Why was Colin Stagg wrongly accused of Rachel Nickell's murder, how much compensation did he get and where is he now?
BUNGLING cops spent months "honeytrapping" innocent man Colin Stagg after Rachel Nickell was stabbed to death and sexually assaulted on Wimbledon Common 27 years ago.
We reveal how police used "deceptive conduct of the grossest kind" to try to get their prime suspect to confess in return for the promise of S&M sex while Rachel's true killer walked free.
Who is Colin Stagg?
Unemployed Stagg became the most hated man in Britain when he was accused of knifing Rachel Nickell to death in 1992.
The former model had been walking on Wimbledon Common with her dog Molly and two-year-old son Alexander when she was stabbed 49 times and sexually assaulted.
Her son was later found clinging to his mum's blood-soaked body pleading for her to wake up.
Criminal psychologist Dr Paul Britton had been asked by police to create an offender profile of the killer.
Stagg was a loner who did not mix much outside his Roehampton home and police made him their prime suspect.
What was Operation Ezdell?
A female undercover police officer was given the pseudoymn Lizzie James and spent five months contacting Stagg by writing more than 40 letters, each more explicit than the last.
By the end, Lizzie was virtually demanding Stagg confess to Rachel's murder in return for sadomasochistic sex.
She told him she wanted to be "completely in your power, defenceless and humiliated", and sent him a tape in which she fantasied about a man holding a knife to her skin while having sex with her.
Referring to Rachel, Lizzie said: "It would not matter to me if you had murdered her…in certain ways I wish you had. It would make things easier for me." She later told Stagg: "It would have been great if you had done it. I wish you had done it … it's a turn-on, to think about the man that did it."
But even faced with the opportunity to confess to the murder in return for the sex he so desperately craved, Stagg insisted he had nothing to do with Rachel dying.
He said: "I could have lied to you and said to you I did do it just to be with you."
When was Colin Stagg charged with Rachel's murder?
Stagg was arrested and charged on August 17, 1993, and held in custody for a year.
But the case was thrown out at the Old Bailey in 1994 by Mr Justice Ognall, who refused to put the undercover officer's evidence before a jury.
Justice Ognall said police had shown "excessive zeal" and had tried to incriminate a suspect by "deceptive conduct of the grossest kind".
What happened to Colin Stagg?
For more than a decade, Colin Stagg was forced to live under the shadow of the unsolved murder and claims he was unemployable.
But in 2008, he was awarded a then-record £706,000 compensation from the Home Office, which he described as "like winning the lottery".
He said at the time: "There will always be people who think I had something to do with the murder, and nothing I can do will convince them otherwise.
"I got so used to people coming up to me and shouting 'nonce' that I started to live with a fortress mentality."
He added: "The only difference is that now people are also coming up and saying sorry for thinking the worst of me.
"But there's still a lot of people that need to say sorry. I have been terribly wronged."
After Robert Napper was convicted over the killing, Scotland Yard issued an apology to Stagg.
Former Assistant Commissioner John Yates said: "In August 1993 he was wrongly accused of Miss Nickell's murder. It is clear he is completely innocent of any involvement in this case and I today apologise to him for the mistakes that were made in the early 1990s.
"We also recognise the huge and lasting impact this had on his life and, on behalf of the Metropolitan Police, I have today sent him a full written apology."
When was Robert Napper charged with Rachel's murder?
It was not until 2008, 16 years after the attack, that Napper, then 42, admitted stabbing Rachel.
Napper had been a patient at Broadmoor Hospital for more than ten years suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and Asperger's.
He had been convicted of killing Samantha Bisset and her four-year-old daughter Jazmine in November 1993 – 16 months after Rachel was slain.
On 18 December 2008, Napper pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Rachel on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Justice Griffiths Williams said he would be held indefinitely at Broadmoor Hospital because he was "a very dangerous man".
How accurately is he portrayed in Channel 4's Deceit?
Although the real-life “Lizzie” has not been involved in the drama, Colin worked with the production team in a bid to further clear his name.
Executive producer David Nath said: “Colin Stagg spent 16 years as the subject of innuendo, suspicion and vilification.
“Talk to people now and mention the name Colin Stagg and a lot of people will say he was convicted for Rachel’s murder. He wasn’t.
“So we had to be very mindful with this series that we were not reinforcing some of the misinformation that exists about Colin already.
“It’s one of the reasons Colin collaborated with us, because he wanted the definitive story out there that tells the world he is and was an innocent man.”
Source: Read Full Article