Jeremy Bamber loses legal appeal to overturn his convictions for murdering five relatives

 

Killer Jeremy Bamber's latest legal action in his long-running battle to overturn his convictions for murdering five relatives 27 years ago was thrown out by High Court judges today.

Bamber, 51, wanted to challenge a refusal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the independent body which investigates possible miscarriages of justice, to refer his case back to the Court of Appeal to be looked at again.

Today's hearing followed the rejection by a single judge, who studied the case papers in private, of Bamber's application for permission to seek judicial review of the CCRC's decision.

His renewed application was refused today by Sir John Thomas, president of the Queen's Bench Division, and Mr Justice Globe.

Sir John, announcing the decision of the court, said that having looked at the approach taken by the CCRC in the case he could not see "any way" in which a challenge could be made to the decision reached.

Sir John said: "It seems to me that a challenge is impossible to mount."

Bamber, who is serving a whole-life term for the 1985 killings, has always protested his innocence and claims his schizophrenic sister, Sheila Caffell, shot her family before turning the gun on herself in a remote Essex farmhouse.

Announcing its decision in April, the CCRC said that, despite a lengthy and complex investigation, it "has not identified any evidence or legal argument that it considers capable of raising a real possibility that the Court of Appeal would quash the convictions".

Bamber and two other murderers are involved in a European court battle against their "whole-life" prison terms - which give prisoners no chance of release.

Lawyers are urging judges in Strasbourg to rule that UK law allowing the most dangerous offenders to be kept behind bars until they die breaches their human rights.

In a statement posted on his website, Bamber said: "It appears that the threshold for my case to be referred to the Court of Appeal is much higher than in most cases but that doesn't make me any less innocent.

"The law, it seems, simply does not apply if it assists me in proving that I am wrongly convicted."

PA