It was the 25th of February, 2016, when the employer of 52-year-old HMRC and Treasury official, Paul Jefferies, asked police in Mayfield, High Weald of East Sussex, England, to conduct a welfare check. He had not shown up to work for a couple of days and all attempts to contact him were going unanswered.
Paul had worked at HMRC for around twenty years and had been instrumental in shaping government policy on tax and financial issues. He had previously lived in London but much preferred the slow pace life in Mayfield. Most days, Paul went to work, came home and he rarely deviated from this. He was said to be somewhat reclusive, opting to spend more time alone than with others.1
Police arrived at the Grade II-listed cottage that Paul owned in Coggins Mill Lane. Inside, they were met by a scene of unspeakable horror. The kitchen was spattered with blood and Paul’s body was found on the floor. He had a tea towel concealing his face. He had suffered over 40 injuries which included stab wounds and abrasions caused by heavy objects, including a candlestick. He had a slashed throat and a partially-severed thumb.
The attack was sustained and spanned several rooms in the home, including the bedroom and lounge. There was broken glass found in Paul’s bed and a large horizontal cut on a pillow case. There was blood found on four knives from a kitchen knife block, the handle of a knife sharpening steel and a marble rolling pin.2
The following month, there was a breakthrough in the case when police arrested 17-year-old Ben Bamford and charged him with the murder of Paul.
An investigation would uncover that Bamford and Paul had met a couple of times previously after meeting on the dating app, Grindr, back in 2014, when Bamford was just 15-years-old. The two lost contact and then met once more through Grindr back in December of 2015. Paul and Bamford made plans to meet up, but unbeknownst to Paul, Bamford had been abusing drugs and had received text messages from his drug dealer whom he owed money to. In total, Bamford owed around £400.
On the day of the murder, Bamford had received a text message from his drug dealer, Glen, which read: “I’m not happy. On my boy’s life, I will see you today.” In another, Glen accused Bamford of “treating me like a mug.” Bamford responded: “I will get it to you. Don’t worry.”3
An examination of Bamford’s mobile phone uncovered that between 9:34PM and 10:57PM, Bamford was connected to Paul’s Wifi. During the savage attack on Paul, Bamford had sustained an injury and then fled from Paul’s home in his grey Audi TT. Paul’s neighbour had reported hearing the wheels of the car spinning on gravel as Bamford made his quick getaway.
Afterwards, Bamford and his friends went to hospital for the injury sustained during Paul’s murder. While there, his friends snapped a photographs of him smirking. He had blood on his face, hands and arms and he was giving the middle finger. He told the hospital staff that he had caused the injuries himself while self-harming.4
Then on the 27th of February, his mother took him to the Eastbourne Police Station where he claimed that he had been involved in a fight in Mayfield. During an argument at home about the cause of the injuries, Bamford had exclaimed: “I think the man is dead. I stabbed him!” At the police station, he confessed to killing Paul but denied that he had murdered him.
Bam Bamford stood trial later that year. During opening statements, Prosecutor Jeremy Carter-Manning said: “There is no dispute who killed Mr. Jefferies. Your focus will be on what was in the defendants mind at the time these events happened.”
The defence, on the other hand, would be putting forward the suggestion that the murder was self-defence. Bamford was claiming that Paul had forced himself on him and that he acted in self-defence. He stated: “He did things to me, so I stabbed him.”
Bamford said that they had gone to the bedroom and had sex but when he told Paul to stop, he didn’t. He carried on until Bamford said he needed the toilet.
According to Bamford, he went downstairs to get away but found that the door had been locked. He went back upstairs to get his clothes and his phone, but before doing so, he said that he had grabbed a knife from the kitchen. He then said he went upstairs, and a fight ensued. He denied that he had planned on killing Paul and did not think to call 999.5
Bamford said that he had gone to Paul’s home that day in the hopes that he would just give him money, which he had done so in the past. According to the prosecution, however, he had gone over with the intention of killing Paul and then robbing him.
Detective Chief Inspector Tanya Jones stating: “This was a horrific attack by a teenage boy who preyed on his victim with the aim of exploiting him for money. The level of violence he inflicted on Paul Jefferies was extreme and then he fled the scene in his victim’s car. He showed no remorse, smirking for a selfie photo just hours later.”
Ben Bamford would be found guilty of the murder of Paul Jefferies in November of 2016. He would be sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 16 years.
- The Argus, 31 July, 2016 – “Identity of Teen Murder Suspect Accused of Killing Advisor to George Osborne Revealed”
- The Argus, 9 November, 2016 – “Tax Advisor to Chancellor Murdered by Teenager He Met on Grindr”
- Daily Post, 23 November, 2016 – “Smirking Killer Posed for Selfie After Murder”
- International Business Times, 22 November, 2016 – “Sussex Teenager Found Guilty of Gruesome Murder”
- Kent & Sussex Courier, 30 November, 2016 – “Teenager Jailed for 16 Years”