Sunday, 27 September 2015

29th September, 30 years of Wrongful Imprisonment

I wanted to write about what it’s been like having now spent thirty complete years in jail. A total of 10958 days (Including 8 added leap year days) give or take a few hours (8) on 29th September, equalling 263 thousand hours of wrongful imprisonment.

Looking at it like that makes it seem such a long time. No doubt it’s at least a third of my life. It feels so painful at times to know that I’ve let my mum and dad down so badly. Dad especially would be disappointed in me for having failed to prove my innocence and therefore cleared their names too within thirty years. “Thirty years Jem, you’ve had thirty years mate to sort this lot out”, his voice is still clear in my mind.

I know people might think it odd that dad and I often called each other ‘Mate’, it was an in joke between us. This began in 1980. Both dad and I enjoyed the movies and from the age of 12 onwards we’d quite often go to the cinema together. Once I’d learnt to drive and had my own car we’d go to the cinema a little less often as I used to like taking a friend instead. Bringing your dad along if you were hoping for a kiss and a cuddle just wasn’t cool, even I knew that. It sounds so corny thinking back that my taking a young lady to the pictures might have led to something more than friendship, but I had no idea how to do this dating malarkey way back then.

Going back to dad and I, on our movie going days we would always catch the new James Bond film when that came out. We both loved Paul Newman and Robert Redford films and Clint Eastwood too. So anything that they were in we’d go to the cinema and see together.

Returning to 1980, the fact that we enjoyed the cinema so much meant that we would always try and watch the film review show on the BBC. It was hosted by Barry Norman and we nearly always agreed with his opinions on the latest film releases. If Barry really raved about a particular movie we’d both go to the cinema and watch it together, or when video films could be rented we’d get the film and watch it at home.

The movie review show was called ‘Film ’78’ or ’79 or whatever the year was the show
was on. So in 1980 it was called ‘Film 80’ and dad’s joke, silly as it seems, had us both in hysterics the first time he said it and giggling every week afterwards. Dad said dead pan as if he was being completely serious: “Jem, what are we doing watching this and why is Barry Norman presenting a programme about a bloke called Phil Matey? Don’t know about you but who is this Phil Matey fellow anyway?” I can recall looking at dad and thinking are you really that much of a fool or are you just making a silly joke, a play on words. I didn’t know as dad was poker faced with that quizzical look in his eyes, and he caught me, to which I answered, “It’s Film 80 dad!” and immediately I got it, Phil Matey, and we laughed so much and for so long that no sooner had the giggles subsided than one of us would say ‘Phil Matey’ and start again.

A day or two later we were at Doe’s, the agricultural suppliers, buying various spares and bits for the farm. The guy serving us turned to his colleague and said: “Do us a favour matey, can you get us such and such oil filters from the rack?” Dad turned to me and said “What do you reckon Jem, is his name Phil?” to which we both ended up in hysterics, made even funnier cos the guy who was serving us just stood and looked at us as if we were off our heads, with dad trying to pull it together, getting it under control and then saying “Where’s Phil with the oil filters?”, trying so hard to keep his face straight, failing and giggling again causing me to giggle. And so the cycle went on that is until we got back to the van. From then on we called each other ‘Matey’ which fairly quickly was shortened to ‘Mate’. Right up to the 6th August 1985 and my going home leaving dad to collect the last trailer of rape seed from the combine at 10:00pm and leave it for me to tip and process in the morning. My last words to dad when I left that evening were, “Thanks Mate, I’ll see you in the morning.” I said a “Good night” to mum and Sheila and off I went.

In a way, looking back now, I can see why dad’s call to me prompted my phone call to the police at 03:36am. The reason why I took his telephone call so seriously. I have always felt that it was because I’d tried to ring him back to find out more information and my getting the engaged signal each time I did so. Not being able to call dad back to speak to him may have been part of it, but subconsciously I’d have known it was serious due to him not using the term “Matey” during our short conversation.

Obviously this is not a point to be taken to the Appeal Court, it would mean nothing to them, but to dad and I our 'in' joke was important to both of us on so many levels. In order for me to clear all of our names, I’ve had to try to understand everything, including my own actions and motivations.

I do feel a bit of a “Larry let-down” for not being able to resolve this case until now. It’s in part due to the fact that corrupt former Essex Police officers who constructed a false case against me are now mostly deceased. There are a few who are still enjoying their retirement, who we appear to have evidence upon, that reveals them to be corrupt former Essex Police Officers in many ways. For instance, the CPS failed to take into account a report, dated 06.09.85 that was written by Detective Chief Superintendent Kenneally which stated:

                        “The evidence indicates that Sheila was responsible”

Clearly, Essex Police have not disclosed to the Defence or the CPS this extensive review and the supporting evidence, which resulted in the finding that Sheila carried out the shootings. The continued concealment of this report suggests that the corruption within Essex Police in the 1980’s remains endemic at the very highest level of their organisation today. If this was not so then the current Chief Constable would have disclosed DSI Kenneally’s report to us, and all the supporting evidence that showed that Sheila was responsible, as well as all the other material listed upon our petition for disclosure. 

There is a huge amount of corruption involved in the case. Just one example of the many hundreds we have, is how witness evidence was manipulated to change the whole meaning of what was told to the Police and the Enquiries. In 1991, my cousin David Boutflour wrote a hand written statement for the C.O.L.P. Enquiry. He stated:

“Thought made some states in August but appear mistaken”[1]

The typed version of the same statement said:

“Thought I may have made further statements but I may be mistaken”[2]

This evidence was manipulated to disguise the fact that David Boutflour made witness testimony before September, which has never been disclosed. There are a number of police documents making reference to many other witness statements, from a multitude of people, which apparently don’t exist.

Anyway “Matey” the truth is certainly now known by the CPS and the Defence and it will be in the Courts and the Public Arena very soon. I hope you and mum’s name will soon be cleared along with mine.

Are the senior Officers within Essex Police honest and true? That depends if they comply with the disclosure requests contained on our latest petition. Only time will tell. Thank you to everyone who has supported the petition for disclosure of all case documents including Human Rights Campaigner, Peter Tatchell. If you haven’t done so already please sign, as it will make all the difference in my continued fight for justice.


[1] 36.306 Handwritten David Boutflour Int notes cont (1) at Pg. 20
[2] 36.306 D Boutflour COLP Interview 19.7.91 Pg. 14

Jeremy Bamber

Jeremy Bamber
Innocent Jeremy Bamber