If you didn't watch 'Rachel Nickell - the untold story' on ITV this week, you should ! Why ? Well, among other things, because it finally tells the story of a man that, despite being innocent of ANY involvement in the horrendous slaying of Ms Nickell, was actually still considered by some in the Metropolitan Police, to be guilty. What's worse, is the fact that they told the press he was guilty, and that he got off on a technicality. Yes, really !
You can watch it online, but you have to sign up. Sod that, I'll just re-run my recording and pick out important bits. Like this
This is Bill Clegg QC. He was hired to defend Stagg who'd been arrested and charged in August 1993. One morning he was reading the newspaper reports of another murder, very similar Rachel Nickell's. In no time at all he decided - That's the man who killed Rachel Nickell.
The trial Judge also concluded that Stagg was not the killer and acquitted him. And that should have been it for both men. Only it wasn't ! The Daily Mail's headline said it all 'Rachel trial Judge in dock'. Justice Henry Ognall told Bruce that his decision that day 'led certain newspapers to conduct a vendetta against me for many years, as the man who let a man get away with murder'.
But that's the press for you. We've come to expect nothing more from 'certain (all) newspaper's now, but the Police ? Here's what we don't expect them to do. Back to Bill Clegg QC again, who tells Ms Bruce, on camera
"The Police were actively briefing the press, that Colin Stagg was guilty after he'd been found not guilty. And they were actually telling everybody that he was a guilty man, who'd got off with a technicality"
"Do you have evidence that the Police were briefing the press in that way ?" asks Ms Bruce
"I know they did"
" They told me - the press"
Now, imagine the scenario if you will. The Police and the mainstream media have spent the last year telling the whole world, you're the monster who murdered a beautiful young woman, leaving her child to cling helplessly to her dead body. You live in a council flat and you've just been acquitted of the murder.
At 41.58 mins we see footage of Colin Stagg emerging from the Old Bailey, a free man. A woman's voice rings out one word - GUILTY.
Back home Stagg needs Police protection
"It was like a lynch mob mentality and I thought, if these people get their hands on me I wouldn't stand a chance".
Much is made of the part that forensic psychologist and criminal profiler Paul Britton played in the Nickell case. He has been accused of failing to link it to two other cases including the one our aforementioned QC linked straight away. Britton denies this saying that he actually DID 'link the three cases, but the investigators told him they weren't connected'
What ? It doesn't take a forensic anything to work out that there's a hell of a lot of folk shifting the blame onto this 'real life Cracker' as he was described back then. After all, it wasn't HIM who was running the Rachel Nickell murder case. It wasn't him who ran the 'Green Chain Rapes' inquiry. I honestly don't know who that was, as I type. I do know NOW however, that - had those in charge of the GCR listened to Robert Napper's own mother, Rachell, Samantha Bissett and her daughter Jasmine, would NOT have been murdered by this lunatic ! Here's Mr Britton on the Crimewatch appeal alongside Nick Ross and the detective who eventually apprehended Napper, Mick Banks
Mick was not impressed by 'Cracker' Britton and when Bruce asked him WHY he's requested the services of the former, he made it quite plain that he hadn't. He'd been "TOLD to get him in".
Now, let's get some chronology here shall we
1989 - 'The Green Chain Rapes' began in Plumstead South London
15th July 1992 - RN murdered on Wimbledon Common
August 1993 - Stagg is charged with RN's murder
3rd November 1993 - SB and her daughter murdered inside her flat in South Plumstead
Yes, you heard me right - Robert Napper's own mother, contacted the police about the GCR. Here's a fuller picture of how Napper 'slipped through the net' from an article published in 2008
Of the three cases, Briton provided three different criminal profiles. The Wimbledon cops were adamant they had the right man in Stagg, despite the all too obvious similarities between the two murder cases, committed within eighteen months of each other, with Stagg being investigated and eventually charged, two months BEFORE the Plumstead horror.
And this was indeed an horrific case, so much so that one of the crime scene photographers never worked again. Banks met with the Nickell team but they weren't interested - "They were convinced it was still Stagg. 100% that Stagg was the person"
Despite being acquitted of Rachel Nickell's murder in 1994, it would be another fourteen years before Colin Stagg's innocence could be completely established, sixteen years after the crime. Stagg was just another victim in this crime, after the women in Green Chains Walk, Rachel Nickell's partner and family. And not forgetting Samatha Bissett's mum who died a few years after her daughter and THREE DAYS before her killer admitted his guilt.
Poor Samantha, Jasmine and her mother. The press interest in her murder was, by comparison, to use Mick Bank's word - neglible. But that's another story folks. As is this -
And this -
But that and much more, is for next time folks !
This blog is dedicated to Samatha Bissett, her daughter and her mam Margaret ! Rest in Peace