Verbatim Project

What is a verbatim audio? It's where we've had the help of professional actors who have kindly read key witness statements which support Jeremy's case for innocence. Some of them are quite long, so pop your headphones on, when you're getting the bus to work, blue tooth them to your car stereo on a long drive, or simply grab a coffee relax, and find out more about the evidence which goes to the heart of the case.

Judith Jackson - Foster Carer to Nicholas and Daniel Caffell

In August 1985, Judith lived with her husband Anthony and their two daughters at Glenhurst Avenue London, NW5. From 1980 to 1982 Judith was employed as a day foster care mother by Camden Social Services, and from the outset looked after Sheila Caffell’s twin sons Nicholas and Daniel who were just a year old. Fostering was carried out five days a week and if there was an emergency. At that time Judith lived in the NW3 area of London, and Sheila would take the boys to Judith’s home each day by taxi which was paid for by social services.

Judith noted that the twins were not thriving as they should have been, and her role was to ensure their wellbeing and to support Sheila. Judith would make sure she gave Sheila time to chat and the two became friends, and as they were the same age, Sheila found that she could confide in Judith. Jeremy remembers collecting the twins from Judith’s home and recalls that she was a very nice person. This period of day foster care stopped when Sheila moved to Maida Vale as Camden Social Services did not cover that area. This statement, and the fact that the children had been fostered previously was unknown to the jury and was not disclosed to the defence until after 2002.

Michael Abel, Camden Social Services

Michael was 34 at the time of the tragedies. Since 1981 he had been employed as a social worker for Westminster Social Services as a team leader in charge of 6 other social workers. From 1982, following Sheila’s move to Maida Vale, her case was passed to Westminster Social Services and case conferences were held regarding Sheila and her children. Concerns were raised regarding Sheila’s inability to care for her children adequately, which included failing to seek medical advice promptly for Nicholas and Daniel with recent injuries, which included scalds and ear infections. Roger Carruthers, one of the social workers under Michael Abel’s charge, did find a nursery school placement for the twins and Sheila was seen by social workers if she needed to speak to them. However, even though Sheila had serious ongoing problems, the case files were closed in 1983. Statement undisclosed at trial.

Farhad 'Freddie' Emami, Sheila's friend

Iranian born Farhad arrived in the UK between 1968 and 1970. After 6 months, he went to Exeter to study English at an international school which he continued for a year, before becoming a full time student at Exeter College in order to study catering. Freddie remained at college for three years, obtaining a diploma in catering. In 1974 he met Joyce Mary Beaumont and moved back to London with her to live. Freddie then attended Mendoza Training College to study hotel management, obtaining a diploma, and he and Joyce were then married. During this time Freddie took part in occupational training at the Savoy Hotel. He and his wife returned to Iran in 1974, where they stayed for 5 years, returning to the UK only for a short holiday. In 1978 they returned to live in London with their daughter.

Once back in London, Freddie ran a market stall in Kings Road for approximately 5 months, and following that he had various jobs working as sales assistant in retail. Freddie also worked casually at the Fred and Ginger Club near Berkley Square, London. However, Freddie had various spells of unemployment and was unemployed from January 1984. By August 1985 Freddie and Joyce now had two children, a boy and a girl, although he had separated from his wife the previous year, but by August 1985 he was living with his wife and children at White City Estate, W12. Rumours circulated that Freddie drove a Rolls Royce, something he denied, and was in fact driving 1978 Fiat.

He first met Sheila three and a half years before the events at White House Farm and claimed he didn’t know that she took drugs. The Police believed Freddie wasn’t just Sheila’s ‘confidante’ but her lover though Freddie did not admit to this. Freddie would help Sheila by babysitting the twins when Sheila went out and became known as: ‘Freddie the babysitter’. He gave evidence that Sheila had no trouble with co-ordination or picking things up and holding on to them after coming out of hospital which was contrary to what the relatives had told the police.

Although Julie Mugford and other witnesses told the police that Freddie supplied drugs to Sheila Caffell, Freddie denied ever-selling drugs to anyone, additionally, he informed the police that he had never been in trouble with police in the UK or any other country. Freddie had also associated with Jeremy and his ex-girlfriend Sue Ford, and saw them and others at parties with Sheila, and about in London. Jeremy got on with Freddie and thought that he was good for Sheila.

Before the trial, Freddie left the UK and returned to Iran. Jeremy’s solicitor tried to find him so that he could testify in court, but a friend of his reported back to the solicitor that Freddie would not testify in court against Jeremy, and if he had done it would be as a defence witness. Freddie was 41 years old at the time of the tragedies at White House Farm.

Helen Grimster, Family Relative

Helen was just 15 at the time of the tragedies at White House Farm. Helen’s mother was a cousin of Junes. Helen’s grandfather, Wilfred Speakman, was Leslie Speakman’s brother and she would visit June and Nevill twice a year. During one of these visits in March 1985, Sheila struck up a conversation with Helen. In the course of this conversation, which Helen described to her mother as "strange", Sheila talked about her school life and the fact that she had not enjoyed school days. Sheila also asked Helen about suicide, and the topic of conversation became very dark, with Sheila baring her soul to the young girl. Sheila was rolling cigarettes as she spoke to Helen, insisting that the teenager have one. It is suspected that these cigarettes contained drugs as Helen stated they “smelt a bit strange”. The conversation between Helen and Sheila lasted for around an hour and frightened Helen.

On the 3rd of October 1986, just prior to the start of the trial, Helen’s mother requested that Helen be excused from appearing to give evidence for the defence at the trial as she was studying for 9 ‘O’ level subjects with the mock exams taking place in the near future. Helen was excused from giving evidence.

Dr Hugh Ferguson, Sheila's Consultant Psychiatrist

Doctor Hugh Cameron Ferguson was a Consultant Psychiatrist at St. Andrews Hospital Northampton and had been qualified since 1959. In late 1982 he treated June Bamber who was suffering from psychosis and had distorted religious beliefs. She responded well to treatment, although still maintained her religious beliefs, according to Dr Ferguson. Dr Ferguson first saw Sheila in his Harley Street clinic on 2nd August 1983 following a request to Sheila’s GP by Nevill and June Bamber for him to treat her. On the 4th August 1983 Dr Ferguson admitted Sheila to the private hospital for treatment for acute psychosis. After responding to treatment, she was discharged five weeks later, and Dr Ferguson arranged to see her as an outpatient. On the 3rd March 1985 Sheila was re-admitted to St. Andrews Hospital at Nevill’s urgent request because of deterioration in her mental health and remained there until 29 March 1985 when she was discharged. Dr Ferguson recommended that a community psychiatric nurse should see her, however, he failed to follow up on this to ensure it was organised and this care was never arranged.

This was not the first time Dr Ferguson had failed his patients, as in 1988 Paul Pagett Lewis, who also suffered from serious mental health problems, went on to shoot 2 adults and 2 children. Sadly, one adult and one child died as a result. Watch our video on this here.

Dr Ferguson became a medical director of St Andrews Hospital in 1991 and continued in full time practice as both a psychiatrist and medical director until December 1995 when he retired. Dr Ferguson continued to work part time as a consultant at St Andrews and was still in practice in 2002. It is not known how long he maintained this for.