in

Police officer who tried to seduce Rachel Nickell murder suspect into confession has new life


The undercover female police officer whose ‘honeytrap’ sting led to Colin Stagg being wrongly accused of the murder of young mother Rachel Nickell has buried her notorious past to start a new life in secrecy, we can reveal.

The former detective, now 60, lives in a quiet community far from Roehampton, south-west London, where some 28 years ago she worked on trying to worm her way into the affections of ‘local weirdo’ Stagg in the hope that he would confess to the murder.

Her real identity is guarded by a highly restrictive legal clause which protects her in perpetuity and was put in force following the catastrophic collapse of the prosecution case in court.

It’s believed that few if any of her close circle of friends and neighbours are aware of her association with one of the most disastrous murder investigations in British criminal history.

The undercover female police officer whose 'honeytrap' sting led to Colin Stagg being wrongly accused of the murder of young mother Rachel Nickell has buried her notorious past to start a new life in secrecy, we can reveal. Pictured: Niamh Algar portraying 'Lizzie James' in Channel 4's Deceit

The undercover female police officer whose ‘honeytrap’ sting led to Colin Stagg being wrongly accused of the murder of young mother Rachel Nickell has buried her notorious past to start a new life in secrecy, we can reveal. Pictured: Niamh Algar portraying ‘Lizzie James’ in Channel 4’s Deceit

She and her ex-policeman husband, who, like her retired from the force on grounds of ill health in the 1990s, are respected members of their local community.

Known only by her police codename ‘Lizzie James’, the officer left the Met following the case and sued her former employers for psychiatric damage, eventually settling out of court for £125,000.

Now ‘Lizzie James’s’ story will be revisited in Deceit, a major Channel 4 thriller telling the story of the bungled case which allowed Rachel Nickell’s real killer, Robert Napper, to go on and kill two more women before he was brought to justice.

The murder of 23-year-old model Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common in July 1992 – stabbed 49 times while holding her two-year-old son Alexander – shocked the nation and put police under enormous pressure to find her killer.

The horrific attack was made all the worse by the fact the toddler witnessed the whole incident in which she was stabbed and slashed, then sexually assaulted.

The murder of 23-year-old model Rachel Nickell (pictured) on Wimbledon Common in July 1992 – stabbed 49 times while holding her two-year-old son Alexander - shocked the nation and put police under enormous pressure to find her killer

The murder of 23-year-old model Rachel Nickell (pictured) on Wimbledon Common in July 1992 – stabbed 49 times while holding her two-year-old son Alexander – shocked the nation and put police under enormous pressure to find her killer

A passer-by found Rachel, with the young boy clinging to her body, saying: ‘Wake up, Mummy.’

Soon, oddball Colin Stagg, who lived not far from the Common, became prime suspect for the inquiry team and they went to extraordinary lengths to trap him by bringing in undercover specialist Lizzie James from the Met’s covert unit SO10.

Over the course of a year in an investigation codenamed Operation Edzell, she approached and befriended Stagg and tried various ruses to get him to admit to the murder, but he never did.

Lizzie befriended the loner, who fantasised to her about perverted sex involving knives and bondage. But the trial judge, Mr Justice Ognall, refused to allow Lizzie’s 700 pages of evidence to be heard and Stagg was acquitted.

Stagg, who became infatuated with Lizzie, walked free from the Old Bailey murder trial in 1994 and later sued the police for £1m.

Pictured: 'Lizzie James' confronts Colin Stagg after his arrest while he is being interrogated

Pictured: ‘Lizzie James’ confronts Colin Stagg after his arrest while he is being interrogated

The blonde former officer said the aftermath of the case left her suffering from PTSD, and she felt her life was ‘ruined’ by the failed investigation and the pressure she was put under.

In 2000 a friend of hers, speaking before her civil damages case against the Met, said: “At long last, she will be able to tell the truth.

‘It has been a very difficult six years because she has had to remain silent. The effect of being involved in this case has been traumatic.’

Her friend added: ‘Lizzie will be required to detail her job to the jury.

‘The stress of being “bait” to Colin Stagg – effectively living a lie every day – was unbelievable.’

She had 18 months off work sick before taking early retirement in 1998 after 13 years as a policewoman.

Sion Daniel Young plays Colin Stagg in Channel 4's upcoming drama Deceit

Colin Stagg

In the drama Lizzie claims to have murdered someone and taken part in a satanic ritual, because it was believed this would appeal to his unusual sexual perversions. She got in touch with Colin (pictured right), then spent five months in a fake relationship with him, hoping he would say something to incriminate himself. Pictured left: Sion Daniel Young plays Colin Stagg in Channel 4’s upcoming drama Deceit

Lizzie sued the Met for failing to provide adequate care and support after the bungled operation.

Witnesses in the High Court case would have included ex-Detective Inspector Keith Pedder, who led the inquiry.

In 2000 he, said: ‘I will be giving evidence on behalf of Lizzie James. She was a fine officer, brave and courageous.’ In fact, he didn’t have to testify as the Metropolitan Police, no doubt anxious to draw a line under the humiliating episode, settled out of court.

The new TV drama explores the human cost for the female officer, known as Sadie Byrne and played by Niamh Algar, who fully believed she was seducing a killer.

Irish actor Algar said: ‘I felt a huge amount of sympathy for Lizzie, to be a woman in that situation.

‘The enormity of the pressure she was under, making sure that she got it right . . . I had so much admiration for how brave she was.

Det Insp Keith Pedder — played in the drama by Harry Treadaway (pictured) — worked with criminal psychologist Professor Paul Britton, played by Eddie Marsan, to draw up an offender profile of the man

Keith Pedder

Following the murder, concern grew that the police were no nearer nailing a suspect, despite interviewing 32 men, including Colin Stagg. So the senior officer in charge, Det Insp Keith Pedder (right) — played in the drama by Harry Treadaway (left) — worked with criminal psychologist Professor Paul Britton, played by Eddie Marsan, to draw up an offender profile of the man

‘I was given the opportunity to speak to real-life detectives and one woman I was talking to said that building the backstory for someone you’re going to go undercover as, is kind of like being an actor.

‘She said, “The difference is, if you drop a line, you get to go for another take. If I slip up, I could potentially die”.’

In the drama Lizzie claims to have murdered someone and taken part in a satanic ritual, because it was believed this would appeal to his unusual sexual perversions.

She got in touch with Colin, then spent five months in a fake relationship with him, hoping he would say something to incriminate himself.

The drama sees Lizzie claim to have murdered someone and taken part in a satanic ritual, because it was believed this would appeal to his unusual sexual perversions and he would confess to Rachel’s murder.

The plot sees Sadie sink further into the dark world of their shared fantasies which sees her grow increasingly isolated and obsessed. Niamh told The Sun: ‘The recruitment of women wasn’t as high as it is now, and women weren’t able to be promoted into senior positions.

Eddie Marsan portraying Paul Britton

Profiler Britton later said that he disagreed with use of the fantasy-filled letters and knew nothing of them until after they had been sent

DI Pedder and his team decided that Stagg fitted that profile and asked the psychologist to assist with designing a covert operation to see whether he would eliminate or implicate himself. Profiler Britton (right) later said that he disagreed with use of the fantasy-filled letters and knew nothing of them until after they had been sent. Pictured left: Eddie Marsan portraying Paul Britton

‘Sadie is given a massive opportunity, to be the centre of the biggest Met operation in history, so she’s putting everything into it, having dedicated her life to protecting the public and women in particular.’

Following the murder, concern grew that the police were no nearer nailing a suspect, despite interviewing 32 men, including Colin Stagg.

So the senior officer in charge, Det Insp Keith Pedder — played in the drama by Harry Treadaway — worked with criminal psychologist Professor Paul Britton, played by Eddie Marsan, to draw up an offender profile of the man.

DI Pedder and his team decided that Stagg fitted that profile and asked the psychologist to assist with designing a covert operation to see whether he would eliminate or implicate himself.

Profiler Britton later said that he disagreed with use of the fantasy-filled letters and knew nothing of them until after they had been sent.

Paul Britton was charged with professional misconduct by the British Psychological Society but in 2002, further action was dismissed due to the time delay in bringing proceedings

The Independent Police Complaints Commission which investigated the botched case later said no police officer would face disciplinary action because they had all retired and one key senior detective had died. Criminal prosecutions were not considered.



Source link

Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Covid Australia: Ex-pats BANNED from returning to the country to ease pressure on quarantine hotels

Can the Olympics Take the Heat?