Robert Boutflour

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

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

The late Robert Boutflour was the husband of Pamela, June Bamber’s sister. After the tragic events at White House Farm on 7 August 1985, Robert, admitted he was immediately dissatisfied with the police investigations and the pathologist’s conclusions that Sheila Caffell had killed the family then herself.

Robert had married well and his in-laws, Mabel and Leslie Speakman, gave Robert the tenancy of Carbonells Farm, and Burnt Ash Farm.  Leslie Speakman died leaving Pamela, June, Ann and Jeremy a share each of the Osea Road caravan site. [1] Jeremy had expressed his concern with crime and intruders at the caravan site, and had wanted to introduce new technologies such as CCTV cameras. Jeremy was unconvinced that the manager of the Site, Jim Carr was doing an adequate job, and so to prove his point further, he burgled the caravan park with the aid of his then girlfriend Julie Mugford, entering the office by pulling the key through the letter box which was always left there.  Jeremy thought this was a ridiculous arrangement and had proven that security was extremely lax.  Jeremy had hoped this would warrant heightened security, and improve management of the site but did not realise at the time this act would be used as evidence against him in a murder trial when grieved for his family. [2]

Robert Boutflour jumped at the chance to make Jeremy look bad almost immediately but his badgering of DCI Jones proved unsuccessful. DCI Dickinson’s post trial investigation later noted that “The Original Investigation officer would have taken the inheritance issue into consideration when he was approached by Mr Boutflour and so placed little value on his claims that it was Jeremy who had killed the family. [3]

Later in one of his statements Robert Boutflour claimed that after one of the meetings at Osea Road Caravan Park Jeremy had said to him, “I could easily kill my parents”. Curiously there were no other witnesses to this statement. If Jeremy had intended to shoot his parents then why then did he tell his uncle?  This is hardly the action of a clever calculating murderer as the prosecution claimed.[4]  At trial the Jury asked the question “If Jeremy Bamber was found guilty and imprisoned for many years, who would benefit financially. Could it be his uncle and family? Was this a motive for his uncle to say he could kill his family?” [5]

Jeremy had told police that he was present in the kitchen on the evening before the tragedies when a conversation between Nevill, June and Sheila took place. He said they were discussing the possibility of the twins being fostered.. Robert Boutflour told police that he believed this to be a lie by Jeremy, and described the suggestion of fostering of the children as “unthinkable.” Robert Boutflour knew nothing of the Bamber and Caffell affairs. There are statements made by several social workers about the children’s well being[6] and also from their nursery teachers[7] One of the foster mothers to the twins was also interviewed by police.[8] The statements and diaries of Robert Boutflour can be taken apart paragraph by paragraph and found to be contradicted by other statements and documentation.

Was Robert Boutflour a successful man in his own right as his father had been? Had there been ‘no love lost’ between Nevill and himself simply because Robert wasn’t a good farmer? Had Robert continued to receive handouts from his mother in law? Didid he feel resentful of Nevill who paid rent on most of the land he farmed, and probably still managed make more profit than Robert? Many of these questions remain, but Nevill made no provision for Robert or Pamela in his will and the only relatives he provided for were, Ann Eaton a sum of £250, and Anthony and Jackie Pargeter the sum of £1,000 each, which were paltry sums of money considering the estate collectively came in at £425,000. Nevill had willed his entire estate to June, Sheila and Jeremy. June Bamber had also left her entire estate to Jeremy, not naming Pamela, Robert or Ann at all. She had included the sum of £100 to be left to David Boutflour and had awarded her housekeeper Mrs Jean Bouttell £1,000 for her devoted service. To know Jeremy was the sole benefactor to the estate would have come as no surprise to Robert Boutfour. [9]

Another bone of contention might have been that Robert probably couldn’t afford to pay for private schooling for David and Ann. They attended state schools in contrast to Nevill and June who paid for their adopted children Sheila and Jeremy to go public school. The Bambers had paid for the best education they could find for their children, with Jeremy later attending Gresham’s College, and Sheila attending finishing school in London.[10]

Local people tell that Robert felt Jeremy was a “Cuckoo” in the nest and he had cruelly nick named him so. This was a family joke to ridicule the adoptee Jeremy.  Robert Boutflour also described Jeremy as engaging in, “Unsavoury homosexual activities.” In his opinion this suggested that he was a criminal living on the peripherals of society because of the friendships he formed with homosexuals like Brett Collins.[11]

The smudge of watery blood appearing on the kitchen window at White House Farm which Robert and Ann discovered when searching for clues in the house actually turned out to be blood from when the police cleaned the house.[12] He also distastefully suggested that an unused tampon found on a table in the dining room, could have been used by Jeremy to clean the barrel of a sound moderator. [13]

Robert Bouflour also made up the idea that Jeremy had used June’s ladies bicycle as a “get-away-vehicle” from the scene by riding over farm land in the middle of the night. There were no traces of blood on it and no forensic evidence was found to connect Jeremy to the bicycle. [14] So intent was he that the “cuckoo in the nest,” would not inherit the Bamber estate that he admitted he was “desperate to know what to do”. He discussed this with the manager of Osea Road Caravan Park, Jim Carr, who suggested that his son Robert, a Metropolitan police officer, had recommended he go to the Chief Constable to discuss his concerns.[15] This meeting was curiously at the same week that Julie Mugford attended Witham police station with her story, in fact there were only 3 days between Robert’s visit to ACC Simpson and Julie’s attendance at Witham Police station. [16] Jeremy Bamber says Julie’s father was a manager in a chicken factory, and they traded with Ann Eaton, but this is unsupported by any documents. Having said this, Mugford, the Boutflour’s and the Eaton’s knew each other before, and during the tragedy which is well documented. You can draw your own conclusions about what this coincidence might mean.

Boutflour also states that Essex Police officers told him details of the case in confidence which should never been revealed to a member of the public. He notes in his statements he was angry the police had not found any evidence to suggest the tragedy was anything other than a murder/suicide. He also details Jeremy as “resisting family assistance,” but this is untrue. Jeremy had given Ann Eaton permission to access White House Farm in his absence with a set of keys he provided for her and had also sent her a bunch of flowers with a note thanking her for support. [17]

Robert Boutflour claimed Jeremy had been trying to get Sheila to load the rifle in front of June and Pamela, but Pamela made no such reference of the incident in her statements. Jeremy denied ever doing this. It is now known  fingerprints were found on the bullet cases of the cartridges, but this was not disclosed. Whose fingerprints were these? [18]  One can only postulate that the police told Robert Boutflour the fingerprints were Sheila’s, and in an attempt to explain it, he made a statement of how Sheila’s fingerprints came to be on the bullet cases.  He had been adamant that Sheila a farmers daughter, would not have known how to fire the weapon. Peter Eaton says in his draft statements to The City of London Police, that he saw Sheila with a gun on a shoot in Scotland some years previous, and he also states that he had seen photographs of Sheila holding a gun. [19] In fact most of the relatives in the case made up to three draft statements before submitting their final draft. If this not illegal then it is a most unethical practice.  Nevertheless, there are no draft statements or statements from Julie Mugford from either the Dickinson Review or the City of London Police Enquiry.  Mugford was certainly interviewed by the former, but it is unknown whether she was interviewed by the latter, in any case these documents remain under Public Interest Immunity. [20]  You may well ask why should this information be hidden?

Robert Boutflour discusses the afternoon when his son David found the sound moderator in the gun cupboard saying in the exhibit evidence of his diary, that he remembered this occasion well because the late Basil Cock, who was the accountant at the time, had visited the house with them on that day. He took no interest in the moderator, and was busy complaining about the finger printing dust.[21] This was an enormous mistake which the Defence never picked up on because the house had not been fingerprinted on the 10th of August when David found the sound moderator.  The house was fingerprinted after the 8th of September when Jeremy was arrested.  It is clear that Robert Boutflour did not tell the truth in his statements or to the court when asked about the inheritance issue. Sadly Jeremy’s Defence didn’t challenge the chain of evidence for the moderator otherwise many anomalies would have been exposed.

Robert did not tell the court when they asked the vital question about his motives. When the tragedy had occurred, he did NOT own all of the Speakman estate. Within a short period after the deaths but before the trial, curiously Mabel Speakman (June’s and Pamela’s mother) disinherited Jeremy and named Pamela as beneficiary. Robert and Pamela had already taken control of the Bamber estate through the death of Mabel Speakman.  He concealed his motive as a key prosecution witness in giving evidence against Jeremy, and ultimately benefitted upon his conviction. [22] Mabel Speakman never gave a witness statement to police as it was considered she was too ill to enter into legal documents. Nevertheless she had been deemed well enough to change her will. [23]

 


[1] 10th September 1985, Statement, R, Boutflour

[2] 10th September 1985, Interview, J. Bamber

[3] Nov 1986, DCI Dickinson Review

[4] 16th December 1985, Statement, R Boutflour

[5] Question from the jury about relatives motive to lie in court

[6] 30th September 1985, Statement, M Abel, Social Worker

[7] 28th August 1985, Statement, E. Watson, Teacher

[8] Action 1203, Interview, Mrs Lester

[9] 3rd August 1979, Last Will & Testament Nevill Bamber

[10] DCI Dickinson Review

[11] 18th June 1991, Officers report, DI Hammett

[12] 2th June 1986, Officers Report, DI Cook

[13] 10th September 1985, Statement, R Boutflour

[14] Statement, J, Hawyward, Holmes ref 33/305

[15] 10th September 1985, Statement, R Boutflour

[16] 9th September 1985, Statement, J Mugford & 10th September 1985, R Boutflour

[17] 16th September 1985, Statement C.A Eaton

[18] 2002, Michael Turner appeal notes official disclosure by CPS

[19] Peter Eaton COLP Draft Statement

[20] DCI Dickinson Review, schedule of interviewees & Swan Confidential CPS file on J Mugford

[21]10th August 1985, Diary of R Boutflour

[22] Jury question about Relatives motives

[23] Police actions, Bamber estate documents

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