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Prince Harry's ex Cressida Bonas takes on harrowing new TV role

Cressida stars as Sheila Caffell in White House Farm

Gemma Strong

Cressida Bonas is set to appear in a TV adaptation of the Bamber family murders. Prince Harry's former flame plays Sheila Caffell, the adoptive sister murdered by Jeremy Bamber. It is the talented actress' first major TV role. The 1985 killing of five members of the Bamber family is being depicted in a six-part ITV drama titled White House Farm, also starring Freddie Fox. The father of Sheila's six-year-old twin boys, who were also killed in the shocking tragedy, has acted as consultant for the series. The White House Farm murders shocked the nation, and police initially believed that 28-year-old Sheila, who had schizophrenia, had shot her parents, Nevill and June, and her own two children, before killing herself. Jeremy was eventually convicted of all five murders, however, although he continues to protest his innocence.

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Cressida Bonas has been cast as Sheila Caffell in White House Farm

Speaking to the Mirror about her harrowing role, Cressida, 30, admitted she was moved to tears during one heart-wrenching moment on set - when her character's husband Colin Caffell unknowingly waved goodbye to his sons for the very last time. "I remember everyone on set was really quiet during that filming," she said. "I was watching from a window as I wasn't in the scene. That moment really hit me, knowing what was to come. That really stayed with me - I got really emotional. Those are the moments when this story hits home. This is not fiction. It really happened."

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Also starring in the production is Freddie Fox, who has been cast as Jeremy, Stephen Graham as Detective Chief Inspector 'Taff' Jones, who initially blamed Sheila Caffell for killing her family, and Mark Addy as Stan Jones, a detective who always suspected Jeremy. Freddie, 30, bears an uncanny resemblance to Jeremy Bamber after dying his hair black for the role. He said he had considered meeting Jeremy, who is now 58, but was advised against it. "I was approached by his campaign [protesting his innocence] to have a conversation with them, from Jeremy's point of view," Freddie said. "It's 35 years after the event. Even if I were able to talk to him, he's a different person, who says he's innocent. He has that agenda."

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Freddie Fox stars as Jeremy Bamber

Jeremy's remaining family members are convinced of his guilt, and The Court of Appeal upheld his conviction in 2002. Sheila's husband Colin has turned down previous offers from production companies to tell the story of the Bamber murders, but said he felt that now the time was right. "They made it clear that they wanted to tell the story properly," he explained.

White House Farm will air on ITV1 on Wednesday 8 January at 9pm.