Last updated: 20.03.15
The gun used to carry out the shootings at White House Farm was a .22 Anschutz rifle. This rifle fires a small bullet about the size of a fingernail. There were many guns at the farm, totalling 7 if Anthony Pargeter’s bolt action rifle was also present, these included 12 bore shotguns and .410’s, most of which were kept in the cupboard under the stairs and in the downstairs toilet, although a shotgun was also found upstairs in the office and another found in the downstairs office. The rifle in question had not long been purchased by Nevill Bamber and was licensed in his name. Jeremy on the other hand did not own a gun or a license, though he would use Nevill’s rifle’s around the farm to shoot vermin.
Jeremy said that after he had an aborted mission to shoot rabbits that evening, he left the .22 Anschutz rifle on the settle in the kitchen, he also left some ammunition and magazines out. For those who know very little about guns, this particular rifle is loaded by putting the bullets into a ‘magazine.’ The rifle was what is known as ‘self loading,’ this means that once you load the magazine into the rifle you can keep firing the gun easily over and over until the magazine is empty. The rifle had discharged 26 bullets to kill the family, as a magazine holds 10 bullets, this means it would have been loaded up to three times by Sheila, although Jeremy had already loaded one magazine and left it out on the side.
It has been postulated by the prosecution that it would have been difficult for Sheila to load and fire the weapon. Most of us do not realize exactly how easy the gun was to fire, and that it could be fired accurately at close range. All the deceased were shot within less than 4 feet. The picture to the right is a photograph of the actual gun which Sheila used to kill the family.
We suggest that you take a look at the video below of rifle fire. Notice how quiet the weapon is and how easy it is to load the magazine in the bottom and fire continuously. It is possible that while Sheila reloaded the rifle it gave Nevill time to get to the phone? Imagine the gun being fired not in a rage like the one on the video, but in a house where there are furnishings to absorb the noise.
Jeremy is convinced his father had not been injured before he called him, this leaves the possibility that the children might have already been killed before the call. It is not clear in which order members of the family were killed but it is likely to have been the twins first, followed by June, then Nevill.
We think you will agree the weapon is very easy to use and will leave you to draw your own conclusions about how easily Sheila would have found the weapon to use. Be mindful that she was not a complete novice, she grew up on a farm surrounded by guns, attended shooting parties and was involved in ‘beating’ (A person employed to flush out or drive game birds for shooting by striking at the ground cover.) She had also been away shooting in Scotland with David Boutflour and Peter Eaton as they detailed in documents.