not contribute much. Also, so many people form part of the narrative that it would have been useful to have had a list of the main characters and their relationship with Jeremy Bamber and his family. With regard to the 5 star reviewers, quite a few have doubts that Jeremy Bamber was guilty. This is a ridiculous supposition. Forensics, other evidence and common sense proved categorically that Sheila could not have committed the murders and her own suicide so if Bamber did not commit the crimes that he was tried and sentenced for, WHO DID? And why?

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bobby24

    I have just finished this book today. Last year I read Truman Capote's book In Cold Blood, and that was a very good book and very similar, however large parts are said to be fiction, in fact its really very hard to know just how much is. However The murders at white House farm is a better book, yes I said better. Anyone over say forty in Britain will know of this case and the apparent killer in question, it centres around a remote village and a remote farm in Essex where five people (including two I have just finished this book today. Last year I read Truman Capote's book In Cold Blood, and that was a very good book and very similar, however large parts are said to be fiction, in fact its really very hard to know just how much is. However The murders at white House farm is a better book, yes I said better. Anyone over say forty in Britain will know of this case and the apparent killer in question, it centres around a remote village and a remote farm in Essex where five people (including two young children)were murdered in the dead of night. The chief suspect at first was the daughter who was severely mentally ill, soon afterwards it became apparent that all was not as it seemed. I won't go into the details too much surfice to say that the man eventually held responsible for this crime was sent to jail in 1986, forever, where he still remains protesting his innocence, but I will say that the term "beyond reasonable doubt" is nothing short of measly mouthed court words, because there is every reasonable doubt about his conviction, to carry out this crime successfully would be akin to threading cotton through five needles at once, the CIA or James Bond imo could not have pulled this off without leaving a trace. Although many overseas readers may think that this was a local crime therefore a local or national book they'd be wrong, I think American and Aussie readers will be very interested in this because it is so brilliantly written and it details English rural life, as I said it is better than Capotes effort fifty or so years ago. Anyone interested in true crime or the workings of murder detectives will enjoy this book After a nights reading it began to give me a restless nights sleep, its as creepy as hell in parts and very frightening, its also very sad,. In my opinion Bamber is guilty of Immaturity, utter disrespect to the deceased and family, greed and idiocy but not murder. Ultimately its a book and story that you will not forget, truly a Haunting read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dignan107

    Thorough, intricate & very interesting. Provides all there is to know about the murders of 5 family members in 1985. Well balanced account of pre and post the horrific event at White House Farm. The author doesn’t try to drive their own opinion of the case, merely to provide known facts about the family, their relationships with each other and events leading up to and post the murders. The description of the investigation and subsequent enquiries & appeals also gives great depth to the book. Ver Thorough, intricate & very interesting. Provides all there is to know about the murders of 5 family members in 1985. Well balanced account of pre and post the horrific event at White House Farm. The author doesn’t try to drive their own opinion of the case, merely to provide known facts about the family, their relationships with each other and events leading up to and post the murders. The description of the investigation and subsequent enquiries & appeals also gives great depth to the book. Very enjoyable read, completed in quick time on various sunbeds in a Turkey hotel.

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