Managing Finances

The financial cost of deaths including funeral expenses is ‘of great emotional stress,’ managing without the person who is often a financial provider and paying bills is difficult for anyone bereaved. Further to this Jeremy had prolonged absence from work and suffered immeasurably from being unable to cope with trauma.[1]

Many families reported difficulties doing routine tasks, feeling overwhelmed and leaving bills unpaid, unable to cope with insurance claims and having to notify death to various agencies. Many people reported difficulty with legal forms and some are able to claim compensation from the criminal injuries compensation board.[2] Having no idea or inclination of how to formally draw expenses or earnings from the business, Jeremy was randomly taking cash from the safe, leaving IOU’s and spending the money on alcohol to avoid reality. No business advice on administration or management was offered to him, other than a meeting with the company solicitor and accountant, both older men with close connections to Jeremy’s hostile family – Jeremy would have greatly benefitted from the independent advice which is now offered by Victim Support.[3] Within a short space of time the company secretary Barbara Wilson had noticed that Jeremy was taking money from the safe which he was entitled to do as he now owned the business. Peter Eaton wasalso allegedly selling off assets and had also been appointed as company director of N&J Bamber by the company solicitor without Jeremy knowing, which was an illegal act.[4] This could have been avoided if Jeremy had been advised about how to put safeguards in place during his absences from the business at such a crucial time of harvesting.

A Home office information pack could have helped Jeremy in winding up his family’s affairs and aided him in managing his father’s estate, helping him to claim effectively from insurances and run his business unhindered by peripheral family. As it was, the homicide by his sister made Jeremy vulnerable to becoming the victim of further crime – that of financial loss[5] There was much documentation to sign and there were difficulties in Jeremy carrying out routine tasks at work. Jeremy was so overwhelmed with Nevill Bamber’s 100k overdraft taken out to carry out repairs on Clifton House in Guildford, that his immediate response was to sell some of the assets. He expressed no wish to return to live in White House Farm which is not surprising. The survey of other victims showed that like Jeremy almost half of people lost or left their jobs and found it difficult to get back to any routine.[6] The report also found that practical needs took precedence over emotional needs for the first few months and this certainly seems to be the case when Jeremy found himself suddenly the only surviving family member, after losing the head of his household and livelihood. He was a 24 year old inexperienced farmer with pressure to bring in the harvest on a large farm and pay debtors with no impartial advice.[7] Jeremy believed he had appointed Peter Eaton as ‘Farm Manager’ to help with the harvest, but this role seems to have been exploited to gain control of assets from the business while Jeremy was in grief. [8]

The family solicitor had stated to police that he instructed Jeremy to establish the order of deaths after the relatives were making claim to the estate within days of the killings. This poor and un-impartial advice was later withheld from the jury and the fact that Jeremy had asked the order of deaths was used against Jeremy to suggest sinister motives. Had the Murder Victim Support advised Jeremy, he would have been given free, un-prejudiced advice regarding these real concerns, and all information would have been protected by confidentiality and could have provided Jeremy with supporting evidence to counteract that which was later used against him by police.

[1] ITA, Pg. 23 lists comprehensive costs and balances this with time off work for victims of homicide.

[2] Ibid.

[3] ITA.Pg. 23, Home Office Information pack is given as standard to victims.

[4] Companies House Records 1985, N & J Bamber Ltd.

[5] AA-17-00B - N&J Bamber Ltd, Missing Assets

[6] ITA, pg 25.

[7] ITA, pg, 22, practical needs v emotional in the early stages.

[8] Barbara Wilson. N & J Bamber Secretary, statements making allegations of fraud against Peter Eaton in 1987.