Ann Eaton

Information on this web page was first uploaded to the internet in January 2012.

Ann & Peter Eaton

Christine ‘Ann’ Eaton is Jeremy’s maternal cousin, the daughter of Robert and Pamela Boutflour. After the tragedy at White House Farm Ann and Peter must have been concerned when Jeremy had told them that he had intended to sell off parts of the land he inherited directly from his parents.[1] Unknown to Jeremy, the Eaton’s didn’t own all of the land that they were farming.

Peter’s father had died and left this land to both Peter and his brother John. [2]  But John had plans to sell his share of the land to property developers. In a bid to help Peter and Ann, Nevill Bamber secretly bought this land from John Eaton. There was no love lost between Nevill and John and at a later stage local people recall John and Nevill arguing over land in the local pub. Nevill claimed that John had overcharged him for the land and this resulted (according to witnesses) in a drunken John Eaton punching Nevill Bamber.[3]

You can imagine Ann and Peter’s concern to know that the land that had previously been secured by Nevill was now going into Jeremy’s control and being sold on. Ann was the one driving the argument that Jeremy had killed the family. [4] The jury didn’t know anything of the secret land purchase, but must have had suspicions about the relatives and when they they asked specifically [5] if Robert Boutflour or any of the relatives had motive to say that Jeremy had told them he was going to kill his family they were not told about this purchase. The detail of this secret land purchase was only disclosed to the Defence after the 2002 appeal, but it is noted in these linked documents as part of the Dickinson Review[6] conducted during November 1986, just one month after Jeremy Bamber was convicted.

The question remains: What happened to the land which Nevill purchased from John Eaton? When the estate was eventually settled Anthony Pargeter and Jacqueline Wood inherited Nevill’s share of the estate, did they know that they had, as a result of Jeremy’s conviction, now come into ownership of a large chunk of the farm that Ann and Peter Eaton were farming?

Jeremy was also tied into a business with his relatives at the Osea Road Caravan Park. Which apparently celebrated 80 years of “ownership” in October 2013, by the Eaton’s, now director of the business is Janie Robinson, Ann’s daughter, who is married to William Robertson. Ownership of the park was split accordingly before the tragedy, June and Pamela owning 42.5 % each and Jeremy and Ann equally owning 7.5% of shares. [7] After Jeremy’s conviction a directors meeting was attended by two proxie’s on Jeremy’s behalf. The proxie’s wrote an account of their visit to the meeting [8] detailing that Mr Ainsley (former head of the investigation on the Bamber case as a Supt of Essex Police) was now working there, they also stated that Pamela was asking after Jeremy but this was frowned upon by other members of the family.

During the 2002 Metropolitan Police enquiry, Ainsley was questioned and interviewed in connection with his handling of the investigation, he affectionately refers to Robert Boutflour as “Bobby.”[9]  He doesn’t mention any close ties to the Boutflour’s in his statement of 1991 and 2002. Nevertheless he does detail that he had ordered a Det Supt Kennelly to carry out a review of the Bamber investigation in light of the insistence by Ann and Robert that Sheila could not have been responsible. “On my return from annual leave I obviously enquired of Kenneally as to the situation with the murders and he assured me that Sheila Caffell was responsible. At the beginning of September that year following a meeting with the ACC Peter Simpson I instructed Kenneally to carry out a review of the case. On Friday the 6th September at I believe 6pm a meeting was held in my office with the chief Constable R, Bunyard, Mr Peter Simpson (ACC), Det Supt Kenneally and myself. When Kenneally was asked to give us the results of his review, he stated that the evidence indicated that Sheila was responsible.Where is the missing report that Kennelly provided at this meeting? What was the evidence indicating that Sheila was responsible and why was this never disclosed to the Defence?

After the tragedies Jeremy sent Ann flowers to thank her for her support, she details Jeremy’s distress at the funeral and that he had been kind to her providing comfort,[10] but during this period Ann had been looking for evidence to connect him with the tragedy, she approached the police saying that she was concerned that Jeremy had killed the family. [11] She asked Jeremy if she could take his mother’s engagement ring and was annoyed that Jeremy had refused. [12] She did later take some other property from the house despite Jeremy asking her not to do so. It is true that June Bamber had not made any provision in her will for Robert, Pamela or Ann but had awarded David £100. June had specified that her jewellery be given to Jeremy and Sheila upon her death. June had also awarded Jean Bouttell £1000 for her services as a housekeeper.[13]

Ann made it clear in her statements to Essex Police, the City of London Police, and contemporaneous note cards that she didn’t like Jeremy and questions his sexuality and further describing his friend Brett Collins as a ‘Ponce’ and a ‘poof’ and further police had made notes calling Jeremy a ‘poof’ and even Suzettte Ford, Jeremy’s ex partner, had detailed that the press and police had suggested to her that Jeremy might be a homosexual.[14]

In Ann Eaton’s City of London Police statement she relays her visit with the family to see the Chief Inspector who originally headed the investigation. At a meeting in his office she had suggested to him that Sheila hadn’t been capable of killing the family and says that DCI “Taff” Jones had responded angrily: “I believe it was at this point that DCI Jones went very red in the face, stood up and said, in an extremely angry manner ‘I don’t have to put up with this and stop writing.’ [sic] And threatened to throw us out of the police station,” she goes on to say that she remembers David and Anthony talking to DCI Jones: “All I can remember now was David and Anthony talking to them and I do remember the police saying, “Now do you believe Sheila could have done it?”Anthony or David or both agreed (in front of Jones) there and then that perhaps Sheila could have been capable of carrying out the shootings.”[15]

It is hardly surprising that DCI Jones would not entertain the idea of it being 5 murders, he must have seen convincing evidence the Sheila was responsible. Both DS Jones and DCI Jones had also said to Ann who insisted Jeremy was guilty “But you might be so wrong” and “If you accused him and later found out you were wrong, how would you feel then?” DCI Jones, was later removed from the case, being replaced with Supt Ainsley, later DCI Jones died tragically in an accident in May 1986 before the trial.

Peter Eaton details in his handwritten draft statements to the City of London Police that he saw Sheila using a gun on a shooting holiday in Scotland, but this was crossed out with the word “NO” written over the top of it and did not appear in the final Statement to police.[16]White House Farm in 1985

Ann Eaton and the Bamber’s housekeeper, Jean Bouttell, cleaned the house after the police cleaners had finished. Ann Eaton details in her 16th September 1985 Statement, “12th August 1985. I took my daughter Sarah Jane (Janie Robinson nee Eaton) to White House Farm, Tolleshunt Darcy by Car. I met my father at the house and Jean, the housekeeper and Barbara Wilson, the farm secretary was also there. About Coffee time, 10:30am to 11am I telephoned Jeremy at Head Street, Goldhanger and asked him if he wanted to come to White House Farm for coffee. Jeremy agreed to come to white House Farm and I recall telling him that all members of the family had been to White House Farm. About 10 to 15 minutes later Jeremy and his girlfriend Julie arrived at White House Farm. Shortly before he actually arrived my daughter and I re-made beds in the twins room.”

Few women would take their own 8 year old child to make up the beds where two children had been shot to death just five days earlier. Usually, after such a tragedy the house would be knocked down out of respect of the memory of those who died. I personally believe the Henry Smith Trust should be criticised for not creating a place of memorial for the Bamber family on the plot where the house still stands. Instead the Eaton family has firmly established themselves in the rented house and farm where they still reside today, despite the allegations of theft from the Bamber Estate being made against Peter Eaton, Janie Robinson’s father, (now owner of Osea Leisure Park), by the farm secretary Barbara Wilson.

These claims of fraud were reported to police at the end of April 1987 after Jeremy’s conviction. The estate had not been settled and Jeremy Bamber still owned a share of the business at the time as he was a shareholder in his own right. The allegations included the following: disposal of farm machinery for scrap mental fees; sale of a combine harvester; theft of monies; excessive expenditure; obtaining of discounts fraudulantly; obtaining of goods depriving N&J Bamber Ltd; manpower from the business used on Eaton’s own farm; swapping a new tractor engine from N&J Bamber for an old one; selling off cattle and renting a herd; sale of Jeremy Bamber’s company car for £6,000 but only putting £500 into the business. These were strong allegations supported by a lengthy statement. But Essex Police did not appoint someone to investigate these until June 1988 some 14 months after the complaints were made. In my opinion this delay was so as not to impugn the credibility of Peter Eaton who was a prosecution witness, the police could not take the risk that the outcome might aid Jeremy Bamber’s application for leave to appeal. So, once the appeal application was lost the frauds were dealt with. Curiously the outcome was that they were dismissed without an investigation. Both the Pargeters who potetially would have inherited part of N&J Bamber and Barbara Wilson did not pursue the allegations. Wilson doesn’t detail how long this alleged fraudulent activity had been going on and the question in my mind is that it could have been going on from the moment that Eaton took over as farm manager, while Jeremy Bamber was a free man and still with all of his civil liberties intact. Jeremy had trusted Peter to look after the farm while he grived for his family. One can only speculate that the allegations would have been dropped and an agreement between the Eatons, Boutflours and Pargeter’s were made because the risk of an investigation was so great that it could have brought’s Jeremy Bamber’s conviction into question.

Ann and David said that when the police left an arsenal of guns in the farm house, they took all of these to her house for safe keeping and they informed police that they had done this.[17] What Ann doesn’t say is that she gave Jeremy two weapons, a 12 bore shotgun which was taken to Southerby’s[18] and a.410 shotgun which he took back to the farm house. This baffled DI Cook when he returned to the scene on the 9th of September 1985, because police didn’t expect to find any weapons there. Ann had been saying she was afraid of Jeremy.[19] And this is documented in statements that she was “afraid for her life.” It is unlikely then, that Ann was as frightened as she says in her statements, as she would hardly take two shotguns around to a man she thought had just shot 5 people to death. The police never recorded how and when the .410 shotgun got back into White House Farm.[20] Even more curiously then is the property register detailing that DS Barlow had the .410 shotgun and put it into the police gun cupboard at the station where it stayed from the 24th August 1985. One thing is for sure – someone is not telling the truth. [21]

The Eaton’s and Boutflour’s as key prosecution witnesses and main beneficiaries to the Bamber estate, dined with Essex Police [22] and the City of London police[23] at White House Farm which is documented in officers reports. Peter Eaton describes the how he handed DS Stan Jones one of the sound moderator’s for examination he says that he drank a considerable amount of whiskey with him, then threw the sound moderator into the boot of his car and drove off. The relationship between Essex Police and the family had grown since Robert’s Boutflour’s visit to ACC Simpson, and contrasted sharply with that of the late DCI Thomas Jones. Ann also details in her City of London Police Statement that another uniformed officer called Andrew Skillen was a then a good friend and “still is”.

Before the trial Ann had given details in her statements of information that the police had told her.[24] This is marked in brackets as hearsay evidence and was to be removed before the statements were submitted to the court. These have now been disclosed and reveal a wealth of confidential police information that should not have been repeated to Ann Eaton. For example in her 16th of December 1985 statement she said “On Friday the 9th of August I had a discussion with police officers at Witham Police Station where I was told that a total of 24 rounds had been discharged from the rifle.”

In another statement made to the City of London Police Ann details “It was the policeman DC Mick Clark I think, who told me Sheila and Aunt June were on the bed with a gun between them and a bible on Sheila’s Chest.” This is an unusual statement, firstly, why was a police officer giving a member of the public details about the tragedy? And secondly this position of the bodies contradicts photographs taken by Police, these images show Sheila and June both on the floor either side of the bed, the Bible lay next to Sheila and the gun across her body. Ann Eaton also goes on to say “I could have imagined Sheila Blasting everybody with a 12 bore because this was what I had been told.” Curiously Ann had immediately formed realistic images of Sheila killing the family with a shotgun and not the low velocity .22 Anshuttz that was actually used.

By their own admission the Eaton’s and Boutflour’s searched White House Farm in an attempt to find evidence to incriminate Jeremy Bamber. They claim that they found the sound moderator for the murder weapon in the gun cupboard on the 10th of August although there are a number of documents to counteract the claim that it was given to the police on the 12th of August, it is possible that the moderator was only given to the police on the 11th of September.[25] .The Moderator would become the key prosecution exhibit as it was claimed by the prosecution that Sheila’s blood was found inside it. At the 2002 appeal it was confirmed that Sheila’s DNA did not appear in the moderator, but that didn’t mean it never was there, it could have just been swabbed away by the testing over the years, which is a questionable proposition. There were also questions over innocent contamination, nevertheless Sheila’s blood group was never present in the moderator only the enzyme present in her blood, which is also present in some humans including Robert and David Boutflour (who handled the moderator) and Ann Eaton, it is also present in farm vermin such as rabbits. [26]

In 1991 The City of London Police visited Ann Eaton at White House Farm. She called them after their first visit to her and told them that she had discovered ‘new evidence’ which police officers must have missed during their investigation.[27]  This new evidence from Ann Eaton was obtained by the City of London Police, the results have never been disclosed as undoubtedly they would not support the prosecution’s case and this would have undermined Ann Eaton’s credibility as a witness. Main Staircase in 1985

After the trial, the Eaton’s moved into White House Farm, but Jeremy believes it is likely they moved in sooner. In Jeremy Bamber’s Interview with The Times in 2010 David James Smith details that “For many years Bamber has hinted at what he is now claiming. He told me he believes his cousins, motivated by the £400,000 estate, manufactured evidence against him, perjured themselves in court and conspired with the police to have him convicted and do him out of his inheritance. Bamber was disinherited on conviction and the estate passed to the Boutflours . . . . Ann Eaton moved into the farm not long after the murders and still lives there with her family. Bamber told me he thought she was a ‘sick puppy’ for doing that. Eaton would not talk to me for this article – indeed, after I wrote her a polite letter I received a “warning” call from an Essex Police Detective Superintendent asking me to leave her alone, which I did – but David Bouflour was generous and spoke to me at length. It is clear he doesn’t understand his sisters actions either, how could she? Boutflour told me he knew Ann’s children had suffered nightmares. As well you might” Smith goes on to detail “Anthony Pargeter has waged his own long legal struggle against the estate, to claim what he believes is his share. . . . Bamber was downgraded some years ago from a Category A prisoner to Category B meaning he was not such a risk of escape his conditions could be slightly relaxed. He was upgraded again to Category A apparently after his cousins received guidance from Essex Police on how they might make their feelings about his change of status known.” The relatives had made these submissions after the City of London Police Enquiry had shaken them with their endless questioning which Ann had said was making her ill after the police interviewed her in the kitchen at White House Farm where her uncle’s body had been found, odd then that she lived in this house since 1986 but never felt upset until the police came to question her about her involvement in the case. The Main Staircase in 2002

In 2002 the Metropolitan police attended White House Farm to see if they could obtain any DNA evidence from the farm as many of the furnishings, fittings and decorations still remained as they were on the night of the tragedy, indeed in 2004 Ann Eaton showed a camera crew from ITV1 around the house where 5 of her relatives died without her batting an eyelid. The Kitchen was as it had been and so was much of the house. Previously Ann had also worked with a television company to make a drama on the tragedy for ITV1 where she was portrayed by actress Diane Keen, she has also worked with authors of books on the case and other documentary makers. Ann Eaton has actively courted the media and gained notoriety and money as a result of Jeremy Bamber’s conviction.

In the master bedroom of White House Farm the Metropolitan police pulled up carpets and obtained DNA from the floor boards. DS Grater examined the bedroom at White House Farm in 2002 and said:Lamp at WHF 1985

“I took possession of a bedside lamp which had apparent areas of dark staining on the lampshade. This lamp was in the main bedroom on top of the bedside cabinet to the right of the bed. I recognized this lamp from the scene photographs taken in 1985 as being identical to a bedside lamp which was in the main bedroom on the night of the murders.”[28]

CuriousMaster Bedroom 2002ly, for 17 years Ann and Peter Eaton had preserved so much from the tragedy including a potentially bloodied lamp. In addition to this the wall paper was also the same in 2002 as seen in these crime scene photographs the master bedroom has barely changed at all.

References


[1] 8th September 1985, Statement J, Mugford & 16th September 1985, Statement C. A Eton

[2] November 1986, P. Eaton Interview, DCI Dickinson

[3] Police Action Report 113

[4] Peter Eaton Statement to COLP

[5] Question from the Jury about relatives motive to lie

[6] DCI Dickinson Review Para 44

[7] 13th December 1985, High Courts of Justice, Probate June & Nevill Bamber

[8] Annual General Meeting, Osea Road Caravan Park, October 1996, Proxy account

[9] Ainsley Handwritten Holmes box 36

[10] 16th September 1985, Statement C.A Eaton

[11] 16th December 1985, Statement C.A Eaton

[12] 14th August 1991, Statement, C.A. Eaton

[13] 16th September 1985, Statement, C.A Eaton & June & Nevill Bamber’s last will and testament

[14] P06 Ann Eaton’s note cards exhibits, Sue Ford Statement 19th, September 86

[15] 14th August 1991, Statement to COLP, C.A Eaton

[16] Peter Eaton COLP Draft Statement

[17] 13th September 1985, Statement, C.A Eaton, 17th December 1985, Statement, D Boutflour

[18] 18th September 1985, Statement, J Stancliffe

[19] Ann Eaton IBID

[20] Holmes, 38/75 Forensic Property, .410 recovered from WHF, 24th October 1985 Statement,

[21] Holmes 5/83 24th August, 1985, Property register, entry 342

[22] 17th November 1986, Letter R, Bunyard, Chief Inspector

[23]19th June, 1991, Officer Reports, DCI O’Connor

[24] 16th December 1985, Statement, C.A Eaton

[25] Jeremy Bamber Official Website, Two Sound Moderators

[26] 2002 Appeal Court Judgement

[27] 17th June 1991, Officers Report, Supt Noakes,

[28] 5th April 2002, Statement, DS Grater