On the surface, Jeremy Bamber seemed to be a charming young man, handsome, suave and trying to make his way in the world.
But a mass killer lurked just below the surface and aged just 24 he slaughted his adopted parents, adopted sister and her two young twin sons.
Bamber then wove a complex web of lies to hide his guilt and tried to pin the blame on his sister, Sheila, who suffered from mental health issues.
The serial murderer was even the one who phoned the police to report something amiss at his family’s home, White House Farm.
Bamber waited outside the farm through the night, along with police officers, who as dawn broke battered the door down to find a scene of horror inside.
A new drama, White House Farm, starring Freddie Fox and Cressida Bomas, will start on ITV tonight.
Bamber’s father, Nevill, was found gunned down in the kitchen. He had been shot eight times, six times to his head and face.
He had also been hit in the face with a heavy object and had black eyes, a broken noses and some of his teeth were broken.
The killer’s adopted mother, June, was found in her bedroom, covered in blood.
She was lying on the floor and had been shot seven times.
Bamber’s tiny nephews, Daniel and Nicholas, were dead in their beds. Daniel had been shot five times in the back of his head, while Nicholas had three gunshot wounds.
Finally, Sheila, a former model who went by the nickname, Bambi, was found on the floor of the master bedroom, close to her mother.
She had been shot twice under the chin and was holding the rifle.
From the very start of the police investigation into the gruesome deaths, Bamber painted a picture of his unwell sister, who seemed to have snapped and killed her family, including her two young sons.
Sheila had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and initially police unquestionally believed she was the one responsible.
Bamber, who lived in a cottage a few miles from the farm, told officers that his father, Nevill, had called him on the night of the murders and said Sheila had “gone beserk” with a gun.
He then claimed the line went dead.
After calling the local police station to report his dad’s concerns, Bamber drove over to the farm and waited for police to arrive.
At the funeral of his entire family, Bamber seemed beside himself with grief, sobbing throughout and having to be held up by his then girlfriend.
But later, at the wake, several relatives and friends claim he was smiling and joking and even referred to himself as “the boss now”.
Then, a month after the massacre, Bambers girlfriend, Julie Mugford, changed the statement she gave to police,
She told officers that he had told her he was planning to kill his family.
Julie claimed that he had said, before the murders, that he wanted to “get rid of them all” and had said his sister would make a good scapegoat.
On the night of the murders, Julie told police Bamber had called her and said it was “tonight or never”.
She then claims he called her between 3am and 3:30am on August 7 and said “everything is going well, something is wrong at the farm, I haven’t had any sleep all night… bye honey and I love you lots”.
Police arrested Bamber the day after his girlfriend changed his statements and he was charged with the five murders.
At his trial, the prosecution claimed his father had never made the call to Bamber, claiming his sister had “gone beserk” and that it was Bamber himself who had called his own home and left the phone off the hook.
Bamber’s trial started on October 3, 1986, and he claimed throughout that he was innocent.
His defence team insisted it was Sheila, not her brother, who had carried out the killings.
But 18 days later he was convicted of the mass killing and given a whole life sentence.
However, long before the murders, Bamber’s father had a chilling premonition about what he was capable of.
Nevill’s long-term assistant, Barbara Wilson, claims he told her, following a row with his son, ‘I must never turn my back on that young man’.
Bamber had two appeals against his conviction refused and a third, in 2002, found that he was guilty.
He still protests his innocence and his supporters are hoping he will be given leave to appeal again.
Bamber’s lawyer Mark Newby said: “The evidence strongly suggests the chain of events could not have been what the prosecution alleged.”
- White House Farm starts tonight on ITV at 9pm.