Character Witnesses

Information on this web site was first uploaded to the internet in December 2011.

Character Witnesses

Before Jeremy met Mugford he had a relationship with a woman named Suzette Ford. She was born in 1948 and 13 years older than Jeremy. Suzette was married when they met but the relationship soon became serious and Suzette split with her husband and keeping the children. At the time she and Jeremy lived together, and Jeremy was just twenty.  She said that Jeremy got on well with his father and he was proud that he was a local magistrate.  Sue says that Sheila gave her the impression that she took drugs when they met and that Jeremy talked about farming most of the time. Jeremy then left to go to New Zealand and Australia and on his return they resumed their relationship and discussed the possibility of marriage. Eventually the relationship ended amicably and the two remained friends.

Suzette Ford made two statements, the second of which was a handwritten interview which was never presented in court.  Suzette was not asked to testify in court as a character witness for Jeremy, nor indeed were any of his friends or people who may have provided a positive account of him and a negative account of Sheila.  There are many other statements from people who knew Jeremy well and gave a warm account of him but who were never called as witnesses. The mind boggles as to why these witnesses were not called as character witnesses. One can only speculate that perhaps Jeremy’s Lawyer, Paul Terzeon of Kingsley Napley, Geoffrey Rivlin then QC, and Edmund Lawson QC, had thought that three key Defence witnesses were not suitable for the pallet of the jury; Suzette Ford a married woman from Jersey with whom Jeremy had had an affair, Brett Collins a New Zealander and homosexual, and the Iranian immigrant Farhad Emami would not make good witnesses because all three were considered outside of the social norms. Civilian witnesses for the prosecution on the other hand included conventionally married couples and conservative individuals who were all either English, middle class or well educated/professionals.[1]

Considering that police had uncovered that Jeremy was selling cannabis, which grew in his garden, to his acquaintances, none of these people were approached to give statements. Curiously, the same applies to Sheila Caffell, a former model and socialite. It appears that only three of her friends gave statements. I suggest that the lack of witnesses who knew either Jeremy or Sheila was brought about deliberately by the police.  There are many action reports detailing visits to friends of both Jeremy and Sheila but which resulted in there being no statements taken. One friend of Sheila’s told that she called the police about how dangerous Sheila was after the arrest of Jeremy but her calls were not responded to; she was told the police already had all the information on Sheila they required. [2]  Another witness who knew Jeremy was angered that he had been arrested stating that he, “didn’t have the gumption to kill his family”[3] The large amount of statements are from people who knew very little of the Bamber’s at all, so it seems a large scale police operation provided little fruit.  The majority of statements being made up of fodder, from witnesses along the lines of: Mrs Bloggs who walked her dog near the farm and said good morning to June sometimes.

[1] Trial witness list

[2] Action report 1985

[3] 22nd November, 1985, Officers report, DC Bright,