'The Last Week an Audio Drama'

The last week is an audio drama performed by professional actors. It reconstructs events leading up to Julie Mugford 'volunteering to go to the police' with the hit man story. Everything created comes from police statements but many events and actions sound ludicrous, make up your own mind and take a listen below.

Did Julie Mugford voluntarily go to the police?

Julie Mugford was the girlfriend of Jeremy Bamber who testified against him in court, stating that he had told her he planned to kill his family for over a year, and that he’d hired a hit man to carry out the shootings. This page contains reference to the evidence that supports the dramatisation below.

Julie was a friend of Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Rimmington and also Susan ‘Sue’ Battersby, with whom Julie had committed fraud in 1984. Julie claimed to have told both of them, and no one else, that Jeremy had killed his family. Within days of Jeremy breaking off their relationship, and prior to Julie informing police of his ‘involvement’ in the killings, she told Liz and also apparently Sue. This document sets out the evidence which disputes that Julie ever told Sue anything and further suggests she only invented this story when Jeremy had broken off the relationship. This document also supports the contention that Julie was not a willing informant and that she went to the police following pressure from Liz Rimmington and Malcolm Waters who led the process by calling the police from Malcolm's home and asking them to come out to speak to Julie who was unwilling to voluntarily go to the police station. During the course of her evidence, Julie provided Essex police with seven witness statements, however, these were not disclosed, and extracts from them made up a ‘served copy’ which was given to the defence and the 1986 trial. The served copy omitted the majority of her criminal activities and focused on accusations against Jeremy. Find out more about Julie in our video and on our web page here.

Summer 1984 – Jeremy began his relationship with Julie on Boxing Day 1983 as she testified in her undisclosed statement dated the 8th and 9th of September 1985. Whilst Julie was in France on a working holiday in the summer of 1984, sharing a two-man tent with a male co-worker, Jeremy slept with Liz Rimmington who Julie had considered to be one of her best friends. In her witness statement dated 8th September 1985, Liz confirmed this saying that she and Jeremy ‘did have intercourse’ after getting drunk. It is unknown exactly when Julie found out about this but it is likely to have been in September 1984. Liz gave evidence that[1]: “I had purposely stayed away from Julie because I felt guilty about what had happened between Jeremy and myself.” However, after bumping into Julie and Jeremy in August 1984 the girls began going out together a lot over the next four weeks. Following a night out, Liz telephoned Julie the next day and Jeremy answered the phone saying Julie didn’t want to speak to her or see her any more[2] without giving any reason, which baffled Liz. Had Jeremy told Julie about his one-night stand with Liz?

Thursday 15 August 1985 – Nevertheless, whatever rift occurred between Julie and Liz, all seemed well on the face of it during the summer of 1985. The evening before the funerals, Liz stayed the night at Jeremy’s cottage in Goldhanger. Julie and Brett Collins were also at Jeremy’s cottage and in her statement dated 23rd of September 1985 she stated: “I can say that on Thursday, the 15th August 1985, Liz Rimmington stayed overnight at Goldhanger. That evening she was left alone downstairs with Jeremy after Brett and I had gone to bed respectively.” It is possible that Julie suspected and feared that Liz and Jeremy once again had sex when she left them alone. Did this add to Julie’s existing anxieties about Jeremy’s unfaithfulness?

Tuesday 27 August 1985 – In her evidence dated the 8th and 9th of September 1985 Julie claimed that upon her return to Lewisham she went to a pizza restaurant with Sue Battersby, her flat mate and chequebook fraud accomplice, where she told Sue about Jeremy’s involvement in the murders. However, this apparent conversation does not appear in any of Sue’s witness evidence, which raises suspicion that it ever took place at all. Julie had been staying at Jeremy’s cottage in Goldhanger, but because Brett Collins was always, there she moved back to her accommodation in Lewisham on this date. Julie told Essex police that she suspected Jeremy was having a sexual relationship with Brett. [3]

Thursday 29 August 1985 – Julie Mugford’s 21st Birthday party: Sue Battersby was squirting Jeremy with tinned cream and she refused to stop. Jeremy threw birthday cake in her face making her cry, as confirmed by Sue, Julie, Liz and Brett in police statements. Yet Sue said nothing about what Julie had apparently told her about Jeremy’s hiring a hit man to kill the family. Is this because Julie never actually told Sue about Jeremy being involved in the killing of his family?

Saturday the 31 August 1985 – According to Julie’s 8th of September 1985 witness statement, Jeremy went to her shared house as arranged, and she acted 'cold towards Jeremy when he arrived at the house'. Jeremy took her out for a meal at Blazers restaurant and explained that he wanted to talk to her about a holiday he had planned for her 21st birthday present. However, as Jeremy was now committed to the farm he would not be able to go and suggested that Julie take Liz. In the same statement Julie gave evidence that she was annoyed because Jeremy said he would not pay for Liz[4]. Julie asked Jeremy if he loved her, to which he replied that he didn’t know and they discussed their relationship. At one point of the conversation she said to Jeremy: “I told him I couldn’t hurt myself anymore and didn’t know what I would do and he asked me to promise not to kill myself. I told him I couldn’t promise anything.”

According to the same witness statement, they returned to her flat and whilst there Julie: “told him that I would really love to hurt him and told him that I had tried to stab the teddy bear he had given to me as a present.” She also admitted: “I asked Jeremy never to leave me because I was frightened and he said he would never leave me as there would always be a place in his heart. We then went to bed. We didn’t sleep well and at one point I got a pillow and put it over his head. I took it off and he asked me why I did it and I said if he were dead he would always be with me.”

Sunday 1 September 1985 – Liz’s statement says that Julie had called her in floods of tears wanting to meet up[5]. Liz arranged for Julie to come to her place of work where Julie said that Jeremy had arranged to see her on the previous Saturday but had not turned up. Eventually he’d arrived at Julie’s that evening and said that he 'didn’t want to see her anymore' and that he had only been using her for his ‘own ends’. Liz said that Julie was lucky to be rid of him in that case, and Julie told Liz the story of how Jeremy had planned to kill his family by hiring a hit man. In her evidence to Essex police, Liz described how she had tried to convince Julie to go and report this: I told Julie that she ought to go to the police and tell them but she didn't want to. I told her that if she didn't because of what she knew she could be in danger and the people around her could be in danger as well. She still refused. I couldn't convince her to go and tell the police what she had told me and I didn't really know what else I could do.”

Is it possible that now Julie had been dumped she was worried that Jeremy and Liz would rekindle their affair and start dating? Could it be likely that Julie wanted to make sure that Liz would not be interested in a relationship with Jeremy and that’s why she made up the story about him ordering a hit man to commit the murders? And was it the fact that her allegations were an invention that stopped Julie from approaching the police, even when she was advised to?

Tuesday 3 September 1985 – According to her witness statement of the 8th and 9th of September 1985, Julie telephoned Jeremy and arranged to meet him the following day at Sheila’s apartment to discuss their relationship.

Wednesday 4 September 1985 – Jeremy took Julie to a café close to Sheila’s apartment shortly before 4pm and gave her a cheque for £400 to pay for a holiday with Liz Rimmington[6]. He then discussed their relationship, and after his arrest Julie banked this cheque along with another from Jeremy. On returning to Sheila’s apartment, Jeremy received a telephone call from another girl he’d been seeing called Virginia Greaves. In fury, Julie ran into the bedroom, picked up a wooden Chinese trick box that belonged to Jeremy and threw it into a mirror, smashing it into pieces. Brett Collins also witnessed this from the next room in the apartment.

Thursday 5 September – According to her witness testimony of the 8th of September 1985, Liz spoke to Julie on the phone and saw her later on that day. Liz stated: “I again asked her to go to the police but she still refused.”

Friday 6 September 1985 – Jeremy and Brett went to Julie’s flat as arranged to help her move. Liz told Essex police: “I stayed the night with her at my flat in London. I again tried to get her to go to the police but she didn't want to.” Liz also gave evidence in her statement to Essex police dated 15 September 1985: “We [she and Julie Mugford] eventually decided to go to Malta and we booked the holiday on the 6th September to go on the 8th September. We unfortunately have not been able to go on this holiday.” It seems odd that Liz was instructing Julie to go to the police, and had been for several days, and yet booked a holiday for them to go to Malta departing just two days later.

Saturday 7 September 1985 – In her 8th of September statement Liz says that she persuaded Julie to talk to Malcolm Waters, Liz’s ex-boyfriend, to get some advice. She said: “We arrived at Malcolm's house about 7.30 p.m. and eventually Julie told Malcolm what she had told me[7]. He then told her the same thing that I had told her about informing the police. She eventually agreed to do this.” According to his witness evidence dated 15 September 1985, it appears that Malcolm was very suspicious of what Julie had told him: “As I didn’t know Julie I started to question her about whether she was saying those things because of her split with Jeremy and I tried to ascertain from her if Jeremy had told her anything which only the murderer would know or if there was anything she had not read in the papers.” Julie was wrong about the hit man, Matthew McDonald, as he had a cast iron alibi, she was wrong about the 2k that Jeremy had apparently paid to the him and as trace could be found regarding that, and she was wrong about the number of shots fired into Nevill Bamber. She repeated the same number as reported by the press 7, and not 8 as the pathologist confirmed.

Saturday 7 September 1985 DS Stan Jones was contacted from Malcolm Waters’ home by telephone as recorded in Jones’ pocket notebook and arrangements were made to collect the two girls from Colchester to take them to the police station for questioning.[8] Clearly Julie Mugford did not ‘come forward offering information’ as she was pushed by Liz and Malcolm, and it is highly likely that the phone call to police was made by Malcolm from his home, probably against Julie’s wishes. The hit man story that Julie had made up to poison Liz against Jeremy had spiralled out of control and became the cornerstone of the prosecution case against Jeremy Bamber.

[1] AF-01-111) Rimmington (Liz) - 08.09.85 PDF, Pg. 7

[2] AF-01-111) Rimmington (Liz) - 08.09.85 PDF, Pg. 8: “This would have been around August 1984. Julie said she was bored and would I give her a ring. I telephoned her about a week later and over the next four weeks I saw quite a bit of her. One night Julie stayed out late with me and when she got home Jeremy was very annoyed. When I telephoned the next day to speak to her, Jeremy told me that she didn't want to speak to me or see me again. I thought they had probably had an argument so I stayed out of the way”.

[3] AB-09-02) Julie Mugford 8th 9th Sept statement. PDF: “Jeremy and Brett were sitting on the settee. Brett laid his head on Jeremy’s lap whereupon Jeremy started stroking his hair. I thought this strange.”

[4] AB-09-02) Julie Mugford 8th 9th Sept statement. PDF:” He wasn’t going to pay for Elizabeth. I was annoyed about what he had said”

[5] AF-01-111) Rimmington (Liz) - 08.09.85. PDF Pg. 7-8

[6] AB-09-03) Julie Mugford Statement 10.09.85. PDF Pg. 3: “He gave me this cheque on Wednesday, 4th September 1985”. This information was redacted from the served copy of Julie Mugford’s statement.

[7] ‘This conflicts with Waters evidence dated 15th September 1985 that they arrived at 2.30pm.’

[8] AT-01-011) DS Stan Jones pocket book. PDF “ Called out to Colchester re Bamber to 31 Alexander rd Colchester. The occupant (Malcolm Waters) rang called Rimmimgton & Julie Mugford Take by ?? to CW. (Witham)