Murderer Jeremy Bamber loses bid to bring legal action over prison service refusal to downgrade him


White House Farm serial killer Jeremy Bamber, 59, LOSES High Court legal challenge after prison service refused to downgrade him from maximum security Category A status

Serial killer Jeremy Bamber has lost his latest bid to get himself downgraded from maximum security.

The 59-year-old, serving life for killing five of his relatives, was appealing against a prison service refusal to move him from Category A status.

He was found guilty of murdering his adoptive parents Nevill and June, both 61, his sister Sheila Caffell, 26, and her six-year-old twins Daniel and Nicholas at White House Farm, Essex, in August 1985.

Bamber had always protested his innocence and claimed Ms Caffell, who suffered from schizophrenia, shot her family before turning the gun on herself.

Jeremy Bamber, 59, seen outside court where he was convicted killing five family relatives

He had been pursuing a High Court challenge over the decision taken in March by the director of the long-term and high security estate – part of the prisons and probation service – not to downgrade him from a Category A prisoner, or to direct that an oral hearing on the issue take place.

Category A prisoners are considered the most dangerous to the public and held in maximum security conditions.

At a remote hearing in October, lawyers for Bamber asked Mr Justice Julian Knowles to grant permission for a full hearing of Bamber’s challenge, arguing that the decision was ‘unreasonable’. 

In written documents before the court, Bamber’s barrister Matthew Stanbury said an independent psychologist’s report, commissioned by Bamber’s solicitors, concluded he had met the test for downgrading a Category A prisoner and that these conditions were ‘no longer necessary’ for managing him. 

He argued the decision not to downgrade Bamber from Category A was ‘unreasonable’ as it ‘substantially misrepresented’ the opinion given by the independent psychologist. 

He also said that ‘fairness required an oral hearing’ over whether Bamber should be downgraded, for reasons including the fact that he ‘has served 35 years without ever having an oral hearing, and the passage of time means that a risk assessment is more difficult without a face-to-face assessment’.

The Ministry of Justice was opposing Bamber’s action and today’s challenge was the latest action in his long-running attempt to clear his name.

He had an appeal against his convictions dismissed by the Court of Appeal in 2002, and also had a High Court challenge to the Criminal Cases Review Commission’s (CCRC) refusal to refer his case for another appeal rejected in 2012.

Bamber is in the process of pursuing a fresh application to the CCRC. 

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