SHEILA Caffell was one of the five victims of the White House Farm murders in the village of Tolleshunt D’Arcy, Essex in 1985.
Her brother, Jeremy Bamber was convicted by a jury of her and four other family member’s murders and remains in prison today. But who was Sheila Caffell, was she schizophrenic – why is this a key part of the case, and who were her children?
Who was Sheila Caffell?
Sheila Caffell was a 28-year-old model and mum-of-two.
Adopted by June and Jeremy Bamber at the age of just three-months-old, she was the oldest sibling in the Bamber family.
A troublesome teen, Sheila was excluded from two schools before her parents suggested she try a different route and introduced her to a modelling agency.
Sheila forged a successful career as a model, but was plagued by rumours concerning drugs, illicit sex and diva-like tempers – particularly in her small home-village Tolleshunt D’Arcy.
Sheila suffered with mental health issues too, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Close to her death, Sheila had reportedly taken to “shrieking” at the neighbours, and was extremely distressed.
She also reportedly had delusions that her twin sons, aged just six, were trying to seduce and kill her.
Why was Sheila’s mental health significant in the case?
When police arrived at the White House Farm Sheila lay in the bedroom with two bullet wounds to the throat and a rifle across her body – leading the police officers to initially believe she’d killed her family then herself.
Her six-year-old twins Daniel and Nicholas were in the next room, both having been shot several times in the head.
Officers thought they knew the truth – Sheila, in a psychotic episode, had killed her family then herself.
Her mental health struggles were well-documented in the press over the following weeks – a model, whose marriage to husband Colin had broken down, she’d received treatment for paranoid schizophrenia and anorexia.
As well as taking anti-psychotic medicine, she was snorting cocaine – racking up drug debts of £40,000 – and sleeping with older men.
Her relationship with her adoptive parents had been strained and to the police, and the press it seemed logical she was the killer.
But it wasn’t long before cracks started to appear in their theories.
Detectives began to wonder if a slim woman who was fatigued from anti-psychotics could really overpower and kill her six-foot-four well-built father.
Her brother’s suspicous behaviour also had police re-thinking, for example at the funeral, Jeremy’s extended family said he’d cracked “smutty” jokes and gave a “chilling, big grin”.
He was eventually implicated by his girlfriend who told cops the truth – that he’d rung her on the night of the murders to say “it’s tonight or never” and that he’d been plotting to kill his family for 18 months.
Who were her children?
Twins, Daniel and Nicholas Caffell were also killed in the gruesome murders.
They were the sons of Sheila and her ex-partner, Colin Cafell.
The boys had been staying with their dad in North London, but were visiting their grandparents along with their mum at the time of their deaths.
They were brutally murdered in bed – with one of the boy’s bodies found still with his thumb in his mouth.
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