The Arrest

Crime Files

The Arrest

The Plot Thickens

The police thought they were dealing with four murders and one suicide. They had been aware of Shelia’s mental health problems and when Bamber had made out that his disturbed sister had gone crazy there seemed no reason to question his story. However, the young man’s cavalier behaviour soon began to arouse suspicion.

At the funeral nine days later, Bamber let his vanity betray him by admitting that his only worry was that the cameras should catch his best profile. He put on a tearful performance at the graveside but afterwards he went out for a meal with friends to celebrate, not thinking twice about how this would appear.

It was even noted that on the day of the killings the police had passed Bamber driving to the scene at a casual 30mph, hardly the actions of a distressed son concerned about his family.

Finally, when Bamber told his girlfriend, Julie Mugford, that he had hired a hitman for £2,000 she reported this comment to the police. Despite this throw-away comment, the evidence against Bamber remained circumstantial. Although Bamber's fingerprints had been found on the murder weapon, alongside those of Sheila, there was no other forensic evidence to link him to the killings, in large part due to the fact that police had allowed the crime scene to be cleared.

In the meantime Bamber enjoyed a life of luxury, spending his parents’ money and even going on holiday to Amsterdam. Although his behaviour was now being closely watched, Bamber appeared unaffected and detached from the traumatic events. His sister’s modelling photos were all he wanted as a keepsake, so he could offer them for sale.

Fleet Street turned him down but the likes of 'The Sun' publicly demonstrated its disdain by brandishing front-page headlines with ‘Bambi Brother In Photo Scandal’.

Despite the lack of evidence against him, the investigation unveiled a quandary with regard to the murder weapon. Without a silencer, the 25 shots that were fired would have made too much noise and would have alerted the victims to the danger. Yet if a silencer was attached to the weapon, it would have been too long for Sheila to have shot herself.

This startling realisation seemed to rule out the theory that Sheila had taken her own life, and therefore the possibility that she had been responsible for the other murders. Whoever committed the crime would have had to take the silencer off before they left the house after carrying out the killings.

It was David Boutflour, Bamber’s cousin, who found the silencer in a cupboard at the farm, still with traces of Sheila’s blood on it alongside a single grey hair.

However, before forensics could study the hair, it had been lost. What was now certain was that Sheila had not committed suicide but had been murdered. This confirmation meant that Bamber’s call to the police, saying that she was running amok, was a lie.

On 29 September 1985, Bamber was arrested and charged with murder.