WHF: The Blues and Twos: Interview with former PS Chris Bews
In today’s episode, we’re going to hear from former PS Chris Bews, one of the first three offices to attend the scene. And certainly the most senior of those in the first vehicle.
Featuring two interviews that were conducted with Chris, we touch upon some of the core issues relating to the initial police presence.
- How Chris ended up at the scene in the first place
- A likely explanation for the two call logs
- How Jeremy was behaving during the consideration of the scene
- And why the initial crew were suspicious of him from the get go
Where to listen?
Today’s episode is one that I know a lot of you have been waiting for. Because today, you’re going to hear from former P. S. Chris Bews. For those of you who are new to the murders at White House Farm, P. S. Bews was one of the scene. And he was also one of the most senior. A police sergeant at the time, Bewes had recently returned to uniform, having spent some time as a detective.
What’s more, Chris Bews had also been a firearms officer. Useful for someone called to such an incident. What follows is my mostly unedited interview with Chris. The only edits being my idle chit chat. But for the most part, it remains as it was recorded. I’ve opted not to add commentary to this. But any loose strands will be picked up in future episodes.
There are two interviews combined in this podcast episode. There are two interviews in this episode. The first interview was a general discussion about Chris’s experiences of that evening, while the second is more targeted because it involved a discussion around the phone calls. Additionally, this interview was conducted via the phone and recorded by my trusty university dictaphone, so please forgive me if the quality is lacking.
A final note before we get into it. I want you to remember that this interview was conducted in 2021, a full 36, almost 37, years after the murders took place. And that impacts in two crucial ways. The first is that Chris is recalling memories, an incident that he’s repeatedly been asked to recall in the decades.
And so, as with most people, our memories can betray us. The second is that this interview was conducted with the benefit of hindsight. Some of Chris’s timings are slightly off, but let’s remember, far from being a big conspiracy, These are recollections of something that happened so long ago. A huge thank you to Chris Bewes for being a constant resource for me and for taking the time to do both interviews.
Let’s get into it.
Could you, um, can you just like introduce yourself for me and what role you play in this case and what you were doing at the time? I’ll tell them. Bewes. Um, at the time of the Bamber a uniformed police sergeant with Essex Police, stationed at Witton Police Station. Whitham is a small town in central Essex, at that time probably about 25, 000 population.
And it was what was called a subdivision of the main Chelmsford division, um, for the police in Essex. And we covered a mainly rural area, apart from Witten Town itself, which included, um, where Whitehouse Farm is. Um, it’s, as I said, it’s a small police station. It, um, I’m trying to think how many, how many people would have worked from there, but basically each shift there’s, uh, four.
Uniform shifts with most police stations, what they were then. Um, there’d been me as the sergeant and I had, uh, three uniform constables underneath me. Um, which is pretty standard for such a small place. Bigger place would have had more constables. And on the night in question, um, I was working slightly different hours to most of my shift.
But I stayed on late cuz we had a lot of burglaries in the area and I was with two of the three guys on the shift. One wasn’t there, there was, there’s only two guys on after two o’clock. I’d stayed on till after two cuz we were wandering around at local. Um, business site that had a lot of burglaries, and we were trying to catch the burglar.
Um, and while we were out doing that, so it had been, oof, I would have said, approaching the times to be perfectly honest. Um, I can’t remember. Um, it would have been about the time Bamber phoned in to Chelmsford police station shortly after. We got a call over the radio saying that, uh, To go back to Whittam Police Station and phone the duty inspector at Chelmsford.
The way things work is if we left the station unattended, I mean people who live in big towns, Um, are used to 24 7 police stations. Yeah. Whittam… Because of the level of staffing, if we were all out on patrol, we locked the place up and we went out. And we switched the phones over to Chelmsford Police Station, so anybody trying to phone us directly, would end up going through to Chelmsford Police Station.
That’s exactly what happened. Jeremy, um, had phoned… Whitton Police Station directly, which, uh, is fairly relevant later on when you think about, um, had got transferred to Chelmsford Police Station and spoken to the duty inspector there who In turn, he wanted to speak to me, so we went back into the police station, I phoned him, and the duty inspector told me what Bamber had said, and that’s when we started going over to, um, Whitehouse Farm.
Hmm. So, based on what you were told then, were you, you, I’m assuming you were told Jeremy had phoned, not Neville? Yeah, um, I mean, there was, I don’t think from our side there was any suggestion of a, other than possibly… Um, uh, a badly written, uh, log. Um, I don’t think, there’s any suggestion that anybody but Jeremy found this.
Um, I don’t think Neville. I think one of the logs might say that… Mr. Bamber called and that’s been assumed to mean Neville rather than Jeremy. Um, obviously I don’t know what was written on each log, but as far as I’m aware, I’m 99. 9% sure that, um, the only call received was from Jeremy. Yeah, and see that’s because the campaign of, um, they reckon they’ve said they’ve got two logs and one is written as if it’s Neville calling and one is written as if it’s It’s Jeremy calling but to me looking at it, it just looks as if the one call is somebody transcribing literally what Jeremy has said and the other call is somebody transcribing what Jeremy says Neville has said.
If that makes sense. I, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there Kate, yeah, but that’s basically what I’m saying. You’ve also got to bear in mind, and this sounds like really lame excuses, that policemen do make mistakes. I’ve made a few. Um, and it was early in the morning, so whoever was writing the logs initially was possibly, um, not the most wide awake person in the world.
And also… But, um, yeah, um, I think both, I can’t say, but both logs are open. To interpretation to a certain degree, but there’s nothing more sinister than it’s just the way they were written by the person writing them. I don’t know who that was in either case, to be perfectly honest. And I’ve always thought that if there was a call off Neville, if somebody had spoken to Neville that night, I don’t understand why that wouldn’t have come out sooner.
Because obviously it was concluded at first it was a murder suicide, so there would have been no reason to hide. If Neville had made that call. So, to me it doesn’t make sense. What you just said is something that’s always got me about the conspiracy theorists in this case. I mean, the police got nothing to hide.
They weren’t trying to cover anything up. In fact, they did the reverse up. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves perhaps. Yeah, um,
I think you’ve got to take them as… Almost being effectively, uh, always from, an error possibly in transcribing because what would have happened is… Um, they would have started, they would have had a telephone log at, um, Chelmsford Police Station for the initial call. And bear in mind in those days they would have been handwritten on a special form, which I believe used to be called a C1.
For communication one, and you wrote anything that came into the police station over the phone on that. Or even if someone walked into the police station actually. Um, the second log would have probably been started at police headquarters. And certainly the initial entries would have included what was on.
The log of Champ Police Station. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So I, I find those ex easily explainable the two logs, but it’s just something worth covering because I don’t think, um, I think it’s easy for the, the campaign to use things like that, but as soon as you get like a police officer’s opinion or just somebody was there or anything like that, it’s really easy to kind of explain away the.
Like you said, there’s the conspiracy, but, um, The, the other thing they say is that there was two cars dispatched, so there has to have been two separate calls. So, um, do you know which car, which of the cars you were in, in terms of the number? We were Charlie Alpha 7, CA7. Okay. Um, and what time did the next police car arrive?
If you, roughly, you know, within… Um, it was quite a while. It had been Charlie Alpha 5. Um, the C stands for Chelmsford, by the way, C Division. Okay. A stands for Area Car, which is, um… The main incident response vehicle in any division or subdivision. And then the numbers just relate to which area car in the whole division.
So, um, Charlie Alpha 7 was the Whittam area car. Charlie Alpha 5 is the Molden. Maldon being another town within Chelmsford division, a separate subdivision like Witton, but also borders the White House farm area. So basically what happened was, um, the duty inspector at information room decided if it was an armed incident, we’d need a bit of a backup, so he sent five out to back us up.
Hmm, okay. That’s, yeah, that, that, again, that explains, um, the, that aspect of the call logs as well. What did you, what did you and your colleagues, sort of, not expect, because I don’t think anyone would expect it, but had you dealt with firearm situations before? Was it totally out of the blue? And based, based on the fact…
Go on, sorry, I interrupted you. Oh no, I was only going to say, and based on the fact that Jeremy hadn’t called 999, were you anticipating that it was, it wasn’t going to be as, sort of, a big deal as it was? That was part of the conversation I had with the duty inspector at Chelmsford and also As, as is on record, I had with Jeremy at the scene.
Um, both the duty inspector at Chelmsford and I remarked that if it is that urgent, why don’t you dial 999? Um, but that was not a major issue at the time. The major issue was to get us out there to see what was actually going on. Um, as regards firearms incidents, firearms incidents even nowadays, uh, what’s that, 30 odd years later.
Aren’t that common? I know they get publicized a lot when they happen, but when you look at them In respect of all the calls the police deal with in the course of a day, they’re, they’re very rare, and they were probably even rarer then. Um, yes, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve been involved in reported firearms incidents before.
Um, but the thing with any incident that’s reported is you, you, you can’t judge anything over the call, which is why you have to send someone to, to check it out, which is what, um, myself and the two constables. Did, we went out there to, to see what was what. Mm. So, um, just to go back to, I, you probably, you’ve covered this so many times in different things, but just, um, the, the journey there, the passing Jeremy, and, and then what your first impressions of Jeremy were.
Right, yeah, well, it’s, uh, as it’s probably being publicised, it’s a very rural district, um, and the guy driving our car, Steve Myle, knew the area very well, so we weren’t hanging around, to be perfectly honest. Plus the fact that, I mean, he was a damn good driver, um, and he knew the area, and there was no other traffic on the road.
So we, we, he put his foot down, and we shot past this small white voxel, um, which, I mean, even though we were going fast, it was going slower. I mean, if it’d been going any slower, it’d have been stopped almost, I would have said. Um, we got to the farm, had been told to expect a… Meet Jeremy there. There was no one there and then after we’ve been there for about five minutes the white voxel We just passed showed up and then it was Jeremy And he got out.
I have to say didn’t look particularly worried He was obviously He obviously said he was concerned, and I just got him to go over what he’d already said, and then, then things moved on from there. Mm. So, yeah, that’s, um, again, it all fits with what, um, what we now know, doesn’t it? But, um, what, uh, how was he acting afterwards, when you started to do the perimeter?
Was he kind of keen for you to, you and the other police officers to try and get in? Or was he, you know, was he, did he seem impatient? Okay, if, uh, my… Mission, as it were, um, was to see what was going on inside the house. But because the question of firearms had been brought up, obviously you don’t just walk up and knock on the door or walk in through an unlocked door.
Because you don’t know what you’re going to find. Um, the first thing you do in a situation like that is calm. The witness down, which is Jeremy, and get him to go over exactly what he knows about it. You then make your next move based on what you’re told and what you know. Um, so, my questions to him were basically, What has happened tonight to make you call us?
And he went over the fact that he’d received a phone call from his father, Um, who sounded very distressed, saying that his sister had gone mad and… She, um, had a gun, and then the phone call had been hung up, or the phone call had been terminated, and he actually said during conversation that what I, what struck me as funny was, um, that it sounded as though someone had put their finger on the, the phone cradle.
I mean, actually, when you think about it, not many people would know what that is nowadays, because most people use mobiles, but… Yeah. If you’re talking about an old fashioned landline, it’s the, it’s the bits that get put down when you put the handset back on top of it. And what Jeremy was saying is it sounded like someone had put their finger on top of that rather than putting the phone back down.
Um, which I thought was very odd because you can’t tell the difference. Hmm. I suppose, I suppose he needed it to be that someone had deliberately put the finger down because otherwise he couldn’t have made a call out, I suppose. It’s more mysterious, isn’t it? Well, but why did he just not say it got hung up?
Hmm. Yeah, it’s strange, it is strange. I mean, the same thing would have happened, you know, same thing the phone, the receiver down on the handset, uh, the handset down on the phone. Um. It would’ve, yeah. Clicked off and it would’ve killed the call. Yeah. They say people who, um, invent stories over detail, don’t they?
So I wonder if perhaps that was it. He was trying to add too much detail to the story to make it seem plausible, and actually he was just added suspicion. Well, in retrospect, I think that’s exactly what he was doing. But, um, when he actually said it, that flagged something up in my head thinking, why the hell has he said that?
Mm. That’s interesting that you picked that. Why? Um, well, I, I, I’ve said before it’s been reported. Um, I just, well, no, none. It turned out none of the three of us that were present with him initially, um, felt that he was, um, genuine. Mm. So we all thought he was telling the story. Um, he, he was trying. Yeah, it’s to go into the house, even though I’d say, well, I’m not going in there if, um, there’s a likelihood of firearms being involved.
Because obviously we’re not, um, armed, as a rule. Um, after I satisfied myself that there was something genuine, there were lights on in the house, but no movement that we could detect, no sounds coming from it. And he said there were definitely, um, his parents, his sister and her children in there. And given that, um…
My first step really was to, um, get in there, and I wasn’t going to do that, so I, I called up headquarters, this, this is, um, right, to differentiate between Chelmsford, Chelmsford police station, as far as I’m concerned, are now out of it. Okay. So there shouldn’t be any confusion about communications. Um, usually the main communications centre, At the police headquarters, or it certainly was in those days, I think it still is, they’re called the information room, because that’s where all the calls go into, and that’s where all their calls go out of.
So, all my communications were over a fairly long range radio with… Essex Police Headquarters, not Chelmsford Police Station. Okay. Information Room. Um, so I called them up, said that I wasn’t happy with it. Firearms involved, suggestion of, um, violence inside the house. And I asked for, um,
what I think was called in those days the Tactical Firearms Group, um, to be called to the scene to effect an entry under the premises. is the official term, is to go in there and see what, basic TFG, Tactical Firearms Group were, um, what the Americans called SWAT, Special Weapons and Tactics. They were a dedicated team who didn’t do anything else but firearms work.
Uh, so you’d get a transit or two transit mates from turning up and they’d have all the kit and it would be them that make the entry into the house. Um, so having said that, they’re not on call 24 7 at that time of the day which, I don’t know, we’re talking between two and three in the morning at this time.
There wouldn’t have been any on duty and it’s, you literally have to call them out. Nowadays it’s slightly different, yeah you have armed response vehicles, didn’t have those in those days though. Um, I mean nowadays armed response vehicles are 24 7, um, in those days it wasn’t. So it took the time to assemble the team, they had to get into headquarters again in Chelmsford.
Pack the vans with the gear and then get out to us. So, you were looking at a good hour or more before they were going to turn up. Hmm. Um, which is another reason why Charlie Alpha 5, the other area car was sent out, was to help us to contain the scene. Um, being a firearms trained officer myself, because they did have divisional personnel trained, but very rarely issued with firearms in those days, I knew exactly what the team would want.
And that would be a plan of the house, so they knew where they were going, who was in the house, details of the people who were in the house, and also details of any firearms. So, really, that’s what I got Jeremy to do. We gave him a clipboard with some paper on it. And I said, right, on this bit of paper, draw a plan of the ground floor.
Then on the next bit, draw a plan of the upper floor. And then write me a list of all the firearms and people who are in that house. And of course, as a result of him doing that, we… You carry on a further conversation. He, he kept harping on about his, um, sister being a nutter, his words. Um, I mean we all, might all think they’re nutter, but you don’t say that to a member of the family.
You’d say, is your sister mentally disturbed then? But he, it was him that started using the word nutter. Um, and obviously I wanted to clarify if she could use the firearms. Um, there was quite, quite a few firearms. I can’t remember, I’m going back, there were three or four firearms that he listed, I believe.
I think so, yeah. But that is nothing unusual on the farm in the rural area. Um, because they’d have firearms to keep down vermin, basically. And I think, um, there was the Anschutz rifle that was the weapon used for the… Um, crime, and at least two if not three shotguns I think he listed. And I’m not even sure whether there was a pistol listed.
I’m sorry, I can’t remember. No, it’s fine, it’s fine, I can find them. Yeah. And I said, would, would your sister know how to use any of the rifle, because I took her out for target practice only a, a little while ago. Oh, that’s interesting. Um, I said, well, is she a good shot? That was more conversational, because I mean, if you’re holding a rifle right in front of somebody, you don’t really have to need to be a good shot.
You just pull the trigger. Um, like I said, it, it, it’s a small caliber weapon. I think it’s only a 22, which is a very small bullet. Uh, uh. It’s still deadly if you put it in the right part of someone. Um, not, but not as debilitating as being hit by a large caliber weapon. Um, or a shotgun. However, it, it had the advantage over shotguns of having a magazine that held more than one or two rounds.
Um, when he’d done the list, and we were still waiting for firearms to turn up, I thought the least we could do was probably do a reconnaissance of the area. Yeah. Um, from as safe a distance as possible. Now, I mean, with a rifle, even a small caliber one like a Lanshut’s that was used, Um, You’ve got to be quite awake if you’re actually out of range.
Having said that, I relied on the fact that it was dark, we were all in dark clothing, and walking around the farmyard would still keep us, oh, a couple of hundred yards away from, from them. the main property. Now that’s what we decided to do, and uh, Steve Meyer, one of the PCs, and I took Jeremy to basically map out the perimeter of the scene, as it were.
And it was, you know, it was quite a large farmyard. Um, we kept to the edge of the farmyard rather than going near the house, but we had a clear view of the house and we could, we could see that there were lights on. Upstairs and downstairs. The, um, The kitchen window curtains weren’t drawn. Um, I can’t remember about upstairs, whether the curtains were drawn or not.
There was a dog barking, Jeremy, a whining, barking. Jeremy remarked on that that was unusual because if there was anybody there to stop it barking, they would. Which is quite obvious, as we all would, with a barking dog. Um, while we were walking round, I think this is one of the things that people mention, in that I thought I saw movement.
Yeah. I did think I saw movement. Um. But it was quite a bright moon that night. There were moon reflections in the windows. And one of the windows upstairs, which I might, it might have been the window to the landing, but I, don’t hold me to that. Um, you’ve got lots of things that happen at night. Not many people do go out at night, but that’s usually in rural areas.
Not many people go out in the middle of the country at night and wander around. Um, so what you’ve got to realize is the moon reflects off glass. There are imperfections in glass, so a pane of glass, even though it looks flat when it’s in the wind, it has imperfections in it that scatters the light in different ways.
And if you are looking at… a reflection at one angle, it will change if you move to another angle. And that’s, that’s basically what happened with me. I, I moved, um, and in so doing, the angle changed to the window, and I thought, hang on, was that movement? And I, I literally told the other two to stay where they were, and I, I backed up in my, I didn’t turn around and walk back, I backed up in my steps.
And as I did that, I got the impression of movement again, but that was merely the reflection. It was the reflection changing from one shape to another. Does that make sense? Yeah, it does. I think that’s become such a red herring, um, in the case, because I think… I didn’t see movement. I thought I did. I told them to freeze, basically.
I re chose my step, or backed up in my steps. And I was satisfied that it was just our movement that had caused the impression of movement. In the window, and there’s no more choice than that. And I imagine you were all on high alert as well, you know, knowing that there was someone potentially with a gun and, and so you…
I was waiting for someone to stick a gun out the window and shoot at us. Yeah. So it’s bad to be safe and, sorry. So I suppose if you see something, your first instinct is gonna be, oh, oh, I think I’ve seen something. And then, but like you said, you, you doubled back and you knew you what it was in the end.
And again, I think that’s what’s become, and I, what was also going through my head was I shouldn’t really have brought a civilian around the back of a farm. That he’s insecure and possibly got a gun pointing out of it. Because I thought, ooh, Jeremy might get shot as well. Um, but, uh, one of the things that really made me do that, was to, uh, um, clarify to him why I wasn’t going in.
He, he kept on trying to get us to go in there and then. Mm. And I kept having to explain that, and using his own words, I said, look, you, you, you say there are five people in the house, And we’re going to have two options, probably. We’re going to go in there and find five people, perfectly okay, but possibly, um, one of them’s got a gun.
Or we’re going to go in there and a nutter with a gun. And I said, either way, I’m not going in there without the arm team. I’m going in there first. I think walking around the back not only was it a bit of reconnaissance for the album team, Um, but it was also to show Jeremy that it wasn’t really a viable thing to go in.
So, um, which he wanted us to do, I don’t know. Uh, yeah, fair enough, perhaps I’d want it to be resolved quickly. But what was also going through my head was, keep trying to get us to go in. If it, if it was my family… In that house and I’d got a distressing call. I’d have made a quick nine, nine nine call and got over there myself and gone in there to see what was wrong.
Yeah, I was just thinking the same thing. If he was that keen for people to get in the house, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t phone nine, nine, nine. And obviously by the crime scene, we know that um, Neville was likely injured. If he made a call, he would have probably been injured at the time. And it seems really strange to me that he wouldn’t call, he wouldn’t have mentioned on the phone that him and his wife had been shot.
Especially with those two boys in there. You think he’d have, you know, if it had have gone down the way Jeremy said, I don’t understand why he wouldn’t have said, um, look, I’m injured, your mum’s injured, and I’m worried about the two boys. It just, it just to me doesn’t make any sense at all. Yeah, no, it, it, it, it, it, not really.
Um. Uh, you’re dealing with someone that’s going mad with a gun. If you make a phone call, you’re going to dial 999. Yes, exactly, yeah. You’re not going to find your sons in the next village. Yeah, and he says it’s because of privacy. And, you know, if it was in terms of Shiva’s actual mental health problem, then I can completely understand wanting to…
to be private, but if you’ve been shot multiple times that, you know, at that point, there is no way it’s going to be private. It’s past that point at that point. Not really.
Yeah, Yeah. Um, one other thing. So you made the decision to call the firearms team, um, and you’ve, you’ve explained pretty well why that was. Um, but just to clarify, it was because you Were suspicious that there was just no, no movement or anything. And given what Jeremy had told you, I, I had no more to go on than what Jeremy told me.
And, and the fact that everything seemed silent in the house, I must admit, I, so that’s all give you heightened pieces. My bet. My bet was on four dead people and a nut with a gun, with a very strong second possibility. For murders and the suicide. Mm-hmm. That’s really interesting. You, based on what Jeremy had told me that, uh, so there was still a doubt there.
Yeah, no, I, I, I mean, there’s no way I was gonna go in there. Yeah. Oh, I can’t, I, I can’t imagine most people would, especially if you’re at like, like you said, an unarmed officer. If you’re, if you’re not got that protection with you, there’s no way most people would. Um, the, one of the big other concerns that has been raised with this case, and I think this is why they’ve played onto that movement so much, is that there’s a suggestion that Sheila was.
Still alive. Um, one of the things that I find really frustrating is this suggestion that the, um, the firearms team were in conversation with someone from inside the farm. Um, was there any from what you knew when you were there? Was there any suggestion that there was anyone talking to the police? No, no suggestion whatsoever at any time.
Um, what might have been misinterpreted was the fact that before the, the tactical firearms group enter the building, bearing in mind, um, okay, it might not have been exactly what was on the recent drama because I think that’s based more on what would happen now. Um, you can have four guys go in there at least with another backup team for.
Um, at least one of those would have had a shotgun. Now, in those days, I think I’m right in saying, none of them would have had, um, automatic weapons. Um, I mean, nowadays they’d all be armed with Echelon cock, submachine carbines, but, in those days, out of the four that actually went in, you’d have had one with a shotgun, and three with just revolvers, basically.
38. Smith Wesson revolvers, and you’ve had another team outside ready to go and back them up, um, pretty much the same. Um, before they go in, they, they challenge someone that’s, you imagine yourself being in the house and you get four burly policemen burst in pointing guns at you. They have to warn you that that’s what’s going to happen before they go in.
That’s what the talking into the house was. Hmm. Whether somebody. Said, quiet. I think I might have heard something that’s only natural, um, that might have happened, but there was no conversation cause there was no one left alive in there. Mm-hmm. I, the way I interpret it, that particular piece of evidence as well, where it says, uh, to quote exactly, it says Conversations with someone in someone.
from in the farm. I’ve always taken that to mean Jeremy because if it was someone in the farm I think you’d say conversation with someone in the farm. It’s so silly but the word from, someone from, in the film implies that it’s Jeremy to me. I don’t know that the full passage you’re quoting, um, I, it, it, I mean, you could say as a result of conversation with someone at the farm or in the farm, but is it in the farmhouse, which is what they were interested in?
Yeah, and that’s another point actually someone else raised, that it says farm, yeah, not farmhouse. So again, I, I’d go with that being Jeremy, but there was note of a challenge being made, and again, the defence have come on to that as… As evidence that there was someone alive, whereas like you said it’s probably just protocol and it’s just the way things are done that there’s a challenge first.
Yeah, they have to challenge before they go in. I mean, you’ve got two sides of the coin. Yeah, that’s warning someone with a gun that they’re going in, but that person isn’t going to be much of a threat after they’ve gone in because that’s what they’re expecting. Hmm. Um. They’re giving someone a chance that is either harmed and wants to surrender to surrender or someone who isn’t harmed To say look, I’m in here.
Don’t shoot. I’ve not got a gun. That’s effectively what they’re doing and then if if They get neither of those responses, they make a forced entry, which is what they did. I think the door was open, so they didn’t actually have to force it. Um, but, um, shall we say they go in without permission. Oh yeah, that’s a really good way of phrasing it, yeah.
Um, I think there’s a lot of, um, in America, they’ve got the no knock rule, haven’t they? So I think sometimes people get, they don’t understand police protocol, and so they assume that it’s possible for you to enter a house without, um, making a way. I, I’m not sure if you know about the Breonna Taylor case, but it was one of the big Black Lives Matter cases, and, and the issue with that was a no knock.
Which one was that, where the, um, detective went into the wrong flat? No, they went into, yeah, well, technically they went into… Oh, no, that was where she called up and they… It was a boyfriend going mad or something and they shot her instead or something. They went to the house, um, to see if, because they’d had a complaint about her ex boyfriend who had drugs and when they got there she’d broken up with him and it was her and her new boyfriend and because they did a no knock warrant they burst in with guns, um, and the what the boyfriend that she was with at the time shot one bullet back because he was, he thought it was probably her ex.
and they shot him and then shot her dead and, and it’s frustrating because obviously he shot first but it was a no knock entry so he had no idea what was going on. Yeah, no, I, I know American law is similar to ours at its very basic level but operationally they have to be different because of the way their culture is.
Yeah. Um, I understand what you’re saying and the case you mentioned, yes, I have seen it reported and read about. Yeah,
yeah, I know, I know exactly what you mean. Um, yeah, no, but… There’s a lot of things to do with firearms in America that… Let’s not get sidetracked, but I just can’t believe that I have those rules over there. I don’t know why, I mean…
No knocking, stuff like that, you’ve got to have to protect the innocent in a way. What I mean is their gun laws in general, they’ve got so many guns available.
Well yeah, I mean, without going sidetracked, that’s in all fairness. The police probably haven’t got the best relationship with
public out there. It’s probably because they always have to assume they’re going to get shot as they speak, don’t they? I found pretty difficult because… Well, I don’t know where that comes from. What you’ve got to bear in mind, um, and we’re going back to logs, the, the, the, the raid team would have, would have had open mics, so…
They are heard by the rest of their team on site and whether there was a link through to the information room at headquarters, I don’t know. Mm-hmm. . But a log would’ve been maybe what they’re saying and the adrenaline’s flowing when you going to Course it is. I mean, that , they’re expecting to get shot at any minute.
Yeah. , I can imagine. Um, so their adrenaline’s going hundred and 1% or whatever. Mm. And so, And they, it’s a bit like that quiz program on TV, Say What You See, I can’t remember what it is. Catch Free? Yeah. My mum’s a huge fan. They say what they say, Man on the floor. If they see a rug bunched up, they might say, Another body on the right, something like, and then they say, Oh no shit, that’s a rug.
Mm, but they’ve already said it and it’s already… They’ve already said it so it comes out on the log. Mm. Anything said after that sounds as though they’re trying to cover up. Why would they be trying to cover up? Their job is to get in and make the scene safe. They don’t want to make problems for themselves.
Um, I don’t know what happened. I know that it’s said that they’ve said they’re… They’ve implied that there was two bodies downstairs, they, the latest is, they’re now implying
Yeah, I believe that as well, I do believe that, um, I believe that they, they thought potentially Neville was a woman because he did have long hair and I imagine that It, you know, the mess that that kitchen was in, it probably wouldn’t have been particularly easy to look through the window and notice who, who it was, so.
What they’ve got to do is, um, at the same time, obviously the main thing is to look after the four people that are actually, probably the four people, the four people in the raid team. They have to make sure that none of them get shot. Um, they have to, they also make sure that they don’t shoot anyone who shouldn’t get shot.
and then neutralize anybody. That isn’t doing what’s told. Um, part of that, the procedure is that they shout out what they can see. If, if you’re pumped up with adrenaline, which they would have been, as would anybody, Um, they might have seen, like, with me thinking I’d seen movement, and it was only the reflection of the moon in glass, they might see something on the floor that they think is another body.
Um, and I’ll chow that out right away, just so everybody’s aware of what’s in the room. When you then clear the room, they get into that room. They then are happy no one’s pointing a gun at them. They make sure that that room is safe. Then they move on to another room. Um, the second lot of football will probably come in and secure the downstairs.
I don’t know how they did it, but you, you’re gonna have… People moving from room to room, and until you say that each room is safe, any room can have someone pointing a gun at you in it. And that’s what they’re doing. Going through a big farmhouse, you’ve got lots of rooms, one room at a time. Um… So there’s lots of, um, opportunities, um, to make relatively small mistakes, but you make mistakes because you’re erring on the side of safety.
You don’t want to shoot someone who shouldn’t get shot. Um, let’s be honest, you don’t wanna get shot yourself. Mm-hmm. Yeah. , I imagine it was quite a chaotic scene as well when they went in and just didn’t know what they were expecting. Well, no. Obviously there’d been some sort of a fight in the kitchen.
Yeah. And you, you got never lying there. Um, there was bits and pieces thrown all over the place. Yeah. So you’re right. Yeah. Very ca chaotic when they went in. Yeah. Did you, did you actually enter the house or were you outside the house? Not at, not at that time, no. Um, A little while later, um, I, I actually didn’t go in because it’s then a scene of crime and, uh, crime scene.
You don’t go in unless you need to. Um, I, I did have a wonder towards the back door and had a look through the back door just out of personal curiosity. Um, but no, I never, I, I didn’t go in the house and go upstairs. In fact, by that point, I’m the only people that would have been in the house. Once the firearms came and secured everything, and…
Also secured any firearms that were in there. The only people that should have been in there were the scenes of crime officers, the forensics people. Mm. And possibly the senior detective officer and whatnot, but… No, the fewer people that go into a crime scene, the better. Mm. I think, um, one last sort of big thing that’s worth touching on is, um, obviously you were the one who delivered the…
news to Jeremy. And again, I know this is something you’ve probably spoken about, um, plenty, but it’s just better to have it from like first source than we having to use other sources. So I’m just wondering if you could just explain how he reacted and what your thoughts were about that. Oh, well, yeah. Um, I told him that everybody was dead.
Um, Now, delivering bad news to people is part of the policeman’s job. And, um, I’ve done that many, many times before. And you can never second guess the way that people are going to react. Um, having said that, most people, um, react as though nothing’s happened. Not many people break down right away. Well, I think unless you’ve never experienced that situation, you might think they do.
Most people go into shock. As soon as you tell them shocking news, they go into shock. Um, and the reason I use the word for telling them and then receiving it, it’s shock. And the body makes you freeze. You don’t, well, the majority of people in my experience don’t. React by breaking down. Um, yeah, they might well do after 30 seconds.
They might well do after 5 minutes. Some might take hours or days before they really react to, to grief. Um, Jeremy broke down almost immediately, I told him. Which, again,
is not unheard of. But I just got the info, I, it was then, I, I’d have been less suspicious if he, Done nothing. Mm. And just kept quiet. He, he, I got the impression he was forcing himself to cry.
Um, and I, I know I’m now, we’re now many years into the future from that point. I think a similar comment was made at the funeral, um, when he was crying. I think one of the witnesses said that they thought he was forcing, I think, his girlfriend. Well, she knew a lot more than she’s let none at that point, but we didn’t know that then.
Um, I think, uh, one if not more people at the funeral thought he was putting on an act, shall we say. And that was certainly the impression I got when I broke the news. I thought, okay, don’t react, I wouldn’t be suspicious there. That wouldn’t be suspicious because that’s actually not reacting is probably what most people do, initially.
Some people break down, but you can tell when someone’s grief stricken. He wasn’t grief stricken, he was, he was like a kid forcing himself to cry. Um, I’ve said this I’ve got four daughters, and, um, they’re all wonderful and grown up now, but when they were kids, they were horrible. Some of the time. Most, most of the time, they were lovely.
But you get a kid who wants something, and thinks, if I’m not gonna get this, I’m gonna cry.
And they force themselves to cry. And you can laugh at it. But with Jeremy, that is the impression I got. I said, you’re lucky. I didn’t say sorry. I said to myself perhaps, I thought, you are putting that on. Now that didn’t make me… Suspicious as to what really happened there. I think the first thing that flashed through my mind is you don’t really give a shit whether they’re dead or not.
Hmm. If… That is exactly… You don’t really care, do you? Yeah, that’s, that’s really interesting. I think that’s, that’s more of a, um, not, I think that’s more interesting because it’s as if there was just that feeling there straight away and that’s without any evidence. I think that’s a really good way, interesting way of putting it.
I think that’s quite interesting. I didn’t think you’ve done this yourself and made a cover up. I just thought you don’t really care. Yeah, that’s really interesting. Yeah, that’s um, that’s the opinion that I, I thought, I was thinking about that yesterday. I watched that um, documentary, Faking It, was it? The one with the, they analysed his body language, and I watched that and Oh, you’re talking about the thing on Quest Red?
Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And I watched that and I found that really interesting because when they were saying about, and I was thinking to myself then exactly what you were saying, I was thinking, yeah, it’s, it, even if he’s not guilty, he’s definitely not showing as much sadness as say, you know, me or you would. And I found that really,
Yeah, I mean, I think if we’re talking about the Quest Red programme, they analysed the way he was crying at the funeral. That’s it, that’s it, yeah. It was really interesting, that was. Um, and I think comment had been made on that, how we have the benefit of trained people observing the action, and analysing it with a, shall we say, an empirical, um, reason for why they…
Made that analysis. Mm-hmm. Um, uh, the, the people at the funeral and the, i, I think there’s at least one, if not two or three people who it was later reported, they all thought he was putting on an act as well. Mm-hmm. And that’s just with natural human instinct. Yeah. And that’s what I got.
I thought there was something strange all during my interaction with him. I was with him for, I don’t know, three, four hours? I don’t know. Mm. Um, and then just something that wasn’t right about him. There was, yeah, sorry, go on. No, there was, um, a comment made about a Porsche or something. Was it, was it to you or one of your colleagues?
And that’s always, um, haunting comment as well, where he was like, I’m gonna get my Porsche now or something, wasn’t it? I think, yeah. He said that to Steve or Bob, the other two guys there. I don’t remember him saying it, but I remember one of them. So, when we left the scene, I mean, um, it’s no disrespect, but there were lots of people at the scene by the time we left it.
Um, which was probably around about 9 o’clock in the morning. And given that I should have been off at 1 o’clock, I was feeling fairly tired. Um… And I knew I had to be back in the station for two o’clock that afternoon. Um, so I was, I was, I was like, oh god, I’m knackered, I’m not gonna get any sleep again.
Um, anyway, the threat, it’s what we call the circus, had descended upon the place. And that’s all the senior officers that feel they ought to be at the place. Plus all the people are actually doing the work. So there were lots of people, seniors of crime, senior… Uniformed officers, senior CID officers, I think Taff Jones was there by the time, I think Stan Jones was as well.
and the three of us just got back in Charlie Alpha 7 and drove back to Whitton. And we were all very quiet for about 30 seconds, and then I just said, what do you think? And the other two said, he’s done it, hasn’t he? I said, well, he’s not right, is he? That’s all I’ve said. That’s so interesting to hear.
Like, there was, there was sort of underlying concerns
and suspicions there straight away. I mean, you’re not trained psychiatrists or psychologists and, well, actually some people might be now. Um, but we, we weren’t, the three of us, we just got a wealth of experience behind us and we didn’t like what Jeremy… And acted like. It didn’t fit in with our normal perception.
Mind you, the three of us could be wrong, I’ll say that. Did you raise your concerns with anyone? Well, I didn’t have to. Um, as I said, we went back, signed off. Uh, I don’t think we would, we were meant to be back for two. But I cleared it with the early turn sergeant that, because we’d been on all night, Um, we wouldn’t be until three, that gave us an extra hour.
Because none of us lived actually in Whittam, actually. I think Steve lived near us, but Bob and I both lived in Colchester, or lived in Colchester, which was a good forty minutes drive. And so we knew that, with traveling, we wanted to try and cover a bit of sleep, so I said we’ll be in a bit late. But anyway, getting back, I didn’t have to, because I got back in perhaps about half to that afternoon, and one of the first people I saw was one of the detective constables involved in the case.
And I wish I could remember who it was. Um, I think it was Steve, who’s surname I can’t remember, it’d be a blessing. Um… Anyway, he said, what do you reckon to it, Chris? And I said, he’s done it, hasn’t he? And he said, that’s what we all think. Oh, that’s interesting. And he was talking about, um, local CID, which is three detective constables and their detective sergeant, Stan Jones.
And so I got in, as I say, early in the afternoon. They’d been on it all morning. And this, uh, DC came up to I said, he’s done it, hasn’t he? And he said, that’s what we’re looking at. Locally, yes. Stan
Jones, well, as history is borne out, that sounds rather grand, as history is borne out. I’ll keep that in. Stan
was never happy about it. Obviously, he and I had a setback there. We sat down and I basically talked to him the way I’m talking to you now. I thought, perhaps a few more swear words put in. Um, but Stan Jones is a damn good detective sergeant. Um, Cass Jones, I’m sorry, I know he’s one of your countrymen.
This, this is not racial. Um, I didn’t know that well. Um, I didn’t have a lot of confidence in him for a couple of reasons. It’s just a sort of brief thing about the, uh, incident logs and the call log, and what your takeaway is from the two separate documents, what you said in the email essentially. Okay.
Okay, well, well basically the two documents we’re talking about and the… I’ve, I’ve just got a download from the, one of Jeremy Bamber’s supporter sites and in a way they’re reversed. The one on the right is the one we should be looking at first. Um, and that’s the one that, um,
I think it’s, it’s timed to 0336 but I might personally query that time but never mind. But the sender is shown to be a Mr. Bamber of 9th Street, Goldhanger. And the receiver is shown as 1990, who’s, which is shorthand for PC1990. That, form C1 as it was called. And in the days before computerization, all, all, all reports, shall we put it like that, had to be made.
Um, had to be recorded on that form. Didn’t have to be verbatim, it just… Just the general details of what someone had reported. And it needn’t be something serious, it could be someone reporting a lost dog or cat, or something like that. So what we’ve got in the right hand form, where it says Receiver 1990, it’s Jeremy Bamber’s first call.
Um, and what 1990 has done, it’s just jotted down notes, effectively, to say what. The general import of the call was, um, it didn’t have to be more than that. What he’s then done, we go now to the left hand form, Um, which says 3. 26, ten minutes earlier. Again, don’t put too much credence in the timing, and that’s not trying to cover anything up.
It says top left, that the sender is CD. Which is Charlie Delbert. That’s code for Chelmsford Divisional Police Station. The police station in Chelmsford. Then brackets 1990. Which is the collar number of the officer calling into information room. Um, which is the same guy that’s taking the details on the other forms.
So, really, both forms report the same call. The first one reports it from Jeremy Bamber. The second one reports a call from the PC that spoke to Jeremy Bamber telling information room who deal with the whole county, they’re the ones that would deal with stuff anywhere. He’s telling them, look, I’ve had this call.
Um, and these are the details. So, the references to a Mr. Bamber at White House Farm doesn’t mean to say that the calls come from Mr. Bamber at White House Farm. It means that the call relates to someone called Mr. Bamber at White House Farm. Also said to Sheila Bamber, it doesn’t suggest that it comes from her either.
It’s just a basic record to say, look, here’s an incident, this is the information we’ve got, this is what we’re doing about it. Um, and on the second form you see a load of units dispatched, starting with CA 7 at the top left, um, which was the Whittam, Erica, um, And ending in Quebec, India to fire, uh, Quebec, India, I think, is it, or Quebec Zulu?
Actually, if it’s Zulu, that would be a dog unit. Um, but you’ve got Quebec
Kilos, they’re The CAs are area cars, twin man cars, usually. Um, and you’ve got one there from each of the subdivisions. You’ve got CO7 Whittam. CA5, I think, was Maldon, and if CA6 wasn’t another Maldon car, then it would be Braintree, which is another town in the same division. But it’s, it’s, nothing suspicious.
We’re out at the ward. I, I, I can’t see why the Bamba camp say it’s a call from Noel Bamba. Yeah, I think, um, initially, this document really did throw me, um, and I, before I started looking into the case, I would have probably said that was suspicious, but then the more and more you look at it, and the more you rationalize it, the, um, there’s something, oh, it says at the bottom of the log as well, uh, information passed to CD by son, so, yeah, it automatically takes, um, Way what the Jerry Bamba campaign are actually arguing.
That one sentence just dismantles what they’re saying in itself. Yeah. It’s, it’s just shorthand of a message. It’s, it’s not evidence. Yeah. Or it’s not intended as evidence. It’s intended as a record of a message received. Yeah. And the way I would view it is that, um, personally, the, the officer who took a call, which is I think was Michael Collins, he wrote down literally sort of roughly what Jerry Bamba said, and then he’s.
He’s spoken that to, um, I can’t remember the other guy and he’s written it down as the way that Jeremy says Neville said it, if you, if that makes sense. So he’s written it as Neville is supposed to have said it as opposed to writing what Jeremy has said and I just think that’s all it is, that’s… I think the the two documents that you showed me which come from the site, neither say it’s come from Neville Bamber.
One says it, the first one, done by 989 in the first place, Um, says, actually says the sender is Mr. Bamber at 9 Head Street, Goldhanger. That’s Jeremy, not Neville. Um, and then the second form mentions Mr. Bamber Whitehouse Farm, but that’s within the body of the message. That’s reporting what, whoever’s filled that form out, has been told.
And in this case, it clearly says that the person reporting is PC 1990 from Chelmsford Police Station. So, how anybody can say that has come, that’s a record of a call from Neville Bamber. Well, it beggars imagination, because there’s nothing on either form to suggest that. If you’re looking for a conspiracy, you can find one.
Exactly. Uh, yeah. Unfortunately. But you have to know what you’re looking at. Hmm. I’m, the, right, the form of PC 1990 actually filled in with, I’m very familiar with, Because every police station in Essex used them. Every officer in Essex would have had experience running them in. The one done in the information room is only used in the information room.
No experience in that form whatsoever. But it is essentially the same form. Or, or, it has the same use, shall we say. In that, in that, it’s to record a report made. Um, and in this case, neither. He says it’s the same report effectively, um, neither of which, uh, didn’t come from Neville Bamford. It came from Jeremy.
So this is relating to the call that he made, um, I think he dialed Whitman Police, he took the time to… dial Whitlam Police Station? Yes. You had to look for the number first as well. We weren’t in, so we’d switched our phones over to Chelmsford, which is why it went through to Chelmsford. I mean, if he’d dialled 999, which I raised with him while I was talking to him at the scene, before the firearms team went in, I said, why didn’t you dial 999?
I mean, that’s something that, certainly in I think nowadays, kids are taught from a very early age, if you know you… help quickly dial 999? Yeah. He didn’t did he? Nope. I’ve actually looked at that and I believe the 999 number was like it was started in like 1950 or something so it’s not as if it was new it’d been around for a long time 999 actually started in the 30s but it, I don’t think it went nationwide until the 50s as you say I think it started in London and some bigger cities Um, but yeah you’ve also got What to look at, I mean, Jeremy didn’t dial 999.
Let’s imagine a situation where Neville managed to get to the phone, and his life wasn’t in imminent danger, and he had a chance to make a phone call. Even though, I mean, he’s, he’s what, if age 62 is right at the time, he would have known about the 999 system. Yeah, we, we, we, we we’re talking about the eighties.
It’s, it everybody knew about nine ninety nine. Neville wouldn’t have phoned Jeremy. Yeah. If it was that violent, an incident he’d have called 9 99 to start off with. Hmm. I agree with you. And also like, um… Well, I’m ex fighter pilot, I believe, um, Neville. Yeah, that’s right. Um, well, funnily enough, not that…
I’m ex Air Force. Oh, are you? Before I joined the police. Fighter pilots… Hmm. Don’t mess about. They do what is necessary when it’s necessary. He wouldn’t have wasted time calling Jeremy’s. He’d have dialled 999 if he’d had the chance. Hmm. To dial Wichita Police Station.
Let’s, let’s just get away from Sheila and found the time to make two calls without her knowing or without her intervening. I mean, surely she would have, without sounding crass, surely she would have, you know, disarmed Neville first. But allegedly the guy’s getting shot. You don’t go up to shoot someone, get fought off and go off and shoot someone else while someone goes to make a phone call.
You make sure the person you’re fighting, well let’s put it bluntly, is dead. Or at least can’t interfere with what your plan is. I mean, there’s no way that Neville, um, well I don’t know. I would have thought there was no way that Neville would have had a tussle with Sheila. Um, and then she, for some reason, broke off her attack to give him time to make a phone call.
Mm, exactly. And two phone calls. If we go with this theory that the defence are going with. Well, no, no, it’s because Neville never made a phone call. Exactly, yeah. There was, there’s no cover up. Exactly. I mean, I think the police, Essex police, Sort of put their hands out and said, look, we really cocked up on this in the early stages.
That’s why it’s, you know, a little bit worrying what happened, happened subsequently. You could, if you lose confidence in the system, you can never fully regain it. Um, and so you’ve got a situation where… A theory was accepted far too readily without enough investigation. I mean on day one, it was accepted, um, that it was a multiple murder and one suicide.
No consideration was given by the senior officer in charge that it might have been five murders. Hmm. As opposed to four murders and a suicide. Um, and that’s where it started to go wrong, and unfortunately it went wrong very, very early. Hmm. The police actually had nothing to cover up. If, if there was anything they had to cover up, it was their poor investigation at the start.
Hmm. Um, and that was actually conducted. There was a full inquiry. After, after the, the court trial, and, and the conviction, um, anybody who had anything remotely to do with this, um, were called in and interviewed by senior officers, including myself, and, and that wasn’t to try and cover things up, that was to say, where the hell did we go wrong initially in this?
Hmm. And, and the idea of that was, let’s not make the same mistakes again. Mm-hmm. , and let’s be honest, Essex police are not the first police to make mistakes and it will happen again. Undoubtedly. So it’s, unfortunately, it just happened to be Essex police at the time. Most high profile case, unfortunately.
And yeah, I mean it at the end of the day, um, the first form, the, the one. Received by PC 1990. Um, whether that had anything… You could go over on the other side just to put extra details in if you want. They’re just saying, look, we got a call from Mr. Bamber at such and such a time. This is what he said.
This is how we’ve dealt with it. That comes down to the bottom where it says result. Because it had to be… Before the sergeant, which he has done, down the bottom is PS40 it says. Um, has signed it, uh, he’s signed it off saying right, we can forget about this, that’s our involvement done with. Um, and you can see they’ve written in the result, five persons killed, CID dealing.
That, that’s not very informative and it’s, it’s a little bit laconic and harsh, but that is the result. Hmm. Bear in mind this is filmed in a Chelmsford police station, and although Maldon and Thomas and Darcy are in Chelmsford division. They are not dealt with directly by Chelmsford Police Station, it’s all police hierarchy.
But Chelmsford Division Station, CD, Charlie Delta, didn’t deal with stuff that happened out there. I mean, they’d send assistance if necessary. That was Maldon, uh, that was Witton’s Patch, where I was. That’s why I got sent there, and not the duty sergeant from Maldon or Braintree. I got out there, but once it was that serious, then headquarters took over.
And you had headquarters staff who have responsibility for the whole county coming in. I mean Chelmsford, their only interest was let’s get this off our books. That sounds harsh, but that’s the way you deal with things. You pass it on to the people who do deal with it. It’s not Chelmsford Police Station’s responsibility to deal with something out of College and Darcy, although they took the first report.