Rachel Nickell killer: Who really killed Rachel Nickell?

Trailer for new Channel 4 drama Deceit

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Deceit has just started airing on Channel 4 and the true-crime series is about the murder of Rachel Nickell. Rachel, a mother-of-one, was stabbed by a man on Wimbledon Common in front of her infant son in July 1992. A prime suspect was Colin Stagg, but police had targeted the wrong man.

Who really killed Rachel Nickell?

Deceit is an intense four-part drama based on the true story of a honeytrap operation.

Rachel Nickell, 23, was killed by Robert Napper whilst walking her dog with her young son on Wimbledon Common.

He was convicted in 2008 and was already detained at Broadmoor High Security Hospital in Berkshire for another double murder.

However, at the time of her death, the Metropolitan Police believed another man was the killer.

Under pressure from the public to find the perpetrator, they questioned a man from Roehampton called Colin Stagg.

Colin was known to have walked his dog in the same area, but there was no evidence linking him to the scene.

Police decided Colin fitted the offender profile and they organised a secret operation, known as Operation Ezdell, to gain insight.

An undercover police officer, who went by the alias ‘Lizzie James’, was tasked with gaining information from Colin.

He was charged with the murder and spent more than a year in custody before a judge dropped the charge.

In December 2008, Napper admitted to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Napper, who experienced childhood trauma, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and Asperger’s syndrome.

He was ordered to remain at Broadmoor High Security Hospital and was told it was unlikely he would ever be allowed out ever again.

Napper came from a dysfunctional and troubled background, which ultimately led to a string of violent attacks on women.

The 55-year-old was described as being socially awkward at school due to his undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome.

He was first on the radar of police in 1986 when he was convicted of a crime using an airgun.

On July 15, 1992, Napper stabbed young mother Rachel in front of her son, who was aged two at the time.

In November 1993, in Plumstead, he stabbed 27-year-old Samantha Bisset and her four-year-old daughter, Jazmine.

During the search for Rachel’s killer, there was the attempted prosecution of the innocent Colin Stagg.

The creators of the Deceit series said Colin had worked on the Channel 4 show in order to set the record straight on what happened.

The police failings caused lifelong trauma for all involved, including the undercover officer known as ‘Lizzie James’.

In order to protect her welfare, a lifelong anonymity order was granted and the officer’s real name is not known.

Sion Daniel Young plays Colin Stagg in Deceit, but Napper does not appear in the TV adaptation.

This is partly due to the fact the series is based on the investigation following the attack, rather than the event itself.

Deceit airs on Fridays at 9pm on Channel 4.

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