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In today’s episode, I am chatting to you about:
- How he met Jeremy
- About his relationship with Jeremy
- The issues with the HBO drama
- Why he now believes his best friend is guilty.
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The book that was pivotal to my research for this podcast – The White House Farm Murders, Carol Ann Lee [aff] - https://amzn.to/3e0Ew2f
Another book that was vital and is beautifully written – In Search of a Rainbows End, Colin Caffell [aff] - https://amzn.to/3fOM3DI
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In a later episode we will spend much time on Jeremy Bamber himself, attempting to dive into his character and background but today I thought I would publish something a little bit different.
Over the coming weeks you will get to hear from several people other than myself, hearing their views, expert opinions, or experience in the case. But all of these interviews fit into some aspect of the episode plan and are relevant to a particular aspect of the case.
But today’s interview is somewhat different because it didn’t fit into just one part of the case. And so today was as good a time as any to share it with you.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to chat with Brett Collins, Jeremy Bamber’s former best friend and someone who was still close to him in the aftermath of the murders.
And while not in the UK at the time of the incident itself, Brett had spent some time at White House Farm some months prior. And he returned to the UK just a few days after the murders having heard about what had happened to the Bamber family.
Due to his closeness to Bamber and his involvement in the actions of the prime suspect after the events, some question his credibility but there’s no doubt that he is an interesting source of information. After all he was with Jeremy when a number of the key events took place and is therefore a really useful source of information.
In the weeks and months following Bamber’s initial arrest, for which Brett was present, he championed his former friend. Even arranging Bamber’s legal representation. But in the end, even though it took years for him to change his opinion, Brett does now believe that Jeremy Bamber is guilty.
In the interview we talk about how he met Jeremy Bamber, his relationship with both Jeremy and Julie, his alibi for the murders, why this will probably be the last time he speaks out amongst other things.
It’s an interesting and extensive interview and I thank Brett for taking the time out to chat through these topics with me.
I want to quickly preface this by saying that Brett has a fairly strong accent and so I will pop a transcript of this episode on the website, just in case there are any issues with that or any gaps in the sound.
The interview has been edited, just to make it a bit more natural and consistent, enabling me to add any context that was needed.
Anyway, here’s the interview itself.
The interview started as all good interviews do with a brief introduction as to who Brett Collins is now but I’m going to leave that part out because he mentions his place of employment. And, given how notorious this case is, I think it’s best to hide that detail.
But what he did tell me is that he is now 67 years old and living on Waiheke Island in New Zealand.
And following brief discussion on how well New Zealand has handled the virus, we quickly got into the actual subject area.
Starting with a conversation on how he met Jeremy Bamber and what he thought about him.
I first met him in New Zealand. I was renting a flat below my house to an air steward who (something) in New Zealand and they both met in Hong Kong. Jeremy was coming to New Zealand with a diving course and they seemed to get on over a few days. So he invited Jeremy to stay in the flat, which I owned because he was doing international flights which meant he was going to be away for a few weeks. So I met Jeremy when he arrived in Aukland and I let him stay in the flat for about a month.
This was during the months that Jeremy spent travelling, as a young adult, paid for by his father in a bid to help Jeremy enjoy his youth before ultimately settling down. His parents had hoped that the trip would help Jeremy find himself, giving him the time and space to be who he wanted to be before eventually settling down on the farm, with a local girl.
Having initially spent time in Australia, Jeremy then moved to New Zealand where he met Brett.
Very charming, very intelligent, charming. He was like a friend that you hadn't seen for a while. He just had a great personality.
I found him to have almost a split personality, sometimes he could be a totally different person, like very loving and charming and then if he'd had a few drinks or smoked marijuana he could just turn into someone totally different. Quite aggressive and demanding from other people. He upset a lot of people, like friends of mine, in New Zealand but they didn't see both sides of him.
To that Brett recounted a story from years after their time in New Zealand, which he believes the more temperamental side of Bamber.
I went to a twenty-first birthday quite a wealthy family, everyone was dressed up beautifully and we were with Jeremy's girlfriend. It was her girlfriends birthday and Jeremy hated this girl because she kept telling Julie that Jeremy wasn't the man for her, he couldn't be trusted and even though one day he'd be a wealthy man. We're in there having a drink and she's standing there mouthing off and Jeremy turned and picked up her triple decker chocolate cream birthday cake in one hand and he stick it right in her face and her hair in front of everyone.
He wasn't drunk. He could turn sometimes and you could see a certain look in his eye which he looked like a different person. That wasn't a smiley big face, it was a cold, very cold stare. This was a really big cake, not a wee one, a really big cake and it was right on her head and she was all dressed up beautifully. I couldn't believe he'd done such a thing.
And yet despite feeling this way and despite claiming to have seen both sides of Jeremy, Brett clearly still grapples with disbelief at what ultimately unfolded.
Even on his worst day of his personality changes I never would think he would pull a trigger on a whole family like that, I think that he was capable of hiring a hitman, retired army people, that you can hire to do things like that and that's what I think he would have done.
Both young men who enjoyed a good night out, it didn’t take long for Jeremy and Brett to bond, quickly sharing details of their personal lives.
It turned out that the adoption was more, seemed to be more an option of convenience with him and the girl that was also adopted just to make it look like they were a happy family. But there was not a real lot of love, from what I gathered, between him and his parents.
As for Jeremy’s relationship with his family and what he told Brett about that, this is what Brett had to say.
I don't think they got on that well. He told me that she was, she had a major mental issue that she could like a split personality and be quite volatile at times to him and the family. And I don't think he had much, much to do with her or even like little children, he didn't seem to have an affection for little children like say you or I would have. He was more almost like a loner, like he didn't get involved.
And his sister's husband, he had no respect for him, he seemed to always when they were together, holding his hand out to get his parents to subsidise the way they were living. He called them deadbeat. I never actually met him so I just took it as gospel that he was just user.
I did meet his mother and father though.
I found his father to be a very stern man with no sense of humour at all. He took us fishing down the lake on the farm, full of trout, and we went fishing one afternoon and he just didn't seem to have that father-son bond at all. His mother was more just into religion and the church, she donated enormous§ amounts of money yearly to this little church. God knows where it went but you know, 25-35 thousand dollars a time.
They still allowed him to work. They called the farm and like everything that they owned, they called that the company. They had an accountant that used to give Jeremy wages or buy him a car. I think every year he got a new car. And a percentage of profit from the camping ground. I don't think they'd have let him in on all that if they were against what he was, what he stood for.
Sheila they bought her a beautiful, one of those mansion house apartments. I think it was Hampstead, I'm not sure, it's one of those good areas. A three bedroom, ground floor apartment which was worth a lot of money. It wasn't all renovated and it had very basic kind of opt-shop type furniture and she wasn't living the lavish, drug dealer lifestyle that people made out. I stayed there for a few nights and it was very, very basic and all her clothing was still there and it was all very, very basic clothing. Nothing flash that an ex-model would have had.
I didn't meet her. She may have been modelling way before I ever got to London I think. There was nothing in her house that would say she was actually modelling, it was all very basic clothing, very basic furniture but a beautiful house.
And apparently her parents owned a few of those.
They weren't just farmers, they quite a bit of money spread around other things.
I felt he did resent her as far as she got a share of what was going on and didn't do anything to help make money or help, he was obviously like putting in on the farm and different projects his father had. Jeremy was always used for those, she didn't actually have to do anything apart from have two little boys as grandchildren. He did resent her and he did resent his mother giving so much money away yearly to the church. He wasn't looked after as much as he should have been.
Jeremy and Brett quickly become good friends, spending a lot of time together and building a friendship that would endure until Jeremy’s conviction.
We did get on very well. Jeremy's actually bisexual and he could swing both ways depending on what mood he was in.
Originally there was more to our friendship when I first met him because I was bisexual also, and we just hit it off, way before I have met his girlfriend. His girlfriend and he weren't actually what you'd call monogamous friendship. He had several girls at the same time, that all thought that they were his girlfriend. He was quite different in his sexuality.
And in his view, it was unlikely that Jeremy’s parents knew about this because of his Jeremy’s mothers religious beliefs.
For those who grew up in the 90s and 00s like I did, the 1980s was a time of much social change, with progression being witnessed in a way that perhaps was never seen before.
The miner’s strike dominated much of the decade but the aids pandemic and a growing LGBTQ+ movement were also shining the spotlight on the contrasting beliefs that were now the foundation of society. With modern, forward thinking 80s youth now in contrast with the conservative (small c), traditional beliefs of older generations, it was often these social issues that families found themselves in the midst of huge disagreement.
Naturally, due to his closeness to Jeremy and his alleged behaviour himself after the murders, many have pointed the finger at Brett over the years, alleging that he was suspicious and needed to be considered in the case.
This was certainly a rabbit hole that I too fell into getting lost after in this theory after spotting an interesting reference in Ann Eaton’s statement, which seemed to suggest that there was a possibility that Brett HAD been in the country at the time of the murders.
QUOTE ‘there was a woman in Maldon with the same predicament as June and Nevill that the children would not conform. The boy had been in trouble for stealing and for possessing forged £10 notes. The daughter was on drugs…Whilst the girl had been babysitting she had given the baby one of the pills and the baby was only saved by the mother arriving home. This had been reported in the papers…The mother said that a friend of the children was coming to stay and that he was travelling from Greece before going to the Bamber’s. My father and I concluded that this man could be Brett Collins.’
However I was unable to substantiate this at all and in fact, my interview with Brett categorically cleared this up and I now have no doubt that this was thoroughly investigated, and that Brett Collins was not in the United Kingdom at the time of the murders. Later in the interview, he’ll tell you how that was verified by the police.
I was in Greece for a month. Santorini and Mykonos.
I was always wanted to go to that part of the world and I had several friends in New Zealand who’d been there and talked me into doing it and I said I’ll never afford to go away over there. But I owned a little house and after doing it up I put it on the market and it sold in about two weeks of it going on the market, so I thought I’ll go to Plan B and I’m going to live the winter here in New Zealand and I’m going to summer on that part of the world.
I came back just before, about two days before the funerals – (inaudible but he offered to come back for Jeremy for the funerals to show support – and Jeremy said yes)
What happened was. I was at the beach one day in Mykonos and at the little canteen sort of place where you get tall drinks and that at the beach. They had several newspapers and one of them was an English newspaper which I hadn’t seen for a long time and I picked it up and on the front page it had, Tolleshunt Darcy family massacre. And I read on and it was Jeremy’s family, which I couldn’t believe. I rang Jeremy and couldn’t get through and I rang again and I got through and I got Jeremy and I said I can’t believe what’s happened and he didn’t, he was sort of flustered and I said would you like me to come back for the funeral and just help you, be with you, and he said, yes please, come back.
Talking to him, on the phone, it wasn’t a clear conversation, I know he’s just been through hell but I don’t know who was in the room with him or what was going on but he just seemed short of breath and was trying to think clearly.
When I think back, he should have got an Academy Award for his acting.
Having returned to the UK, when he finally had the chance to catch up with Jeremy and to ask him what really happened, he found himself none the wiser.
I didn’t believe the thing about his sister owing money for drugs and a hitman doing it out of revenge. I thought that was absolute crap. I thought that someone had hired a professional to take kill so many people so quickly. All on the same night – or morning. I thought there was something went wrong. I said to Jeremy, what the hell happened? What’s going on? And he just looked me in the eyes and he said to me you would not believe what happened and he didn’t want to talk about it after that.
Over the years it has been a staple of the story that one of the reasons why Julie eventually turned-on Jeremy was because of his relationship with Brett but in his version of events Brett sees things entirely differently. At the time Jeremy was with Julie, Brett and Jeremy were nothing more than friends.
He believes that he and Julie had an amicable relationship and that if anything, it was Jeremy’s lack of commitment to her that ultimately saw their relationship end. And he was shocked by the information that she claimed to have because he wasn’t sure that Jeremy even trusted her that much and he based than on the amount of time he spent with them.
I don’t think that they were that close that he would tell her his darkest secret.
We went, several times, across to stay the weekend in Amsterdam. We and her got on together but she thought I think that she was going to marry him. I don’t know what he’d promised her but he did that with a few woman but he hated being lonely. Working on that farm all the time he didn’t get a lot of contact with the people he liked, they were party type, up people they were mainly people that just dug holes, you know on the farm. So, he hated being lonely but he tried to have a swing of girls that he could sort of pop into or go out with on his nights off.
That’s why she turned on him in the end, told the police that she’d thought he’d committed the murders because he’d told her that he was shooting animals or whatever and naming them mum and dad and making out that he was getting target practice.
But he did notice Julie being jealous of Jeremy, recalling one particular incident just prior to the funeral.
When I got there he said I need a suit, so I went out with him and he bought a Hugo Boss suit, quite an expensive one and Julie was in the room when we got back and I said to him you’re looking really white you might have to because sometimes he used to use tanning make-up if he was going out and I said to him, you might need to put some of your secret suntan on and she overheard that and thought we were having secret talks.
They were just kind of part-time whenever he wanted sex I gathered, she wasn’t, she hadn’t moved in. I don’t think he wanted her to move in because there were other girls that were coming and going.
He puts this down to her insecurity in the relationship, the fact that it was becoming increasingly clear that Jeremy was not as faithful as perhaps Julie had believed. And that she wanted him, regardless of hwat hse had to give up to have it.
She seemed to do what Jeremy wanted, almost like she didn’t want to lose him. Getting inheritance or whatever. She just seem to go with whatever his plan was.
But indefinitely is one thing, criminality is another and while Brett had seen and been involved in things with Jeremy himself but nothing to the extent of murder.
I did witness him buying marijuana and smuggling it back to England. I didn’t really smoke marijuana in those days but he seemed to love having it around and the best you could buy was to go to Amsterdam.
It wasn’t until he came to New Zealand that I learnt that he’d set up a deal up to import some heroin with a group of people I never knew but he lost £5000.
I knew nothing about it until when he was choosing when he was going to leave to go to Australia and that’s when he pulled the big bag of diamonds out. Old cut diamonds. He showed me this big bag that he’d collected from his old 95-year-old grandmother, had a big safe full of jewellery from the old days and he’d picked all the diamonds out of like the old tiaras and bracelets and things and that was his plan B if anything ever went wrong. He would be able to sell them.
He stole those.
She had rooms packed with antiques and stuff and she was so old that she would never really go in the safe to check on jewellery but he knew all the tricks.
He also knew about Jeremy and Julie’s famed burglary of the caravan site, something I failed to mention in our timeline episodes.
The Bamber family co-owned Osea caravan park with a number of the wider family and having taken an interest in it, Jeremy Bamber had been given shares. In the months before the murders, he and his cousin Ann Eaton had taken a more active role in the running of the park and had found themselves tasked with the management of a number of related park projects.
A few weeks before the murders the caravan park had been broken into with £800 having been stolen from the safe. And while it all seemed like a random break-in, Ann Eaton had her suspicions from the start.
For one, how did anyone know there would be money in there and two, despite the window having been broken, she noticed that items on the windowsill were undisturbed, making her question if the window had been used.
Eventually, when turning Jeremy in to the police, Julie admitted to her involvement.
He and Julie and had stolen a £1000 from one of the camping grounds, they owned two camping grounds, one was his sisters and one was hers like a hidy-hi camping ground and they also forged cheques, the two of them. Company cheques.
The cheque story is somewhat incorrect as this was actually something that Julie did on her own, reporting a friends chequebook as having been stolen in order to go on a free shopping spree. Back then cheques were used much more freely than they are now, and they used the stolen book to pay for a number of items. During her interview, Julie confessed to this crime, just as Jeremy did with the robbery.
For me, one of the main reasons why I wanted to speak to Brett is because of the time he spent with Jeremy Bamber in the weeks and months following the murder because he’s three greatest source of untapped information on exactly HOW Jeremy had been behaving. And naturally, he did have a lot to say.
The interview at times felt like a discussion with Brett’s inner monologue, with him a times seeming to believe in Bamber’s guilt without doubt and other times questioning if there was a third party involvement.
And so while he does seem to accept his friends guilt, there’s disbelief there in a way that seems entirely relatable. After all, he’d known Jeremy for a number of years at this point and having seen the best and worst of his friend, he still finds it hard to process.
And so the interview does seem to move between this internal struggle but for the most part his comments were reflective of a change in opinion and this was clearly seen in how he now reviews the time after the murders.
I don’t think Sheila was that, she wasn’t mental enough to kill two little boys like that and the mother and father. I don’t think she had the strength to hold the gun up to herself and do the final thing and shoot herself. And all the fighting and beating of the father, all the way from the top floor to the bottom floor and there was blood everywhere. I went in when they more or less tried to clean it up, when the police had been there, Jeremy and I went there and it was a real mess. They’d pulled all the blood soaked carpets and burnt them on the front lawn in a whole before they’d properly done tests, they’d destroyed a lot of evidence. But the things is I noticed with Jeremy, he was not in tears like he was at the funeral, it was a staged act when I look back on it, that he’d put on.
After the funerals he was back to normality and he could walk in the house where his parents and everyone were killed, he didn’t bat an eyelid. He just was wanting to look for all the hiding places where his father used to put money and work out what antiques were going to be taken to London to Christy’s I think it was.
A week after he wanted to sell the interest in the farm and he wanted to move to London. He wanted to live in the bright lights of London and not have anything to do with being stuck in the country with no life.
He asked me to help. He chose whatever he thought was valuable and shouldn’t be there because they didn’t have the alarm system. He asked me to help him take the big van and go to London with him and give them storage at Christy’s. I didn’t know anything about antiques to value, anything like that which they kind of intermated I intervened but I didn’t at all. It was all his plan. And he’d not talking about plans, they’d just come out of the blue. I didn’t expect that. So close to his parents being buried that he’d start gathering stuff and getting it ready to sell, so quickly.
Only a couple of weeks.
It’s interesting to me that numerous ‘murder for gain’ crimes always seem to reflect this aspect of the case, with the perpetrators seemingly unable to contain their glee over their large and sudden wealth. It’s an aspect of the case that inevitably led to the conviction of Sebastian Burns and Rafay, a criminal duo who murdered Rafay’s parents for the inheritance. Another case where someone thought their were too clever to be found out. And another case where the convicted protest their innocence.
And it was also a staple of the Menendez brothers, who also splurged money after their parents death.
As a side note, I believe there is a loose link between this and htat case, While the crime was much the same, it’s alleged that the brothers were inspired to commit the crime following a BBC documentary about a man who had killed his own father.
Interestingly, the Menendez lawyers were unable to find any evidence of this, but I think they’ve overlooked something. The murders took place in 1989, the same year that Jeremy Bamber first attempted to appeal his sentence, meaning that it was likely to have been in the media, particularly on the BBC. And so while it’s not entirely provable, it is something that I’ve wondered for some time.
But back to the story and Brett ponders the kind of money he seen Jeremy dealing with.
I never, ever saw him with a credit card. He had wads of cash and I think a lot of it was cash that he’d found in the farm and the safe in the office and the safe on the farm and there was secret compartments in the house that his father, you know £5000, £10,000 sort of hidden away.
I never, ever heard him talk about nude pictures of his sister. I never, ever heard him talk to the news about his sister to make money because he already had plenty of cash that was in accounts.
And he also paid for everything. The meals, the France trip and the get away to Amsterdam.
We did go to Amsterdam after the funerals, yeah we did. We took Julie with us and we stayed in the Hotel Europe it’s sort of on the edge of the canal. It’s really expensive. And he paid for everything.
We want out for lunch and dinner and a bit of sightseeing and I split up from them (inaudible) museum and the flower market. Just the usual sorts of things.
Talking of money, the situation relating to Sheila’s images had to be raised but Brett claimed to have no knowledge of the situation at all. To recap, Jeremy and Brett are said to have attempted to sell a number of images relating to Sheila, with her said to have been nude in several of them. But Brett doesn’t recall or deliberately denied any involvement.
Something that is at odds with the statements from the journalist who met with them.
To be honest, I never, ever saw any pictures of his sister or heard him speak about trying to make extra money selling things like that. I don’t think that sort of thing was on his mind at all.
He would have discussed it with me too.
Because he was telling me other things about the antiques that he’d discovered and what they were worth and how much money was hidden in the house by his father. He just wanted to get his hands on everything that was now his. But he never, ever talked about pictures of his sister and how he was going to sell them and I don’t think he was going down that track at all, to be honest.
Following the murders and just before Jeremy Bamber’s freedom ended abruptly, Jeremy Bamber offered to take Brett on a holiday to the South of France. In what Brett claims was a thank you.
He offered me a two-week holiday in the South of France for helping him load the van and sticking by him and being great through these murders. He felt really bad about it.
Also, when we went to Paris and down to Saint Tropez, we actually drove in Jeremy’s car. We left the flat, we went down to Dover, we got the ferry across to France and we drove to Paris and we drove all the way down, all the way down to Saint Tropez over a couple of weeks. That’s what really happened. We didn’t go over on a boat and catch a bus down, I don’t know what they made up but we actually weren’t in any rush because at that stage Jeremy didn’t know what was going to happen when he came back. We left out of the back door of the apartment because at the front there was heaps of newspapers camped out overnight, going through people’s rubbish and our rubbish and we just wanted to leave without any of that bother of having asked questions for the news.
Perhaps in the ignorance of the youth and with a want to have a good time, Brett had no qualms about the trip but since then he’s revisited the memories.
I think he, the more I’ve thought about it over the years and the more like, when went to the South of France he was just totally a different person. He was exhilaration like he was going to get a big windfall from inheritance and the new life he would be starting. He was a totally different person. There was no remorse about what had happened to them or he missed them or anything like that. He didn’t talk about them at all. They were gone.
We did go to Saint Tropez for two weeks and he never, ever talked about what had happened to his parents. He did talk about his inheritance, how it was going to be good to get rid of the farm and tidy everything up and finally have what he was due, inheritance.
And whilst he barely touched upon the crimes, he did excitedly chat about what awaited him when he returned home.
He talked about when he got back and he was quite excited to tidy the estate and never, ever having to work on that farm again. It would be put up for sale immediately and so would all the future and some of the other the other properties that he didn’t want to be involved with, the camping grounds and a couple of the mansions and towns in London.
The two men had a surprise when they arrived back in the UK to find a police party waiting for them and both were immediately taken in to waiting rooms. They questioned Brett too, wanting to know his story and what Jeremy had told him. And it was at this point that he was able to offer his alibi for the murders and to provide verifiable details.
What they wanted to know was what had he actually spoken about all that time down in the South of France and leading up to when I came from New Zealand to stay with him. They wanted to compile kind of a story of his behaviour, had he mentioned anything at all of his plans of murder and had he talked about his parents in a remorseful way while we were on holiday and had he wanted to confess with me and tell me this has gone wrong. They wanted some of that kind of thing. Then they wanted to know where I was during all this time and was there anyone who could speak up for me confirming that I was in Greece all that time and luckily because I’d been invited to go and stay in New York, this lady Lea was a high-profile lawyer from New York and her daughter who was with her. They’d invited me to come and stay with them in New York if I ever felt like coming over and I’d kept her business card and I gave that to the police, so that confirmed everything.
The thing is I had already had a plan from years ago about going to that part of the world and travelling around and my passport;s got a dual citizenship in it, so it means I can stay in London, England or go on the dole or whatever I wanted. So that gave me access to England. With the lady lawyer she'd leased the room in the boarding house right next to my one so we got to know each other going out for drinks her and I and her daughter to nightclubs and having a great time and even before this thing popped up. The murders. She'd given me the card in case I'd ever come to New York because we got on so well, that's plain and simple how it happened it wasn't an alibi at that stage.
Before the murders I hadn't spoken to him for a couple of weeks, because I was in Greece and there was no need to. Even though I'd left over half of my belongings, my clothes and stuff that I'd taken maybe for the winter if I was up that part of the world before when winter came. He said to me, just leave your stuff here in the spare room and when you come back you can just pick it up whenever and that's what has happened before I even went away to Greece.
Following his arrest, while Jeremy sat in Chelmsford police station facing hours upon hours of questioning, Brett and Jeremy’s new lover set out to find a lawyer for their friend.
A girlfriend of his, an elder sister, we rang around a lot of lawyers to see if there was anyone who would take it on because it was a high profile case for free because we had no money to pay for it expensive lawyers and we got one.
The lady that came with me and we found the lawyer for Jeremy. What turned out was that her younger sister was having an affair at the same time with Jeremy and she's the girl that was in London with us at his sister's flat when she'd died and been buried. She answered the phone one day and it was Julie ringing to talk to him and the mistress answered the phone and that's what set the whole thing for him.
About two weeks after this happening, the murders, she was about to get married to some guy she was engaged to but all that time she'd been having an affair with Jeremy. But they wanted to keep it from the press. So nobody actually knows about this until now.
I knew her through Jeremy and I knew her younger sister because she came and stayed with us in London in the townhouse.
She posed as Jeremy's sort of other girlfriend but it wasn't her it at all it was her younger sister and they all went to ground just so that they wouldn't bring any heat on the sister that who was getting married.
At this point Brett outlines the role the media played in this case, with both Anji and Julie Mugford both having been paid substantial sums of money for their version of the story. And Brett too was offered a fee.
When I was taken in for questioning with Jeremy, when we came back from the South of France together, and we were arrested at Dover. They let me go when they saw my passport and a lady who was a top lawyer from New York, who was my neighbour in Greece she vouched for me a hundred percent that I was in the country. The newspapers approached me when I was let out of the police station and wanted to know what was going on and I just said to them, I think Jeremy's being charged with the murders. So that set them all on me you know they were all offering me money and different things.
Eventually, he did speak with the media, but also recalled another occasion when the press tried or orchestrate a paid meeting between, he and Jeremy Bamber.
I have done. After Jeremy was found guilty, I went back to Australia where I bought, with a business partner, quite a large restaurant in Sydney and they contacted me and offered me a reasonable amount of money and flew me first class to London and two weeks paid in Earls Court in a nice hotel. And they wanted me to go to the trial and see how he felt, they were moving him around and I couldn't get to see him and find out how he was.
There was nothing negative in me at all at that point, it was just all support, he knew that I'd sourced a lawyer for him and I'd not done an article towards him, towards him being involved at that stage.
In the years since the murders there has always been one aspect of the case that bothered Brett – Jeremy’s lack of an alibi. And to this day, this sticks out to him as somewhat inconsistent with everything else we now know, but also strikes as something of arrogance.
He believed that they would find his sister guilty of the murders because that's what had been set up to make it look like. I think he felt he was in the clear like even though he never had an alibi on the night of it happening, he didn't seem to have an alibi or any argument about where he was.
But it seems quite funny that a guy that would go through all that planning wouldn't have an alibi, plan it right to the last detail you know.
He was a quite an intelligent guy, he may have had, if it was set up with a professional to do it. He was maybe assured of not needing an alibi because of the way it was going to be done. I can't explain that I find it unusual that a guy that's that intelligent that's gone through hiring and having done what was done I think it's quite unusual that he didn't have it fully worked out.
Arguably Jeremy had set himself up with the best alibi that he possibly could – the phone call – because if he did the murders, there was no way that he could have had a genuine and verifiable alibi. And creating one would have meant involving someone else, raising questions and risks over them turning on him.
Ultimately, the phone call was the alibi and if he is guilty, it was the only option he had.
As for the hitman theory, it is something that Brett has questioned over the years and it’s also something that others still ponder to this day. After all, it’s the story he initially told Julie, telling her that he’d paid a ‘mercenary’ friend, Matthew McDonnell, £2000 to commit the crime.
And while I have my concerns over the ‘alibi’ that police took for Matthew McDonnell, which will be a huge feature of a later episode, the money has only been one of the big concerns with this theory. Because nothing was ever found to suggest that he had paid someone £2000.00.
I've thought about that and the assumption I had was he may have promised a large payment for doing it when he got his inheritance, which was straightforward as there was no one else to get a share of after what had happened. I think he may have offered a large sum out of his settlement or on the other hand he may have knew there was a bit more money than I ever I saw. I'm not quite sure, I did think about that because it wouldn't be cheap to hire a hitman to kill so many people.
Thirty-five years later and there is still nothing to prove any part of this reason but perhaps it was easier for those to close to Jeremy to believe it was someone else, to keep that distance.
But Brett did have some interesting if unprovable information related to this theory. But again, it’s unproven and probably entirely unrelated.
I know he had some friends that owned a little restaurant called the Caribbean Cottage and they had a lot of contacts in Colchester. And that's a big army base for army people in retirement and that's where I think he'd find someone like that. A hitman.
Never heard that name but I'm not sure of the people owned the Caribbean Cottage near Colchester they were, I don't know what was up with them, back then they were in their 30s, a married couple but they just seemed a little bit dodgy so they may have something to do with it. I'm not sure what his name was.
I thought about that later and the police don't know anything about those people.
He used to be able to buy marijuana for them and cocaine. I did go out nightclubbing to Stringfellows at the time and the Gardens and several other night clubs and Jeremy was known at each place at the door, he didn't have to line up, he could just walk to the door and tap on the door or whatever and he'd be let straight in and the waitresses all seemed to know him. Cocaine would appear.
He had a kind of secret life after work. He'd drive all the way to London.
It’s interesting that Brett referenced the Caribbean Cottage because we know that Jeremy took Brett and Julie there for a meal following the funerals. In fact the owner of the Cottage is one of the only witnesses who contradicts the accepted narrative, as he reported that Jeremy did seem saddened and in grief whilst he was there.
But he also questioned whether the wider family might have been involved but again, it’s unproven and there is nothing of any evidential value to suggest that they were.
The only other person that I thought could have had something to do with it was a cousin that owned a nice big farm next to the, so the Grandmother had about a 300 acre farm. Jeremy had a big farm with his parents and the cousin had a big farm. I think they were called the Boutflour's or something like that.
They inherited everything because Jeremy was found guilty they got the lot.
But for Brett, it all comes back to Jeremy Bamber and he believes that Jeremy had a clear motivation for committing the murders.
The whole thing, I feel, was out of total greed. Total greed for money. Jeremy was very greedy when it come to money like the way he used to talk you know.
I do think he'd have been greedy enough to do that to his family.
He always seemed to have money. I never saw him say I've spent my last pound, he was never in that state. It was just ultimately greed like he'd always wanted a Porschure. He wanted to live to live in his own place like his sister in Central London. He definitely didn't want to be on that farm any more.
I did say to him you don't seem to be very upset anymore and he just said I've got to move on.
He was in the best from of mind when he wasn't pinned down to explaining things.
He did a couple of times actually mention that how upsetting his mother was, she was a real bitch and she spent all this money, how he would be better off if they weren't there, they were just wasting money and they're not looking after him at all like he should be. Like releasing some inheritance now. And I said to him, why do you need it now, you've got a beautiful little home that you own and you've got a brand new car every year, you've got a job and money and it just wasn't enough.
I've never had to deal with anyone on that level of greed in my life, never ever seen it. We always just made do with what we had or we worked harder to get a bit more but I never talked about the wealth of my parents or what I may receive. I would never think like that. That's a maniac thinking like that.
I didn't like the way he talked about his mother and father. I felt that it wasn't like he was (INAUDIBLE) his parents, he didn't talk about them in favour at all. I think he felt completely ripped off having to work so many hours, so many days a week and not get any benefit and I said to him, you've got a lovely little house that they've completely renovated and that's your home and you've got a brand new car every year and you've got money. What more do you want?
His saying, when I brought that up, he looked at me and he said to me a lot, meaning a lot more than just the house and the car.
Of course, I couldn’t conclude the interview without mentioning the recent TV drama and how it felt to watch Alfie Allen portray him. His view was much like others related to the case, that there was a lot of mis telling and a lot of filling in the gaps.
Quite a bit of stuff was made up. I watched that Game of Thrones actor playing myself and Jeremy. One of the clips was of him and I laying by a swimming pool and me massaging suntan oil into Jeremy which was a lot of bullshit, I never, ever stayed in a hotel like that with Jeremy. In the South of France, in Saint Tropez, we just rented a little cottage at the beach and when Jeremy and I met that multi-millionaire lady, it was in one of those clubs at the beach, that's where we actually met her. Not at a hotel and there was none of the massaging and sun tan oil, they made a lot of stuff up.
The conversation ended with a discussion over Jeremy now and his continued insistence that he is the victim of a miscarriage of justice.
I think he should just give up and take what the judge dished out. He's relying on trying to get a following of people for support and of course all those poor buggers don't know the real Jeremy and all they see is this charming ridiculous guy. They probably can't believe someone can be so greedy when it comes to assets and money. Now I think about it the judge hit the nail right on the head and I think Jeremy is where he should be.
As for his involvement, Brett no longer wants to talk about the case, preferring to be on his own with his memories and opinions.
This will be probably be my last interview to do with the Bamber case, even though it seems to go on and on and on. They've kept it alive all these years. It might came to an end after this year.
I've actually moved on from it now. In the beginning I just couldn't believe such a thing could happen when you've gone away on an innocent holiday and it turned out to almost ruin my time away. I've moved on from it. I'll never forgive him for what he did or what he instigated. I think it's a shocking thing to to do over money. I'd rather have no money than go through a thing like that. I could never forgive him for what he's done at all. I think he's where he should be.
And for him, it doesn’t matter if Bamber hired a hitman or committed the crimes himself, because as far as Brett is concerned, he’s equally responsible either way.
Hiring a hitman is instrumental to what's happened to those people, those lives. Whether he pulled the trigger or whether he hired someone to do it. He's guilty as the man that's done it.