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Bad Blood - Transcript

PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT: Monday, 17 October , 2011

CAROLINE JONES: Hello, I'm Caroline Jones. Tonight - the notorious case of Jeffrey Gilham, in jail
for life for the brutal and frenzied murders of his own parents. Gilham's uncle Tony Gilham
campaigned for more than a decade to put his nephew behind bars - and he remains convinced that
justice has been served. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Gilham's appeal against both his conviction and his
sentence will be heard next month. Tonight we hear from both sides of this divided family, with
Jeffrey Gilham's wife and supporters speaking publicly for the first time.

(Excerpt from ABC News report, March 2009)

NEWSREADER: His uncle called him a psychopath. The judge called him cunning and evil. Today,
fifteen years after he killed his parents and brother in their southern Sydney home, Jeffrey Gilham
was sentenced to life behind bars.

REPORTER (calling to Gilham as he is handcuffed and put in a van): Are you sorry for killing your
parents, Mr Gilham? Do you have any final words?

(End of excerpt)

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: I think that the public perception of Jeff, because he's been convicted of
killing his parents is, that he's a diabolical individual. The reality is that that's just
completely wrong. He's a loving, caring husband, a loving, caring father, and you couldn't get
somebody who'd further from being a psychopath than Jeff.

(Excerpts from ABC News reports)

JUANITA PHILLIPS, NEWSREADER (21 March 2007): Helen and Stephen Gilham and their other son
Christopher were stabbed to death in 1993.

LIV CASBEN, REPORTER (28 Nov, 2008): Gilham admitted he killed his brother but said he did it
because Christopher had murdered his parents.

POLICEMAN (from footage of police walk-through): And is this the knife that you stabbed your
brother with?


LIV CASBEN, REPORTER: But Gilham's lies began to unravel when his uncle Tony Gilham began to
suspect him.

(End of excerpt)

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: Jeffrey fooled everybody for three years. It wasn't till '96 when I became
suspicious of him. I have no doubt that he pre-meditated the murder of his entire family and he's
still, he's still fooling some people even to this day. But he's- he is the true murderer.

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: I've never had a doubt about his innocence. Oh, look, I fully expect people
would think that I would be blinded by love. I'm the wife. Um, have I ever had a doubt? No, I
haven't had a doubt. Jeff and I got married in 2000. We have three beautiful children. Our family
life was fantastic. I couldn't have wanted for anything else. (crying) I've lived with Jeff for ten
years. He's a completely passive person. I have slept next to him. He's never had a nightmare. He's
never woken in fear. I think Jeff was really horrified at himself for having killed Christopher. I
think he was really frightened by the fact that he could do this to another individual. It's not
something he would ever think, now, possible. Neither of us would think it would be possible that
he could do this. He deals with it by just shutting it out. I don't think he remembers actually
killing Christopher. I met Jeff at uni. We were both studying civil engineering. I had a boyfriend
at the time. Jeff had a girlfriend at that time, too, and we were mates. He was good fun. He's got
a fantastic sense of humour. He's got so much to give and in fact he's got a really, really wide
circle of friends who all believe in him very, very much.

AARON LE CLERC, FRIEND: I'm one of Jeff's oldest friends. I met Jeff in 1981 and I went right
through sixth class at primary school and high school with him. Jeff's always been a good friend,
very much a, loyal friend. He's very sociable, uh, enjoys his family immensely and is a very hard
worker too. I spent a lot of time with the Gilham family as a child. I used to have sleepovers at
their house and I used to go on holidays with them. Stephen Gilham worked for the RTA and he was
involved in the traffic counting, and Helen Gilham was a nurse. I always remember the family being
very loving. Jeff's dad was very much like Jeff. He was very sociable and enjoyed a good time with
friends. Mrs Gilham, Helen, was quite a serious lady and very much was the one that was responsible
for looking after the boys when they were younger, and used to keep us all on a tight rein when,
when we were younger. But she also was good fun to be around and enjoyed a laugh.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: Well living in Brisbane I didn't get to see them that often but when I did,
they seemed perfectly normal - no, no drama whatsoever.

AARON LE CLERC, FRIEND: Jeff and Steve got on really well. Jeff was very interested in sailing. In
fact he won a lot of championships and that was his main goal right through high school and
university, was his sailing competition. Every weekend Steve would be out sailing with Jeff,
helping him get the boat ready. Also during the week they'd do maintenance together on the boat.
And Christopher used to always be there, just tagging along. As a boy, I just remember Chris being
quite aloof, quiet, withdrawn. And as he grew older, that seemed to be the case also. I never saw
him with a friend or at the family home. He used to follow us around a lot - and I'm talking around
the ages of, you know, twelve to fifteen. Chris tended to be more interested in music and spent a
lot of time on the piano, and also played the trombone and was also involved in fencing. He spent a
lot of time on his computers, used to play Dungeons & Dragons and be very keen on the computers
when computers weren't very popular - back in the late 80s and early 90s.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: I saw no conflict or anything but I found Jeffrey was a bit ah aloof, whereas
Christopher was more friendly and more communicative than- than Jeffrey.

WAYNE NOLAN, FRIEND: Jeff and I have been close friends since high school. He was pretty much good
for a laugh and practical jokes and stuff like that. Yeah, always there for you, type of thing, and
a good mate in general. As far as Jeff is concerned, with his parents and Chris, I've never seen
any type of animosity or bad blood between any of them. The last time I saw Jeff before the murders
was the night before, just a few hours earlier. We'd gone to Cronulla Beach to have a walk along
the beach and to also check out the waves because we were planning to go surfing the next day. Two
or three weeks before the murders, Jeff had told me that Chris was acting a bit strange, a bit out
of character and "going off at the drop of a hat", were Jeff's words. And on the night before when
Jeff and I were walking along Cronulla Beach, he'd said it again, that Chris had been acting
strange and it had got to the push and shove stage with his father, which he couldn't believe this
was coming from Chris. And it was more like, "Can you believe this is actually happening?" And, not
that we laughed it off but it was like, 'Gee, it's really, you know, a strange thing for Chris to
be doing.'

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: Wayne asked Jeff if he wanted to come over and watch a video and Jeff said,
"No." He wanted to get home to make sure he was at home when Steve got home from the golf club
because he was concerned that there'd been issues between Steve and Chris. When Jeff got home his
girlfriend was there and I think Jeff had his dinner at the point and played a game of pool. As
Jeff was saying good night to his girlfriend, he again mentioned to her his concerns about
Christopher. It seems as though there'd been some problems in the family, particularly on that day
- or certainly that week. I don't know the order of things that happened after that but Jeff says
that he and his dad watched the football, and at some point in there they siphoned petrol. We know
that the next day Steve was going to play golf. We know that the next night Jeff had plans to go to
his girlfriend's house, so they may have been boating on Sunday and this was the last chance that
Jeff and Steve had together to siphon petrol to get organised for whatever they were doing on
Sunday. He says he watched a bit more telly after the football and then had a shower and went to
bed, - down to the boatshed, which was his room.

(Excerpt from Jeffrey Gilham's 000 call)


JEFFREY GILHAM (breathless): Mum called me, called me...

OPERATOR: Right...

JEFFREY GILHAM: He killed- killed them, I don't know why. Set them alight and...

(End of excerpt)

(Excerpt from ABC News, 28 August, 1993)

REPORTER: A Triple O call at 4:30 this morning brought three fire-fighting units to this home in
Sydney's south.

MAN AT THE SCENE: It wasn't until the fire was out that they realised that it was a bit more than
just a house fire.

JEFFREY GILHAM (crying): I can't believe it...

POLICEMAN: At this stage it would appear the bodies have suffered stab wounds.

(End of excerpt)

AARON LE CLERC, FRIEND: The first time that I heard that Christopher had murdered the parents and
then Jeff had killed Christopher, disbelief was my reaction to hearing that. I just couldn't
believe it. It was a great shock to know that his parents and Chris had died and it was a very
traumatic morning.

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: It was a horrible situation and people really just wanted to help Jeff and
reach out to him.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: My initial thought was that, you know, it can't be them. Um, I just couldn't- I
just didn't want to believe that, that it had actually happened.

(Excerpt from ABC News report 28 August, 1993)

REPORTER: This afternoon the dead couple's 23-year-old son accompanied detectives to the house.
Later, at Sutherland Police Station, he was charged with the murder of his brother.

(End of excerpt)

(Excerpt from police interview video, 28 August, 1993)

POLICE OFFICER: Did you kill your mother and father?


POLICE OFFICER: And your brother?

JEFFREY GILHAM: Yeah, I killed my brother.

POLICE OFFICER: You're saying your brother has killed your mother and father. And I'm just
wondering whether it's just a convenient ploy on your behalf to tell us that when in fact you've
killed the whole three of them.

JEFFREY GILHAM: I haven't ...

(End of excerpt)

AARON LE CLERC, FRIEND: Jeff had a very strong bond with his father. Stephen was the first person
murdered and I just find it unbelievable that Jeff would even do that to his father, um let alone
his mother. It's just unbelievable.

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: The Gilhams lived in a house on the Woronora River in Sydney's southern
suburbs. It was a nice home, but nothing flash. Jeff's bedroom was in the boatshed below the house.
His parents Steve and Helen had their bedroom on the top floor of the house and Christopher's
bedroom was on the lower level. Jeff says he was asleep in the boatshed and woke at around 4 am to
hear his mother screaming to him over the intercom that connected the boatshed to the main house.
And he then rushed up to the home and he could see his brother moving around his mother. At some
point Christopher looked up at Jeff and said, "I've just killed Mum and Dad". Jeff moved across the
room and Christopher set Jeff's mother on fire, and Jeff said the flame moved quickly. And then he
saw his father in the bedroom. It's unclear whether Steve was alight first but both the bodies had
been doused with mineral turps. Jeff says he saw a knife lying on the floor that Christopher had
used to kill Helen and Steve, and he picked it up, and he chased Chris. I believe he stabbed him
several times on the stairs and on the floor downstairs, and then he left the house to raise the

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: Well Jeffrey's story was the only version I heard and I naturally assumed it
was true. And it just shocked me that I'd seen Helen and Stephen only six months before and
everything seemed fine.

(Excerpt of 7 News, September 1993)

NEWSREADER: The Woronora crematorium was overflowing as hundreds of locals packed today's service.
Among the mourners, alleged killer Jeff Gilham.

(End of excerpt)

AARON LE CLERC, FRIEND: Jeff's uncle Tony has said that Jeff showed no emotion and was cold at the
funeral for his parents and his brother, Christopher. I was at the funeral. I believe he grieved
deeply for them all. I remember going up to Jeff and giving him a hug and letting him know that I
was there for him. And I just remember he was crying and tears streaming down his eyes, and he
couldn't even speak to me. He was just sobbing.

(Excerpt of 7 News cont)

NEWSREADER: Watched by police, an emotional Jeff Gilham sat through today's service surrounded by
family and friends.

(End of excerpt)

WAYNE NOLAN, FRIEND: He was handcuffed to a police officer at that stage so he could attend the
funeral, and the whole way through it - I was next to him. He was just in tears the whole time.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: To me he showed no emotion, no emotion whatsoever, whereas other members of the
family were in tears. But I put that down to maybe a bit of shock, you know? At that stage I, I
thought he was innocent.

WAYNE NOLAN, FRIEND: Jeff was at Long Bay Jail for about a month. He was a lot quieter but he was
coping. And I think it was still pretty, a raw nerve at that stage with him. And uh, he was just
more of a withdrawn type of fellow.

MARIE PATERSON, FAMILY FRIEND: I knew the Gilham family for over twenty-five years. Through my son
Greg and his friend Tony Landers, we were able to organise a solicitor and bail. Jeff came to live
at my home for about a year. I was never concerned about Jeff in my home. He'd been in and out of
my home for so long that he was family. Jeff, of course, was very quiet, very withdrawn and had
trouble sleeping. We were advised by his psychiatrist not to question him or to push him in any
way. The door was always open for sailing friends, school friends, university friends. They were
the ones who got him through this time. They were the ones who encouraged him after several months
to return to his studies.

AARON LE CLERC, FRIEND: To my mind he was just in a state of depression and uh, was just, I think,
struggling to come to terms with the life that was ahead of him.

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: Not very long after the tragedy, Jeff broke up with his girlfriend. We got
involved for a couple of months and he at that point in his life, he expected to go to prison for
Christopher's manslaughter and just couldn't imagine getting involved in a committed relationship.
There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that Christopher murdered both of his parents. Jeff's life
was going really well. He was at uni. He had a wide circle of friends. He enjoyed good sporting and
social relationships. He had a relationship. Everything was going well. Christopher's life wasn't.
He'd just broken up with his girlfriend. He'd completed a chemical engineering degree the year
before, in 1992, and he couldn't get a job. So Helen and Steve, I understand they were fairly
pushy, and they encouraged Christopher to go back and study teaching. On all accounts, he was not

MARIE PATERSON, FAMILY FRIEND: Helen was very concerned about Christopher and she did ask me would
I speak to him. Because I was a teacher, he came and sought me out. He was not happy and didn't
really want to continue with his teaching. Chris was sad and disillusioned. I'm sure he felt 'Well,
here's another year that I've done as my parents have suggested and it's not working out'.

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: And he'd just not long before, he'd received a letter to tell him that even
if he completed a teaching degree, it didn't mean that he'd get a job.

SONYA NOLAN, FRIEND: There's a history of social awkwardness that's apparent throughout his life.
I've read a statement from one of Helen's friends who attended a lunch at the Gilham home in late
'92. This was about the time when the Menendez case in the States, where two brothers killed both
their parents, was high profile in the media. And Christopher made a really odd comment to his
parents that we should perhaps kill you and get your money. It was a really bizarre comment and the
person who heard it says it was passed off almost as a joke.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: I think Christopher said that as a joke but Jeffrey took it one step further.
And the way that Jeffrey was telling his friends that Christopher was fighting with his father and
more or less setting, setting Christopher up shows the pre-meditation of the- of the murders. And
Christopher is totally innocent of it.

MARIE PATERSON, FAMILY FRIEND: Chris and Steve were not getting along. I had another mutual friend
call there one day and he had overheard an argument, which of course ceased once he got to the
door. Um, no, they, they weren't happy. But I think it was because Steve would expect Chris, now
that he'd started on a teaching degree, that he should finish it. There was certainly tension
around that period. A neighbour reports having seen some sort of altercation between Christopher
and Steve. And on the Thursday before the murders Jeff's mother Helen left work two hours early.
She was concerned about one of her sons being at home alone with her husband Stephen because there
was problems between the two of them.

SONYA NOLAN, FRIEND: She didn't identify which son it was at that time but we now know that
Christopher was scheduled to be at home that particular afternoon and Jeff was attending a lecture.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: That doesn't mean to say he's going to go out and ah butcher his parents for
it. It's just um ridiculous. There's no... no logic in that at all.

(Excerpt of ABC News, 7 April 1995)

NEWSREADER: Jeffrey Gilham pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his brother in a state of acute
psychosis after his brother had killed their parents and set fire to their bodies...

REPORTER: Mr Gilham, are you pleased with the result today?

LAWYER: I'm afraid Mr Gilham can't comment.

(End of excerpt)

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: In April 1995, Jeff pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Christopher and was
placed on a five-year good behaviour bond. Two months later there was a coronial inquest into the
deaths of Stephen and Helen Gilham. The coroner found that Stephen and Helen had died at the hand
of Christopher. At the time, all of Jeff's family supported him - Helen's family, the Callisters,
and Steve's family, the Gilhams.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: We were totally supporting him. Ah we, we hadn't heard- at that point in time
hadn't heard any other evidence pointing towards him as the true murderer.

SONYA NOLAN, FRIEND: Once that hearing was out of the way, then it was possible to discuss the
estate. And that's when things started to change for the Gilham family. Jeff's early advice from
his solicitor was that he was entitled to only fifty per cent of the estate and Jeff's grandparents
would be entitled to the other fifty per cent. Helen's parents decided that they wanted Jeff to
have the estate. Jeff's paternal grandfather decided the same thing. Jeff's nanna, Jessie Gilham,
decided she wanted her share. Tony Gilham, who is Steve's half-brother, then became involved and he
was acting on behalf of his mother, Jessie Gilham. But then Jeff obtained further legal advice that
he was in fact entitled to the whole estate. However, when the paperwork went out to all of the
grandparents to be signed, Jessie Gilham refused to sign. And it's a matter of record that Tony
Gilham encouraged her not to sign it.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: My mother rang me a number of times in Brisbane saying how distressed she was
over Jeffrey trying to get her to sign her entitlements back to him. That's when the red light went
off and I started thinking, 'Well he's really after money'. And that's when I decided to go back to
Sydney. What brought Jeffrey undone was his greed. I was compelled to go to the detective who was
in charge of the case and I said, "Look, I've got my suspicions about Jeffrey." And he said that,
"Oh we believe he murdered all three of them." And I said a few swear words, which I can't repeat
here. I said, "You've got to be kidding." He proceeded to tell me very powerful pieces of evidence
like all three victims had similar stab wounds, his mother's blood on his leg. I said, "This is
unbelievable." I said, um, I said, "Why didn't you charge him?" He said, "Oh well the DPP refused
to charge." And I said, "Oh, I'll sort that out." It was obvious to me that Jeffrey's story did not
add up at all. I rang him and wanted him to have a meeting with myself and my other brother. And he

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: For Jeff, that would have been like someone off the street. He wasn't close
to them, and Jeff had no reason to want to talk to them about distressing events that he hadn't
discussed with his closest of friends.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: But in all these years he's never rang up, never rang me up and said, "Listen,
mad uncle Tony, um, let's have a talk about it. I'm innocent." Well, that's what I'd do if I was
innocent, and he ain't innocent.

CAPTION: next week

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: Two brothers didn't go into a homicidal frenzy on the same night. One brother
had a homicidal frenzy.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: I find it unbelievable that two brothers could murder in such a similar way.
Impossible. The DPP refused to prosecute. I did go a little bit... crazy.

(Excerpt from ABC News)

JUANITA PHILLIPS, NEWS READER: A man who killed his brother will now have to stand trial for the
murder of his parents...

(End of excerpt)

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: I said there'd been a dreadful mistake and Daddy wouldn't be coming home for
a long time.

JILL GATLAND, FRIEND: So we set up a support group.

TONY GILHAM, UNCLE: I think Jeffrey's support group are completely delusional.

ROBECCA GILHAM, WIFE: He's my life partner. It's completely devastating.