Born to a vicar’s daughter who had an affair with an army sargeant major, Jeremy Bamber was given up for adoption the same year he was born.
At six months old, Nevill and June Bamber became his adoptive parents and were determined their baby boy would want for nothing in life.
Former RAF pilot turned farmer, Nevill, and his wife, June, were successful and wealthy.
As well as the farmhouse, the also owned 300 acres of land, a caravan ite and a property in London.
June was also deeply religious and both their adopted children, Jeremy and his sister, Sheila, came to the family through the Church of England Children’s Society.
The couple were determined both their adopted children would have the best start in life and after attending St Nicholas Primary School, close to where they lived, they were privately educated.
Sheila, who was known as Bambi, and Jeremy were both sent to Maldon Court Preparatory School in Maldon Essex.
Then Sheila became a boarding pupil at Moira House Girls School in Eastbourne, Sussex, and Old Hall School in Hethersett, Norfolk.
Once she finished school, she attened secretarial college in London’s Swiss Cottage but by the age of 17, she was pregnant by Colin Caffell.
Her parents were furious and arranged an abortion and after a series of jobs, including working as a model, Sheila was pregnant again by 20.
She miscarried the baby and suffered a second miscarriage a few months later.
But in 1979 she gave birth to her twin boys, Daniel and Nicholas, although just a few months later, she and Colin had divorced.
Her brother’s life had been less tragic but Bamber had suffered abuse while he was at boarding school.
When he left Maldon Court Prep School, his parents sent him to Gresham’s School in Norfolk.
Bamber was said to be miserable and was brutally bullied by some of the other boys.
According to his friends, he was also the victim of sex abuse while he was a pupil at the school.
Close pal, Brett Collins, said: “When Jeremy was 11 he was sexually molested by older boys and that deeply affected him.”
Bamber left school with no qualifications but his father still financed a trip to Australia and New Zealand and a scuba diving course.
There have been claims while he was there he broke into a jewellery store and stole an expensive watch, which he then gave to a girlfriend back in the UK.
After his return to the UK, Bamber worked in restaurants and bars before his father persuaded him to come home and work on the farm.
Bamber is said to have resented the low pay he was given but lived rent-free in a cottage close to the family home, a car and was given shares in the business.
But then, on August 7, 1985, Bamber gunned down his whole family in cold blood and tried to pin the blame on the sister who he had murdered.
He concoctedan elaborate tale of madness, violence and threats – and for a time, the police believed the handsome and charming killer.
However, his boasts to his girlfriend of what he was planning to do and gaps in his story meant he was finally convicted of slaying his family and given a whole life sentence.
A new ITV drama, White House Farm, will look at the chilling events leading up to the brutal killings.
Bamber himself called police on the night of the murders and told officers that he had received a call from his father, who said Sheila had “gone beserk” with a gun.
He then claimed the line went dead.
After making the call Bamber drove over to the farm and waited for police to arrive.
He played the role of heartbroken son almost to perfection and at the funeral of his entire family, Bamber seemed beside himself with grief.
He sobbed uncontrollably and had 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, Bamber’s girlfriend, Julie Mugford, changed the statement she had given 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.
- White House Farm is on ITVat 9pm tonight.