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Murderers Old And New In The News

Two murderers from the 1980s have been back in the news recently, while a man who committed a murder in 2018 has just been convicted.

If you are neither domiciled in the UK nor a crime buff, the name Jeremy Bamber may not be familiar to you, but in August 1985, Bamber slaughtered his entire family in a bid to get his hands on the family fortune, and he nearly got away with it.

His sister Sheila was a schizophrenic with a record of having suicidal thoughts if not of actual attempts. Bamber shot his parents, Sheila’s two sons – his nephews – and Sheila herself, staging the crime scene to look like a mass murder/suicide complete with a posed Bible. Then he cycled back to his own home and phoned the police, informing them his father had phoned him telling him Sheila had gone berserk.

The police met Bamber at the farm house and waited for back up. The officer in charge of the investigation considered it to be an open and shut case, probably because he was anxious to get back to the golf course. Junior officers and members of Bamber’s extended family were not so easily persuaded, and it was the investigations of the latter than led to the discovery of some quite damning evidence.

The White House Farm Murders were the subject of an excellent recent dramatisation by ITV, and are still currently on the ITV hub.

Bamber appealed his conviction in 1989, and again in 2002 on a referral by the Criminal Cases Review Commission which saw this august organisation go to extraordinary lengths to give him a further day in court. Originally, there was one ground of appeal, relating to supposedly new forensic evidence, but by the time it reached the Court Of Appeal, it had been expanded to 16 grounds. Lord Justice Kay and his two brother judges were not happy with this. Their judgment runs to 522 paragraphs, and dismisses Bamber’s application as totally without merit.

The ITV dramatisation does not cover this, ending with Bamber’s conviction; his post-conviction antics from behind the walls of a high security prison could easily fill another six episodes because, for some unfathomable reason, he has attracted a small army of not simply the usual demented women who are fascinated by monsters like him, but of a number of men who are clearly not attracted to him sexually. Collectively they are known as bamberettes, and have not been shy about spreading the most absurd lies about the case. Thankfully though, there are a lot more people who know the truth, and they are not shy about spreading it. They can be found at the Miscarriage Of Justice Forum.

On the other side of the Atlantic, a different kind of murderer was convicted Thursday in a capital case, and will, hopefully, be sentenced to death next week. Anthony Pardon is clearly of low intelligence and just as clearly a lowlife.

As a juvenile, Pardon was convicted of raping a 9 month old child. Even bearing in mind both his age and the very broad definition of rape used in some states (penetration however slight), a conviction of that nature should have seen him put away for a long time, but two years later he was convicted of the attempted murder and rape of an adult woman. That saw him spend the next 25 years behind bars in Ohio; on his release he moved to Georgia where he ended up behind bars for a further 9 years for forgery and failing to register as a sex offender. On this release, he moved back to Ohio, and on January 28, 2018 he somehow effected entry into the Columbus home of the beautiful Rachael Anderson, pictured here with her murderer.

Rachael was stabbed and strangled to death on her twenty-fourth birthday after being hog-tied, gagged and raped. Then Pardon stole her bank card and, to avoid or minimise surveillance, duped a homeless man into making withdrawals from her account. It is likely Rachael was tortured until she revealed her card PIN.

Although Pardon’s obviously dull brain considered CCTV at cashpoint withdrawals, it appears not to have considered the evidence he left at the crime scene, including his DNA in the victim’s vagina. At trial, his sister testified against him, having taken part in the card fraud but being unaware of how he obtained the card. So did the homeless man, from beyond the grave. Although the 61 year old Anthony Sleet died before the trial, his questioning by the police was played to the jury.

Defending an obviously hopeless case, Pardon’s court-appointed attorney did the best he could for his client as obliged by law, but declined not only to put him on the stand but to call even a single witness.

When  the jury had reached its verdicts, Pardon was brought in in handcuffs, and after dealing in their absence with some questions asked by the jury, they were brought in.

The verdicts were delivered live on the Internet by the judge from 19.53 London time; it took him a full 10 minutes. Pardon was convicted on all 9 counts which included rape and robbery. The jury was discharged until Tuesday when the sentencing phase will begin.

If Anthony Pardon is deserving of the death penalty, a reasonable person might ask how Colin Pitchfork is deserving of parole. If the name is not familiar to you, Pitchfork holds a very special place in the annals of crime because he was the first murderer to be brought to book by DNA profiling. His story has been thoroughly documented in print and on film, including at least one dramatisation. Pitchfork raped and murdered not one teenage girl but two, and attacked at least two more.

In November 1983, Pitchfork raped and murdered 15 year old Lynda Mann. Two and a half years later, he raped and murdered another 15 year old girl, Dawn Ashworth. Then he sat back and allowed a none-too-bright teenager to be charged with Dawn’s murder after the kid confessed to it with little prompting.

Since capital punishment was abolished in the UK as in most other jurisdictions, there are only really two options for dealing with murderers. Either they have to be locked up for life, or parolled at some point. Under UK law, they are released on life licence under strict conditions. While the friends and family of victims are usually unhappy about it, it is only right that some convicted murderers are given a second chance, but there are limits, and whether or not he is considered to still be a danger, it beggars belief Pitchfork could ever be released, yet he has already been allowed out of prison on day release. Last month it was reported that he is to be assessed again by the Parole Board, whatever that means.

In 2017, the sister of Lynda Mann started a petition – one of at least three – to keep Pitchfork behind bars. It attracted nearly twelve thousand supporters. Perhaps it’s time to start another one, and this time to get a million signatures on it.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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