Silencer and Sound Moderator


 The Silencer and Sound Moderator

The term silencer was also used to describe the Parker Hale MM1 type sound moderator. In layman’s terms a silencer conjures up the image of a James Bond movie where the noise from a gunshot is almost silenced. In this case the reason for using the term ‘silencer’ to describe the Parker Hale sound moderator was simply to differentiate between two different exhibits, SBJ/1 an MM1 type made by Parker Hale, and exhibit DB/1 also an MM1 type made by Parker Hale. Both sound moderators were in the gun cupboard at White House Farm on Wednesday 7th August 1985. For ease of identifying which exhibit was which, the police named SBJ/1 as the sound moderator, and DB/1 as the silencer even though both were Parker Hale made M.M.1 type sound moderators. Essex Police have never disclosed that two sound moderators were removed from the gun cupboard at White House Farm after 7th August 1985. In an Event Log Essex Police stated that:


The point being that after 15th November 1985 a decision was taken by Essex Police to conceal the fact that this investigation featured a first sound moderator and a second sound moderator that was referred to as a silencer to prevent confusion. All the evidence surrounding these two Forensic Exhibits is actually nothing more than an almost endless stream of red herrings as it is certain that neither the sound moderator nor the silencer featured in any way during this awful tragedy. 

Does the MM1 type sound moderator make a difference to the volume of sound when shots are fired?

This Investigation by Essex Police features Forensic Exhibits identified as either silencers or sound moderators. Malcolm Fletcher, a Forensic Scientist based in 1985 at Huntingdon Forensic Science Laboratory, stated on Page 5 of his 13th November 1985 witness statement that:

This proves that a ‘silencer’ was used by police to simply hoodwink the jury into believing that Jeremy had used it during the killings to make a difference to the sound of the rifle firing. The reality is that it makes very little difference at all.

The Bullets

Nevill Bamber purchased the .22 rifle and sound moderator from Radcliffe’s of Colchester on 30th November 1984[1]. He also purchased a quantity of Eley subsonic hollow .22 ammunition at the same time.

During the trial Malcolm Fletcher was asked if it would be expected that from loading up to twenty-five bullets into the magazine Sheila would have had any residue of propellant or oil on her nightdress from handling the bullets. Fletcher said there would be “a very good chance” of that happening. When he was asked if he had actually found residue or oil on her nightdress he replied with an emphatic “I didn’t Sir, No.” The evidence given by Fletcher that he believed Sheila would have had residue of oil on her nightdress if she had used the gun and that he stated there was no such oil on her nightdress would lead the jury to assume that the lack of it indicated that Sheila had not used the rifle. Similarly gunshot residue could be wiped away easily using a cloth as testified to by forensic Scientist Philip Boyes.

 

Eley state in their product guide that:

Looking at Malcolm Fletcher’s transcript Page 56 at ‘A’ to ‘H’, and Page 57 ‘A’ and ‘B’, [2]the Jury is, misled into believing that these cartridges have “a greasy feel to them”  so the Trial Judge says who handled some of the sample bullets himself and stated that they had a “greasy feel to them” to which Fletcher replied: “Yes”.


Except Ely state that the actual lubricant used is a non-greasy lubricant, so it is a mystery how the cartridges produced in Court to be shown to the Jury ended up, according to the Trial Judge, “Feeling greasy”. This fact completely undermines the point the Prosecution were raising. It did not matter that Mr Fletcher had not, according to his evidence, discovered oil or lubricant from handling bullets on Sheila’s nightdress as the bullets for the .22 rifle were coated in “A non- greasy lubricant”.  

Author, J Bamber & Y Hartley.


[1] AF-NM-020-02) R B Radcliffe (17-09-85). PDF, Pg.1. “the purchase of a ANCHUTZ make model 525 .22 long rifle

by Mr Nevill BAMBER on 30 November 1984”,

[2] AA-04-M18) Fletchers - Trial Evidence. PDF