Rachel Nickell

Woman Walking with Son Stabbed to Death

Rachel Nickell and her 2-year-old son were walking the family dog on Wimbledon Common in southwest London on July 15, 1992, when Nickell was fatally attacked by a knife-wielding man. The person slashed and stabbed Nickell, 23, before sexually assaulting her. He then ran from the scene, leaving Nickell’s son unharmed. When a passerby happened upon the scene, the boy was reportedly clutching his mother and saying, “Wake up, Mummy.”

An investigation was quickly launched and 32 men were questioned. Colin Stagg was identified as the likely perpetrator of the crime. Stagg was the subject of a five-month investigation involving an undercover policewoman who attempted to seduce a confession out of him. Stagg never confessed, and when he was eventually brought before a judge, the case was thrown out.

In 2006, Scotland Yard was reviewing cold cases and they questioned convicted murderer Robert Napper in connection with Nickell’s death. Napper murdered a woman and her 4-year-old daughter in 1993 and was in a mental hospital. In 2008, Napper pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Nickell on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He was ordered to be detained indefinitely in Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, where he remains.