On Tuesday, 8 February 2011 I did a blog post called THE INFLUENCE DODGY JOURNALISTS CAN HAVE OVER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS
It concerned a Select Committee Minutes of Evidence which were ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 22 October 2002. The objective was about setting limits on the use of police resources and time limits for people claiming to have been abused to come forward when investigating historic child abuse cases.
Here is part of that blog post, the list of people present at that meeting:
TUESDAY 14 MAY 2002
Mr Chris Mullin, in the Chair
Mr David Cameron Bob Russell
Mrs Janet Dean Mr Marsha Singh
Bridget Prentice Angela Watkinson
Mr Gwyn Prosser David Winnick
Examination of Witnesses
MR DAVID ROSE, Special Investigations Reporter, The Observer, MR RICHARD WEBSTER, Author of "The Great Children's Home Panic", and MR BOB WOFFINDEN, Freelance Investigative Journalist, examined.
Select Committee on Home Affairs Minutes of Evidence
Examination of Witnesses (Questions 38-59)
MR DAVID ROSE, MR RICHARD WEBSTER AND MR BOB WOFFINDEN
TUESDAY 14 MAY 2002
38. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to our witnesses. This is the first session of our inquiry into allegations of abuse in children's homes. I should make clear at the outset that, although we are under great pressure to do so, we are not going to examine in any detail individual cases. Of course, they may be cited where they illustrate a wider point, but we do not wish to get dragged into individual cases because that is not our function. The second point I should mention to witnesses, although I suspect they are well aware of this, is that we have to be careful of the rule on sub judice, so that if a case is before either a court of first instance or the Court of Appeal, then it cannot be referred to by name. If it is before the Criminal Cases Review Commission that is fine. If the CCRC has referred it to the Court of Appeal, then again it is covered by sub judice so we have to be a bit careful there. I think, since this is the first session, I will start by quoting the terms of reference. As I say, we have been under a lot of pressure to widen our terms of reference and we propose to stick as closely as possible to them. The questions in which we are interested are: "Do police methods of "trawling" for evidence involve a disproportionate use of resources and produce unreliable evidence for prosecution?" Two: "Is the Crown Prosecution Service drawing a sensible line about which cases should be prosecuted?" Three: "Should there be a limit—in terms of number of years since the alleged offence took place—on prosecution of cases of child abuse?" Four: "Is there a risk that the advertisement of prospective awards for compensation in child abuse cases encourages people to come forward with fabricated allegations?" And five: "Is there a weakness in the current law on `similar fact' evidence?" Those are the issues on which we hope to concentrate. Can I first of all put a general question to each of our witnesses and ask, starting perhaps with Mr Woffinden, how you became interested in this area?
(Mr Woffinden) Well, obviously I have been interested in miscarriages of justice for some years now, so in a sense I came in through that doorway, a lot of people contacting me saying that in these particular cases they had been wrongly imprisoned. So I had this background of interest in miscarriages of justice and it was natural for me to become concerned about these cases.
39. When did you begin to notice that there was a common thread to them?
(Mr Woffinden) Probably from about 1996 onwards it seemed that all these convictions were being obtained by similar means. So then we tried to put together, initially with Richard when I was writing articles, precisely what was happening.
40. Thank you. Mr Rose?
(Mr Rose) I am a relatively new arrival on the scene. I became interested about two years ago when a lawyer—with whom I had worked very closely some years ago investigating the miscarriage of justice which befell the Tottenham Three, the three men falsely convicted on fabricated evidence of murdering PC Blakelock in the riots at Broadwater Farm—contacted me saying he had been instructed in one of these cases and he was more convinced than he had ever been not only that his client in that particular case was innocent but that the case did fit into a general pattern which was causing him, as an experienced barrister, now a QC, grave concern. He actually gave me Richard Webster's book to read and it was as a result of that that I began to investigate a number of cases.
41. Thank you. You were responsible for making the Panorama programme.
(Mr Rose) Yes, the first thing I did was investigate the case of Roy Shuttleworth, now before the Criminal Cases Review Commission, for Panorama. As part of the research for that programme I looked into a number of other cases too and subsequently I continued to work in the area for The Observer.
42. Thank you. Mr Webster?
(Mr Webster) Unlike Bob Woffinden and David Rose, I am not an investigative journalist. I came into this field because I wrote a fairly substantial intellectual biography of Freud and that may seem a strange route in, but that led me into the field of studying recovered memory and false memory and the origins of that in 1896. I will not go into that now. Having finished that, I thought I would spend three or four weeks looking at false allegations or looking at sexual abuse allegations starting with the Cleveland affair because I felt there were things there that I wanted to understand. That was in early 1996 and it so happened that that coincided with the non-publication of the Jillings report into alleged abuse in North Wales. It also coincided with the beginning of an extremely strong campaign run by The Independent newspaper to try to force upon a reluctant Government a tribunal of inquiry based on the non-publication of the Jillings report. At that time, it seemed to me, that what was happening in North Wales (and I was going on trust from The Independent reports) was the genuine article, that there was massive abuse or had been abuse on a massive scale. Questions were raised about that. I did actually meet some former members of staff from Bryn Estyn and I decided the only thing I could reasonably do was go to North Wales and begin to be an investigative journalist, although I was not one. That is what I started to do. I will not go into details about my investigation, but really, it would be true to say, that by having started investigating North Wales before the Tribunal was ever convened, I then decided I must look over the border in Cheshire and Merseyside and ever since then, on and off, I have been investigating these cases simply because, I think, of the sheer horrifying nature of the miscarriages of justice which they have undoubtedly produced.
I wrote this blog post because I have been very concerned about the motives of these men, and in particular Richard Webster, as he belongs to an organisation called the British False Memory Society, which was founded by an American paedophile called Richard Gardner. Bob Woffingden has worked in the past for the New Musical Express and has jumped to the defence of Jonathan King the convicted paedophile musician. David Rose had admitted to working for MI5.
Now, I have just read this article in the Mail Online:
I was wrong about Bambi killer, says crime writer who has unearthed chilling new evidence
By Bob Woffinden
Last updated at 2:16 AM on 16th May 2011
Throughout the 25 years he has been locked up, Jeremy Bamber has consistently maintained his innocence of one the most horrific mass murders of modern times.
Bamber was only 24 when, in August 1985, five members of his family were shot dead at White House Farm, the family home in Tolleshunt d’Arcy, Essex. A year later, he was found guilty of the murders, and the judge described him as ‘evil, almost beyond belief’.
Returning to the case in 1994, the then Home Secretary, Michael Howard, ruled that for Bamber life should mean life — which means, in time, he could serve Britain’s longest-ever prison sentence.
Bamber has always challenged the conviction through the courts and the media, and his campaign has never been so active as in recent months.
When the Criminal Cases Review Commission recently announced that it had to decided not to refer Bamber’s case back to appeal for a third time, they were almost apologetic. Because of what they described as the case’s ‘highly complex nature’, they gave Bamber and his lawyers a month longer than other applicants are usually given to respond to their decision. The Commission yesterday announced that they had agreed to extend the time limit again by a further two months.
Despite the commission’s decision, Bamber, who passed a lie detector test in 2007, has not given up. He has announced that his case is now stronger than ever, sending a message to his followers on Twitter: ‘I will win a historic third appeal and this will change the face of British justice forever’.
But for anyone hoping to understand what really happened that night, there are crucial questions: If Bamber had committed the crime, why did he need to become involved with the police at all —wouldn’t it have been less risky to go back home, then put on a show of grief when told the news? Why was his father’s body downstairs? And why had the phones in White House Farm been moved?
There were four separate phones at the farm, all on the same line: one in the kitchen, one in the office and another in Nevill and June’s bedroom. A cordless phone had been collected for repair two days earlier. But police photographs show the ivory dial-type bedroom phone was in the kitchen, with the receiver off the hook, when the bodies were found.
Somebody had unplugged it in the bedroom then plugged it in again downstairs. More bizarrely, the kitchen phone had been unplugged and hidden beneath a pile of magazines. When tested it worked perfectly.
The telephone that moved downstairs is the key to solving the White House Farm murders.
Why? Because the phone which was normally on Nevill Bamber’s bedside table was the principal obstacle to Jeremy Bamber’s hopes of fulfilling an ambition he had confided to Julie Mugford, his girlfriend: that of committing the perfect murder.
Someone in the house had only to call 999 and identify him as the gunman for his entire plan to be foiled. Once we recognise this it becomes possible to reconstruct events.
Bamber had developed an intense hatred of his family, in particular his ultra-strict mother. A few months earlier, as he would later admit to the police, he and Julie had burgled a caravan site the family owned, stealing £970 and making it look like an outside job.
For Bamber, however, this was only a beginning. He wanted the family fortune and devised a calculated scheme to get it. It involved killing not only his parents and his sister, but also the twins, who would otherwise inherit half the estate.
On the evening of the murders, he drove home from the farmhouse at around 10pm to his small cottage nearby in Goldhanger village. He returned on his mother’s bicycle. The first thing he did on entering the house was to take the kitchen phone off the hook. By doing this he disabled every phone in the house.
He would already have put on some kind of protective clothing, in all probability a wetsuit. If he showered in it afterwards, there would be no danger of his clothes being spattered with tell-tale bloodstains.
Taking his father’s rifle, whose ten-bullet magazine he had loaded earlier that evening, he crept upstairs. It seems almost certain that he shot the children first. He then crossed the landing to his parents’ bedroom.
This was where his plan began to go awry. Nevill, who had earlier confided in Barbara Wilson, the farm secretary, that he suspected Jeremy was planning to kill him, was woken by the noise. He would have tried to call the police from the bedside phone, then realised that a phone downstairs was off the hook.
So when Bamber came into the room, Nevill was at least partly ready for him. Although hit by four bullets, he avoided any lethal injury. Then, after Bamber wounded June, the gun clicked empty. Nevill seized the opportunity to go downstairs.
Bamber pursued him. At all costs, he had to stop his father reaching that phone and calling for help. There was no time to reload the gun. Instead Bamber, battered his father into unconsciousness with the rifle butt.
He then re-loaded, fired four bullets into Nevill’s face and head, and went back upstairs. Sheila had by now moved into her parents’ bedroom to tend to her wounded mother. Bamber shot June dead. Then came the really difficult task: shooting Sheila.
This time there had to be only one bullet, directed at such an angle that it would appear to be suicide. However, the bullet didn’t kill Sheila. He had to shoot her again — another potentially serious mistake.
To simulate a crazed attack he fired more bullets into the bodies of the twins. He then showered in his wetsuit and put clean clothes back on.
But he did have a major problem. What if investigators asked why Nevill or June hadn’t dialled 999 from the bedroom? And why Nevill’s body was in the kitchen? Bamber had to improvise. So he plugged the ivory bedroom phone into the kitchen socket — hastily hiding the kitchen phone under magazines.
For Bamber’s purposes, this would explain why Nevill was found downstairs. And it would provide an explanation as to what had happened to the phone everyone knew was usually next to Nevill’s bed.
There was still the anomaly of why the kitchen phone was not plugged into its usual socket — but Bamber thought he could argue it was not working. However, for quarter of a century, even though one police inquiry did address the issue, no one did unravel what had happened. If Bamber’s sister Sheila had killed her family in a psychotic episode before shooting herself, she would obviously not have re-arranged the telephones. That’s why the phone that moved is the final piece of evidence in the case for Bamber’s guilt.
There is, of course, one remaining question. Why did Bamber himself call the police? The answer is that this ensured they accepted his version of events. He primed them with the false information that Sheila was familiar with guns; he hid the fact that, because of her prescribed drugs, she had neither the strength nor co-ordination to re-load an automatic rifle, let alone defeat her 6ft 4in physically fit father in a fight.
At only 24 Bamber had not only committed one of the gravest crimes of modern times, but appeared at first to have got away with it, and chaos reigned as about 40 police officers went in and out of the house disturbing the crime scene.
But Bamber needed an audience who would recognise what he doubtless assumed was his genius in committing the perfect murder. The morning before the murders he had already told his girlfriend Julie that ‘It’s tonight or never’. He phoned her after carrying out the killings — very probably before phoning the police. In the following weeks, he imparted more details. At first Julie kept his secret, but eventually she did make a statement. This chimed with the police’s own suspicions and her evidence sealed Bamber’s fate at trial.
Bamber, however, still has all the cunning and ingenuity he displayed in his planning of the crime. Even after all these years, from inside a maximum security prison he has managed to construct a new credibility for himself, with his claims of innocence reaching an increasingly sympathetic audience.
There is, though, no hope left for him. Even if, somehow, the case were to be referred to appeal, and even if the convictions were quashed, it could still be sent back for re-trial. Although much evidence has been destroyed, much still survives and many witnesses are still alive.
At the original trial, there was a great deal of evidence, for example from Barbara Wilson, the farm secretary, which could not be given because it was hearsay. Today, that evidence would be admissible. Her testimony about what Nevill told her — that he believed Jeremy intended to kill him and had said: ‘I must never turn my back on that young man’ — would be disastrous for him.
There is also, now, the evidence from our solution to the telephone mystery. That would truly seal his fate.
I think Woffingden, Rose and Webster have a lot of explaining left to do.
I have been blogging and writing about the BFMS and international paedophile rings for a few years now. I am a survivor of the Staffordshire Pindown childrens home child abuse. I found out yesterday, to my horror, that I am listed on a website for convicted criminals, and that a fee can be paid to obtain personal details about myself. This is outrageous, as I have never in my life been arrested for any crime at all, let alone be convicted! I have come into contact with he police many times, all apart from a malicious attempt to blacken my name by falsely accusing me of sending a malicious email to a woman, which I blogged about last year which Stafford Police have told me to “draw a line” under (probably because MI5 were involved) all my dealings with the police have been as a VICTIM of crime! So unless the police are counting picking me up and taking me down to the police station for an illegal interrogation without legal representation or even a guardian present and a forced vaginal examination to discover why I had run away from home aged 13 as a criminal offence, then there is no way I should be on that list of criminals! Also, I have had all my social networking sites hacked, a website I use and contribute to called Mothers For Justice has also been hacked and my mobile phone was disabled, I was unable to make any calls from it, and I had to ring the service provider who gave me a number to ring, which immediately fixed the problem immediatly.
Some people may read this and wonder why I have added this personal statement to this blog posting about Bob Woffingden, but those who know about Illegal Malicious Vindictive Persecution will understand straight away what the connection is!