Archived: Forensic Evidence

1. The sound moderator: (sometimes referred to as a silencer).

The trial judge told the jury repeatedly in his summing up that they could convict Jeremy Bamber on the evidence of the sound moderator alone, for two reasons:

· Because it contained traces of the blood enzyme (AK-1) found to be present in Sheila’s blood

· Because there were flakes of red paint adhering to the end.

The judge said that “it was inconceivable that Sheila would use the moderator during part of the tragedy and then take if off and put it in the gun cupboard where it was later found. He also said that the red paint was proof that the moderator was attached to the rifle during the incident. “On that fact alone you could convict” he said.

The moderator did not “connect” Jeremy with the deaths of his family, it merely meant that if it was on the rifle when Sheila suffered her injuries, then she did not commit suicide. At the 2002 appeal, forensic scientists testified that none of Sheila’s DNA was present either inside or outside the moderator, but the court found that there were possible contamination issues relating to DNA testing and the moderator, and accordingly this appeal point was lost.

2. New forensic evidence from American expert Dr Fowler, (confirmed by two peer reviewers) found that the fatal gun shot wound to Sheila’s neck was a contact wound.

This wound was caused when the end of the rifle’s barrel was in contact with her skin, and not caused by the end of the moderator as the court was told. Dr Fowler’s evidence has been confirmed through experimentation by ballistics expert Mr Philip Boyce. The CCRC reject this evidence from four credible experts stating that their conclusions are “speculation” and incapable of forming a ground of appeal.

3. Burn marks to Nevill Bamber’s back.

The judge said in his summing up that it was “a fact” that the moderator was on the rifle in the kitchen. New evidence from Dr Caruso, a leading burns specialist confirms that Nevill’s burn injuries were made by the end of the rifle’s barrel. They were not made by the end of the moderator. Forensic tests and experiments have been carried out by ballistic expert Mr Philip Boyce which has confirmed the conclusions of Dr Caruso.

Scientific evidence from five credible experts makes it very unlikely that the moderator was on the rifle during this tragic incident. Evidence strongly suggests that Nevill was burnt with the end of the rifle’s barrel either after death or when he was completely incapacitated. In 2011 the defence discovered that Essex Police had instructed Mr Fletcher (pre-trial) to test whether the burns to Nevill’s back were caused by the end of the rifle’s barrel, or the end of the moderator. It was suggested that he used pig skin for these experiments. The results from Mr Fletcher’s tests have never been disclosed. 4. Scratch marks under the red painted kitchen mantle shelf correspond to the red paint found adhering to the end of the moderator. In light of Dr Caruso’s evidence, Dr Fowler’s evidence and newly disclosed photographs it is reasonable to question the scratch mark evidence afresh. It is also known that more than one moderator features in this case. Evidence now shows that there are five or possibly six moderators in total.

Essex Police maintain that there is only a single moderator associated with this case, which oddly has at least three different forensic reference numbers, DB-1, SBJ-1 and DRB-1, and two case numbers, SC688-85 and SC786-85. The moderator was also noticed to be visually different each time it was forensically examined.

During a post trial investigation, two of the Crown’s forensic scientists discovered that Essex Police had altered the moderator’s exhibit reference numbers in the witness statements without their permission or knowledge. The City of London Police concluded in their final report that the changes of exhibit reference numbers relating to the moderator was an administrative error, and a need to change DB-1 to DRB-1. The CCRC concluded that this explanation was perfectly acceptable. Both the City of London Police and the CCRC fail to explain why it was necessary to alter the moderator’s original and unique exhibit reference number, and the case number once one had been allocated to it. “Administrative error” is not applicable as a possible defence in this instance. Accordingly an adverse inference can be drawn over Essex Police altering statements without the knowledge or permission of these two forensic scientists, unless that is, a credible explanation for this is given to explain matters further.

5. Scratch marks which appear in photographs taken on 12th September 1985 of the red painted Aga surround, are not present in photographs taken on 7th August 1985, of the same Aga surround.

Scratches in the Mantle

Peter Sutherst a leading photometrist confirmed this, but his conclusions were challenged by Mr Andy Laws of LGC Forensic, as being inconclusive. To resolve matters, accurate measurements would be required from the kitchen of White House Farm. The CCRC failed to resolve this issue by not instructing Mr Laws to carry out these measurements, (accompanied by Mr Sutherst) so this issue remains unresolved. In July 2011 the CCRC finally disclosed to the defence for the first time, 402 photographic negatives that supposedly accounted for all the photographs taken by the police in this case. Oddly 77 photographic frames have been cut from these 63 rolls of film. The CCRC accept the explanation given by Essex Police that unused frames at the end of a roll of film would be cut off routinely. DC Bird, the photographer was surprised by this explanation. The CCRC have failed to address the fact that some of these strips of negatives are missing up to eight frames at the beginning of these films, which is not explained by stating that they were removed because they were unused.

All of these 402 negatives have now been scanned at high resolution enlarging kitchen photographs taken on 12th September 1985. It shows that the Aga surround was scratched and gouged during the taking of these photographs. An explanation was sought from both Essex Police and the CCRC about how the red painted Aga surround came to be scratched and gouged on 12th September 1985. A complaint about this scratch mark issue has also been made to the IPCC, who granted dispensation to Essex Police so this matter has yet to be investigated.

Fresh evidence from Dr Caruso and Dr Fowler now shows that the trial judge was quite wrong to tell the jury that it was “a fact” that the moderator was on the rifle during this incident.

Expert scientific analysis of the same evidence used by the Crown’s experts at trial proves that the jury was misled over the sound moderator evidence. Mr Philip Boyce has carried out numerous forensic experiments confirming that Dr Caruso and Dr Fowler’s conclusions are correct, and Dr Fowler’s work has been peer reviewed twice, by credible experts, who agree with his findings.

The CCRC are wrong to dismiss the evidence from five very eminent scientists as no more than “speculation,” without experts of their own confirming this with their own findings. To date the evidence of Dr Fowler and Dr Caruso remains unchallenged.