Trial by Media

After the killings at White House Farm on the 7th August 1985, police officers, doctors, forensic scientists and witnesses, including professionals, made statements. It is also very easy to see from the data gathered that there were only a small number of statements written on the 7th & 8th August 1985 ever submitted to the court or released to the Defence.

Surprisingly, the courts depended on witness testimony which was written late in September 1985. The CCRC have said that these accounts (particularly from the police) are more reliable than all contemporaneous logs and photographs. It appears that if witness statements conflict with these logs and photographs the CCRC automatically side with the Prosecution instead of investigating the discrepancies.

Something which is noticeable is that many witness accounts show Jeremy in a positive light in their early August 1985 statements, but after Jeremy’s initial arrest and questioning on the 8th of September 1985 (after which he was released without being charged with the murders) these same witnesses alter their version of accounts. This is a social phenomenon brought about by negative publicity in the media. Perhaps if Jeremy’s identity had been protected during his first arrest these witnesses would have not altered their accounts of Jeremy in their later statements.

Anthony Pargeter describes Jeremy in his 7th August 1985 statement: “I would say that Jeremy is a likeable young man” but in his following 6 statements all made after the 10th September 1985, he has altered his position on Jeremy who has apparently suddenly taken an interest in guns. By this time Jeremy has almost grown horns and a tail. Anthony would later inherit part of the estate from his uncle Nevill Bamber on Jeremy’s conviction.

Farm workers describe Jeremy in a positive light both before and after the killings during the month of August 1985, but again by the end of September 1985 his character has gone downhill. One would ask how someone with nothing to gain from Jeremy’s conviction would alter their opinion so drastically in a short space of time. We put it that Jeremy was well liked by many people but his very public arrest reported in the media did so much damage to his character that people’s opinions altered and were fuelled by idle, malicious gossip.

Tolleshunt D’Arcy was a small place shocked by the tragedies and emotions were running high. People were in disbelief that a beautiful woman had violently killed her family and the alternative, that a man had carried out the murders to inherit the family fortune, was far more acceptable to the palate of a conservative 1980’s rural community. In light of this, it is odd that Jeremy was tried at Chelmsford, and not in another location away from Essex.