1978 Carl Bridgewater murder re-examined by Channel 4

Channel 4

Tonight Channel 4 will broadcast a one-off 90 minute documentary featuring important brand new testimony regarding the horrific murder of 13-year-old Carl Bridgewater in 1978.

“The murder of Carl Bridgewater remains one of the most horrifying crimes to go unsolved. Carl’s family, the family of Hubert Wilkes and the men who were wrongly imprisoned for more than 20 years have suffered unimaginable grief so when Bert Spencer, who has been continuously accused of the crime, offered to speak on the record for the first time in more than two decades, we felt it was an important opportunity to potentially shed new light on this case”. – Channel 4 Commissioning Editor Rob Coldstream

The ITN Production for the network includes the first ever interview with the woman married to Bert at the time of the murder – who speaks out about her suspicions that he killed Carl nearly 40 years ago. In Interview with a Murderer, leading criminologist Professor David Wilson conducts a series of revealing interviews with convicted murderer Bert Spencer, the man never charged with, yet widely suspected of killing paperboy Carl Bridgewater in 1978 – a crime he has always vociferously denied.

Bert Spencer approached Professor Wilson via his biographer. He asked Professor Wilson to challenge him on his account via a series of no-holds barred interviews in order to set the record straight. Spencer willingly agreed for these interviews to be filmed. Whilst making the film a number of important revelations have come to light which raise new questions about this tragic and unsolved child murder case:

“The film was commissioned as a documentary capturing a series of encounters between the man widely suspected of child murder and one of Britain’s leading criminologists – it did not set out to exonerate or incriminate Bert Spencer. We could not have foreseen the startling new revelations which have unfolded in the course of making it.” – Channel 4 Commissioning Editor Rob Coldstream

During the course of filming, Professor Wilson is introduced, by Spencer, to Barbara Riebold, his former secretary, and close friend – who had originally provided Bert with what he termed a ‘cast iron’ alibi. She admits in this film that she cannot verify his whereabouts for the entire day on which Carl was brutally shot at point-blank range.

For the first time in almost 40 years, Spencer’s first wife, Janet Spencer, has come forward to speak out on the record. She tells Professor Wilson she suspects Bert is guilty and believes that the police should re-open the case – and she discloses damning new allegations about Bert’s behaviour on the day Carl died. Spencer’s daughter, who was friends with Carl as a child, says she believes her father is innocent but that he may have inadvertently stumbled across the crime scene at Yew Tree Farm. The police believed Carl was killed when he disturbed a burglary at the farmhouse.

Professor Wilson spent more than 20 hours in the company of Bert Spencer and suspected he may have been displaying some of the classic symptoms of psychopathy. All the new allegations and testimony are put to Bert Spencer for a response in the film – he rejects them all. He accepts he no longer has a cast iron alibi but denies any involvement with the death of the teenager. He denies all of Janet Spencer’s allegations.

“Regardless of all the allegations that keep coming my way. Hear this. I will never ever be the scapegoat for the murder of Carl Bridgewater. For you or any other of the idiots with alleged accusations, I feel sure there will be many more in the future. I will cope with them.” – Bert Spencer


Interview with a Murderer airs on Channel 4 tonight, (12th June) at 9pm.

One comment

  • by watching the documentary tonight this man clearly has issues and the police have a duty in my opinion to reopen and reinvestigate this case as 4 other men have already served 20 years for a crime which they never did the whole story has far to many coincidents and along with the mans behaviour i feel hes hiding something for sure.hes still inocent till proven guilty but looking into his eyes was chilling.