It is possible to have some sympathy for people convicted of serious crimes, even murder. Others can be pitied, but some are simply pure evil and deserve no sympathy, pity or compassion. Jeremy Nevill Bamber is one such murderer. Bamber didn't kill on the spur of the moment, out of anger, revenge or any such motive. He wasn't high on drugs, he wasn't even driven by a voice in his head as Hannah Bonser
claimed. He killed purely for material gain, five people, all members of his own family, and then tried to blame the murders on one of the victims.
Bamber is one of a small number of prisoners who have been given a whole life tariff. He has had his day in court with an appeal, and then a second appeal on a referral by the CCRC
which went to extraordinary lengths to give him every opportunity to demonstrate he had been wrongfully convicted. He failed. Last year, one of his most loyal supporters deserted him. Crime writer Bob Woffinden is a well-meaning though somewhat gullible individual, but reinvestigating the murders at White House Farm, he claims to have discovered compelling new evidence
that Bamber did indeed commit this terrible crime. The bottom line is if Bob Woffinden thinks you're guilty, you might as well give up.
There is no sign that Bamber is prepared to do that, but for the moment his facile claims of innocence have taken a back seat to an attempt to overturn his whole life tariff, and somehow his lawyers have managed to persuade the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights to hear his case, on November 28
. The case of Peter Moore will also be heard by the Grand Chamber.
In a four month period, Moore stabbed four men to death
, apparently for fun.
It is of course a terrible thing to lock up a man for the rest of his life with no hope of release, but what is the alternative for men like Bamber? He may have spent half his life behind bars now, but so have far less odious individuals. Mumia Abu-Jamal has spent the past thirty years behind bars for committing one murder
; much of that time he was on death row. Troy Davis
spent more than twenty years behind bars before being executed, again for one murder. On balance, Bamber should consider himself lucky, especially as he is being held at Full Sutton, the same high security prison where Michael Stone
is being held, a man who has been behind bars since 1997, and who unlike him is almost certainly innocent.