Robert Clive Napper
(born 25 February
1966) is a convicted British serial killer and rapist who was
remanded in Broadmoor Hospital indefinitely on 18 December 2008 for the
manslaughter of Rachel Nickell on 15 July 1992. He was previously
convicted of the 1993 double murder of Samantha Bisset and her daughter
He is a paranoid schizophrenic who has also been
diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.
Robert Napper is the oldest child of Brian Napper, a
driving instructor, and his wife Pauline. Born in Erith, Greater London,
Napper was raised in Plumstead, South East London in his early years.
The marriage of his parents was violent; Napper witnessed violent
attacks on his mother which ended in divorce when he was 10. Napper and
his siblings (two brothers and a sister) were placed in foster care and
underwent psychiatric treatment. The psychiatric counselling Napper had
at the Maudsley Hospital in Camberwell lasted for six years.
Meanwhile, Napper underwent a personality change
after a family friend assaulted him on a camping holiday when he was 12.
The offender was jailed, but Napper became introverted, obsessively tidy
and reclusive according to his mother. He also bullied his siblings and
spied on his sister while she undressed.
In 1986, Napper was convicted of an offence with an
airgun, and given a conditional discharge. In October 1989, police had
rejected information conveyed in a phonecall from Napper's mother that
her son had admitted to perpetrating a rape on Plumstead Common because
no case apparently matched the evidence, but it emerged at the time of
Napper's second conviction that a rape of a 30 year old woman in front
of her children eight weeks earlier had been reported to have occurred
in a house which backed on to Plumstead Common. At this point, Pauline
Napper broke off all contact with her son.
On 15 July 1992 on Wimbledon Common, Napper stabbed
the young mother Rachel Nickell forty-nine times in front of her son
Alex, then aged two, who clung on to his mother's body begging her to
wake up. Napper was questioned about unsolved attacks on women during
the year, but was eliminated from inquiries.
In November 1993, in the Bisset home in Plumstead,
South East London, Napper stabbed 27-year-old Samantha Bisset in her
neck and chest, killing her, and then sexually assaulted and smothered
her four-year-old daughter, Jazmine Jemima Bisset
In her sitting room, the 6' 2" Napper mutilated
Samantha's body. The police photographer was off work for two years from
the impact of witnessing the murder scene.
Napper was convicted at the Old Bailey of the murder
of Samantha and Jazmine in October 1995. He also admitted a rape and two
attempted rapes at this time. From the time of the first Old Bailey
trial, he has been held at Broadmoor. In December 1995 he was questioned
about Nickell's death but denied any involvement.
Napper is also believed to be the "Green Chain rapist"
who carried out at least 70 savage attacks across south-east London over
a four-year period ending in 1994. The earliest of the 'Green Chain'
rapes have been linked to Napper, and were those he admitted to in 1995.
Napper is known to have kept detailed records of the sites of potential
and actual attacks on women.
The investigation to find Nickell's murderer resulted
in the attempted prosecution of an innocent man, Colin Stagg, before
advances in DNA profiling revealed Napper's connection to the case. On
18 December 2008, Napper was convicted of the manslaughter of Rachel
Nickell on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He also admitted to
three other attacks on women
In his summing up at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice
Griffiths Williams said to Napper: "You are on any view a very dangerous
Inside the mind of Robert Napper
December 18, 2008
Perhaps not since Jack the Ripper prowled the streets
of East London has there been a killer as depraved as Robert Napper. Yet
his name is hardly known.
A flawed police fixation on criminal profiling that
led to the jailing of an innocent man - Colin Stagg - for Napper's most
notorious crime, the murder and mutilation of Rachel Nickell, denied the
killer and rapist of his notoriety.
The full horror of Napper's five-year spree of
violence, rape and death can now, however, be pieced together. He was
the Green Chain rapist, terrorising as many as 86 women in a series of
sex attacks which escalated from indecent exposure to the knifepoint
rape of a mother pushing a pram.
He was the man who, when the police attention came
too close, crossed London to attack and kill Ms Nickell as she walked on
Wimbledon Common with her son, Alex, then aged two. As the boy watched,
Napper stabbed his mother 49 times and mutilated her.
And he was the man whose maniacal rage
reached a crescendo in November 1993 when he broke into Samantha
Bissett's flat and stabbed her to death before sexually assaulting and
smothering her four-year-old daughter Jazmine. He then cut open Miss
Bissett's body with macabre precision.
Napper has admitted just six crimes - three killings,
two rapes and an attempted rape - and refuses to discuss any further
cases with police unless they can produce scientific proof of his guilt.
Detectives will return to Broadmoor, where he has been detained since
1995, to question him about other offences.
His trademark was attacking young mothers accompanied
by their children. Psychologists put it down to a childhood scarred by
abuse and domestic violence, but detectives disagree and say Napper
believed that women with children were likely to be more compliant to
Robert Clive Napper was born on February 25 1966 in a
maternity hospital in Erith, south-east London, the first son of Brian
Napper, a driving instructor, and his wife Pauline. His childhood was
spent in a violent home until his mother sued for divorce when he was
Mrs Napper's health deteriorated after the marriage
break-up and all her children spent periods in foster homes. Robert
truanted and shoplifted and was deeply damaged when, aged 12, he was
sexually assaulted by a family friend on a camping trip.
The teenage Napper was a reticent, obsessively tidy,
lonely boy who bullied his brother and spied on his sister as she
"Napper is a classic case of abuse meets neglect,"
says Professor Laurence Alison, author of a forthcoming book about the
killer. "Trouble at school, disorder, petty crime - he's losing
perspective, drifting away from reality."
After school he pursued a series of manual jobs,
leaving home aged 21 to live in a bedsit in Plumstead, southeast London.
The Green Chain attacks – so named because of the proximity of the
incidents to the Green Chain walking route – began around the same time.
In November 1989, Pauline Napper phoned Plumstead
police station to report that her son was claiming to have raped a woman
on Plumstead Common.
Cursory checks were made and police told Mrs Napper
they could not trace any such crime. Had the officers looked harder they
would have discovered an unsolved inquiry into the rape of a 30-year-old
woman in her home. The victim was attacked by a man with a knife while
her children were at home.
Today the Old Bailey heard more details about his
delusions and violent urges. Napper is a paranoid schizophrenic who
believed he was untouchable and could transmit his thoughts by telepathy,
the court heard.
Victor Temple, QC, for the prosecution, told the
court that Napper had a "propensity to stalk and or seek out vulnerable
young women not known to him with a view to rape, arming himself with a
knife in order to intimidate and or control them.”
A psychiatrist who has been treating Napper in
Broadmoor said that he also suffered from Aspergers’ Syndrome.
Natalie Pyszora said that Napper believed changes had
been made to the calendar making him believe unusual things were taking
Dr Pyszora said that he was convinced he had an MA in
maths and a Nobel Peace Prize and medals from fighting in Angola and he
and his family were in Who's Who and that he may well have had millions
of pounds in a bank in Sidcup, Kent.
Napper also believed that he could transmit thoughts
through telepathy and had been kneecapped by the IRA and had had his
fingers blown off by an IRA parcel bomb but they had miraculously grown
The psychiatrist said that his thought process was
irrational and he would have felt untouchable at the time of the murder
on Wimbledon Common.
She said she could not envisage Napper ever being let
out of Broadmoor and that he accepted this, a sentence confirmed by the
Timeline: how police missed chances to catch Robert Napper for
December 18, 2008
The Metropolitan police issued a series of apologies
today over their gross mishandling of the Rachel Nickell murder inquiry.
Officers missed several chances to apprehend Robert Napper who sexually
assaulted or raped as many as 86 women and murdered three people in the
five years after his mother warned detectives that he may be a rapist.
Detectives passed up the chance to take a DNA sample
from Napper, ignored people who recognised him in a photo-fit and
released him after he was questioned as a "peeping tom".
Police now admit that Colin Stagg, the man charged
with her murder after a "honey trap", was completely innocent. They also
concede that they should not have relied so heavily on the advice of a
forensic psychologist during the investigation and should have caught
Napper before he murdered Samantha and Jazmine Bissett.
August 1989: woman raped in her home in
Plumstead in front of her two children; believed to be the first of
Napper's sex attacks.
November 1989: Napper's mother tells police
her son has claimed to be a rapist but officers find no record of the
March 1992: two women raped close to Green
Chain walk in south-east London.
May 1992: young mother raped as she walks with
her daughter in a buggy in south-east London.
July 1992: Rachel Nickell murdered as she
walks on Wimbledon Common, south-west London, with her two-year-old son
Alex. The killer stabbed her 49 times and mutilated her body in a
August 1992: Robert Napper is questioned about
the Green Chain rapes after callers tell police he looks like a photo-fit
of the suspect. Napper is asked to give a DNA sample but does not turn
up for appointments. Later dismissed as a suspect because he is too tall.
September 1992: Colin Stagg arrested as a
suspect for the Nickell murder. He is questioned then released.
October 1992: Napper is arrested after weapons
found in his flat; pleads guilty and is jailed for eight weeks.
January 1993: Police begin "honeytrap"
operation designed to get Stagg to confess to an undercover policewoman,
Lizzie James, who begins writing sexually explicit letters to the
suspect. Dr Paul Britton, a forensic psychologist who inspired the
television character Cracker, was appointed as a close adviser to the
April 1993: Napper's fingerprints found on a
gun buried on Winns Common, southeast London. No action taken against
July 1993: Napper stopped and questioned as a
"peeping tom" close to the Green Chain Walk. Released after brief
questioning but officer notes that he "should be considered as a
possible rapist, indecency type suspect".
August 1993: Colin Stagg arrested and charged
with the murder of Rachel Nickell.
November 1993: Samantha Bissett and her
daughter Jazmine, four, murdered in their flat in Plumstead, south-east
London. The child has been sexually assaulted before being smothered.
Samantha's body has been mutilated after death. Dr Britton, the
psychologist, is asked to consider if this could be the same killer who
murdered Ms Nickell. He rules out that possibility.
May 1994: Napper arrested for the murders of
Samantha and Jazmine Bissett after tests reveal that fingerprints in the
murder flat, thought to have been one of the victim's, match his prints.
July 1994: Two Green Chain rape victims pick
out Napper as their attacker at an identity parade.
September 1994: Mr Justice Ognall dismisses
the case against Colin Stagg saying the “honeytrap” operation designed
was an "attempt to incriminate a suspect by positive and deceptive
conduct of the grossest kind". Outside court Andrew Nickell, the
murdered woman's father, says police are not looking for anyone else.
November 1994: Napper interviewed for first
time about Nickell murder but denies any involvement.
October 1995: Napper pleads guilty to the
manslaughter of Ms Bissett and her daughter. He also admits rape and two
attempted rapes in 1992 and is sent indefinitely to Broadmoor high
December 1995: Napper interviewed about the
Nickell murder again and denies ever being on Wimbledon Common.
March 1999: Undercover female officer who laid
“honeytrap” for Stagg issues writ against police after taking 18 months
off work and then retiring from the force early saying she had suffered
post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of the case
October 2001: Scotland Yard begins fresh
review of the Nickell murder case. Forensic Science Service finds no DNA
from case material.
April 2002: LGC Forensics asked to examine the
scientific material producing profile.
October 2002: Dr Britton cleared of seven
counts of misconduct at hearing by the British Psychological Society
after formal complaints by Stagg.
July 2004: full murder investigation re-opened
with Napper as chief suspect.
November 2007: Napper charged with the murder
of Ms Nickell and committed for trial.
August 2008: Colin Stagg receives £706,000
compensation from a discretionary scheme set up to award victims of
miscarriages of justice.
December 2008: Napper pleads guilty to
manslaughter of Ms Nickell on grounds of diminished responsibility.
December 2008: John Yates, Assistant
Commissioner of the Met, offers formal apology to Stagg and says “more
could and should have been done” to prevent the murders of Samantha and
Profiles: Rachel Nickell and Samantha Bissett -
Robert Napper's victims
December 18, 2008
In July 1992 Rachel Nickell was a successful part-time
model who was living an idyllic life with her 2-year-old son and long-term
She had graced the covers of several magazines but
had cut back on her modelling work to spend more time with Alex and
boyfriend Andre Hanscombe.
They lived in Tooting, West London and her days were
made up of playing with her son, taking morning walks with him and their
mongrel dog Molly on Wimbledon Common and visiting her local leisure
centre, where she swam two or three times a week and took part in the
mother and baby swimming group.
On the day of her death she had gone to Wimbledon
Common only because she thought it was safer than parks near her home
where she would be regularly hassled by men.
The blonde-haired 23-year-old would also regularly
play tennis with Mr Hanscombe, a semi-professional player.
At night the couple would often go to an Italian
restaurant near to their home. The manager described them as being
“close and in love”. “They used to kiss and hold hands, they were always
looking into each others eyes.”
Brought up in the Essex village of Great Totham, near
Colchester, she was a polite child who was a good student and keen
After receiving private tuition she gained a place at
coveted Colchester County High, Essex, a grammar school where she is
remembered as as vivacious pupil who excelled at sports and passed nine
She attended Essex Dance Theatre, where she was
thought to have had enough talent to appear in the West End, and swam
for a championship winning team.
She also developed an interest in community care,
organising Christmas parties for the elderly and working with disabled
After obtaining A-levels in English, law and history
at the Colchester Institute she intended to go to university to get a
degree in English and history but abandoned her studies at Thames
Polytechnic in Woolwich after meeting Mr Hanscombe, a motorcylce courier
and having Alex in 1989.
Described by friends as loving, unaffected, friendly
and always pleasant with natural poise and charm, she harboured
ambitions to work in children’s television.
But those ambitions were cut short on a summer’s day
when she was stabbed 49 times and sexually assaulted during one of her
regular outings to the Common.
Alex was found clinging to her bloody body.
At the time of her murder her parents, Andrew, 50 and
Monica, 48, who had moved to Ampthill, Bedfordshire, had just left to
visit a relative in Canada and were not aware of her death for a couple
One newspaper wrote of Rachel at the time of the
tragedy: "She stood for qualities of honesty and goodness that are
supposed to triumph over dark and violent forces.
"This week, on a lonely stretch of Wimbledon Common,
The maniacal attack is imprinted on the nation’s
conscience, but less so the sickening murder some sixteen months later
of Samantha Bissett and her four-year-old daughter Jazmine.
Ms Bissett was also a good looking, blonde, part time
model and mother to a young son who bore a remarkable resemblance to Ms
In November 1993 she was raped and stabbed up to 20
times in the head and neck in the hallway of her home in Plumstead,
south east London. She was dragged to the living room and mutilated by
Napper. Her daughter, who had been sexually assaulted, was found
smothered to death in a bunk-bed.
The scene was so gruesome that the police
photographer who recorded it could not work again for months.
Born in Dundee Ms Bissett, 27, was the well-spoken
and well-educated - but rebellious - daughter of an artist.
She lived in various hippy communes and became
pregnant by a fellow traveller, although was still someone her mother
would approve of - his father was a barrister and mother a teacher.
Her own father had died when she was fourteen of lung
cancer and her mother, Margaret, travelled down from Scotland to help
her daughter find somewhere to live with her new child. They settled on
a flat in Plumstead.
The young mother devoted herself to her daughter,
taking her responsibility seriously but without losing her carefree
characteristics. She still sunbathed topless in the garden and walked
around semi-naked without drawing the blinds or locking the balcony door.
However much she struggled financially as a single
mother her child, Jazmine, never went without and she was thinking about
moving to a better area with better schools.
But this would cost money. She had a portfolio of
portraits taken so she could become a model and answered several
magazine ads from photographers but when she failed to get any bookings
she turned to the personal columns of the local papers.
Among her possessions police found letters and
newspaper adverts. One from September 1993 said: “Upmarket, tall,
erotioc blonde escort, 27, and aching to hear from you generous men.
Just tell me what you want. All letters answered.”
Another one, in a contacts magazine, revealed the
reasons for the adverts: “Young sexy long-legged blonde requites a nice
gentleman with spare cash to pay small child’s school fees in return for
regular, discreet, no strings, fun liaisons. Cannot accommodate. Very
Although she may have been involved in the seedier
side of modelling it is not thought she had become a prostitute.
Then, in November 1993, she was murdered.
There did not appear to be any sign of a break in and
it is suspected that Napper had been watching her in her flat from a
Ms Bissett’s step-father, Jack Morrison, said that
Margaret died of a broken heart just before Napper’s court appearance in
1995 when he was sent to Broadmoor indefinitely.
In 2004 Mr Morrison said that he and his wife always
suspected that Napper had killed Ms Nickell but there was not enough
evidence for the police to prove it.
How Napper was raped as a boy, disowned by family
and inspired by a Victorian horror story
19th December 2008
He probably watched her for a little while.
Almost certainly, he would have walked towards her at
first, just to check her face. Maybe he even smiled.
This was the way Robert Napper stalked his prey
before turning back to pounce on them from behind, usually with a knife
at their throat.
Sometimes, in the dark, he would spy on them for
hours in what they assumed was the privacy of their homes.
But here on Wimbledon Common, he selected his victim
in the full glare of a summer day. Rachel Nickell was 23, blonde and
beautiful, an ex-model and devoted young mother.
Napper had got to know the common well, often cycling
there or catching the bus from his home on the other side of South
was meant to be at work that morning but he never
turned up. At
10.20am, on July 15, 1992, he had other business in
The only person who knows precisely what happened
next is Robert Clive Napper – serial rapist, psychopath, monster. But
the scene he left behind is seared into public consciousness as one of
the most grotesque and baffling killings ever known.
When someone stumbled across Alex, he was clinging so
tightly to his mother’s blood-soaked body they had to prise his hand
away from her arm. ‘Get up Mummy,’ he was crying. ‘Wake up…’
Napper had slit her throat and stabbed her 49 times.
Experts said it would have taken more than three minutes to deliver all
the blows. Any of the wounds to her heart, lungs and liver could have
killed her. But he didn’t stop.
Many of the injuries were inflicted after she was
dead. Others, on her hands, showed she had put up a fight. No one heard
her scream. She was sexually assaulted and left half naked. Her jeans
and pants were pulled down to her ankles.
The scrap of paper they found on her forehead –
thought at first to have been part of some bizarre ritual – had been put
there by Alex. He explained he had stuck it on like a plaster ‘to make
But what of her attacker? He must have been drenched
in blood. He still carried the knife. Detectives calculated that if he
looked around, he would have seen dozens of people criss-crossing the
common – among them, incidentally, the wife of Metropolitan Police
Commissioner Sir Peter Imbert.
Yet Robert Napper walked calmly away. Just as he
always did. Just as he planned. And from that moment on, he disappeared
into a black hole of anonymity.
Quite what turned an angelic schoolboy into a savage
sex killer defies simple explanation. But there are pointers in his
He was a solitary, secretive boy at South-East
London’s Abbey Wood comprehensive during the late 1970s and early 80s.
Contemporaries said the greasy-skinned youth, who
dreamed of becoming an astronomer, was living ‘in a world of his own’.
Note that phrase. It would follow Robert Napper all his life.
Home was desperately unhappy. His mother Pauline and
father Brian, a driving instructor, clashed frequently and violently in
front of Robert, his two younger brothers and their sister.
When Robert was nine, Mr Napper walked out on his
wife and family,
later emigrating to Australia to become a fireman.
Their bitter separation battle culminated in divorce just as Robert was
starting secondary school.
Interviewed by the Mail, Brian Napper struggled to
comprehend what his son had become. He added: ‘I’d rather remember
Robert as I had always known him in his growing-up years – as a lovely
little boy who gave no hint that he was going to walk down this terrible
path. Perhaps I am partly to blame for nothing being done. My wife and I
were having our own problems at the time.
‘After I emigrated, Robert used to write to me. But
his letters stopped coming. I suppose we just drifted apart.’
Back in Britain, Mrs Napper, a care-home assistant,
was increasingly concerned about her son’s behaviour. He would hide
behind doors to eavesdrop relatives’ conversations, then accuse them of
making up stories about him.
He was often aggressive, fought violently with his
brothers and repeatedly told lies.
He liked to spy on his sister in the shower, or while
she was undressing.
Once, while she was sleeping, she awoke to find he
had pulled the covers back and was staring at her from the side of the
Fearing he was mentally disturbed, Mrs Napper sent
him for psychiatric assessment at the age of 11. After the first session
he returned home to declare with a grin: ‘The psychiatrist thinks I’m
The therapy continued for six years. It was
discovered he had Asperger’s syndrome.
Mrs Napper, now 65 and retired, told the Daily Mail
she had reported her son to police after discovering he had stolen cash
‘They tried taking him to the police station, taking
his fingerprints and treating him as a prisoner,’ she said.
‘The idea was to frighten him. It didn’t frighten him
a bit. To anybody outside he seemed like a nice, normal boy. But behind
closed doors he was totally weird.’
Mrs Napper remarried in 1987. Robert despised his
stepfather and virtually refused to talk to him.
Gradually, he descended into dark moods and
reclusiveness, and ultimately, to crime. Behavioural disorder was being
compounded by a serious-mental illness, paranoid schizophrenia. This
‘toxic combination’, as doctors described it, engulfed him.
It manifested itself not just in violence, but in
bizarre delusions. Most significantly, it allowed him to convince
himself he was supremely powerful, and so skilful in perpetrating his
crimes that he was ‘ untouchable’ by police
He came to believe he was a welleducated millionaire,
with a masters degree in maths. That he had won the Nobel Peace Prize.
That he could communicate by telepathy.
There does seem to have been a trigger for his
transition to depravity. In a brutal encounter which would later be
echoed by his crimes, he was raped in daylight while walking in woods
near his home.
Napper, 12, was with two younger boys who were also
assaulted. The year was 1978.
His teacher said the attack made him dramatically
withdrawn, turning him overnight from an unremarkable schoolboy ‘into a
robot’. She told the Mail: ‘He just shrivelled up like a little old man.
'You couldn’t get a reaction out of him. He didn’t
express any emotion. He sat there and did the work, but he was in his
own little world.’
In an English lesson, the class were played a
recording of a short story. Napper was entranced by it. He turned pale
and started to shake and sweat. At one point the teacher thought he was
having a seizure. The story? It was The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allan
Poe. It describes how a madman commits a murder and dismembers the body.
It’s only Victorian fiction, of course. But years
later, it would be chillingly mirrored in the grotesque killings that
Napper perpetrated, and in his detached, matter-of-fact demeanour under
Napper was of only average intelligence and didn’t
enjoy work. He left school at 16 for a catering course and flitted
between menial jobs. When he was 18, his mother threw him out. ‘His
behaviour just got too much and I told him he had to go,’ she said.
The next time she saw him was five years later, in
October 1989. He was living alone in a shabby South London bedsit. He
told her he had raped a girl two months earlier on Plumstead Common.
Although she was uncertain if he was lying, she says she phoned his
psychiatrist and Plumstead police station.
The police checked, and found no record of anyone
reporting an attack on the common.
Astonishingly, they didn’t speak to Napper or make
any further investigation. Had they done so, and taken a blood sample,
it would have provided a perfect match to the DNA he left on a woman he
had raped at precisely that time.
The 31-year-old mother, who used to sunbathe in a
bikini in her garden near the common, became his first known victim in
August 1989. After the attack he told her: ‘Want a bit of advice? Don’t
leave your back door open.’
Within two years, a clear pattern would develop in a
series of rapes and sexual assaults. The attacker became known as the
Green Chain Rapist after the Green Chain Walk, a string of leafy
pathways linking large swathes of South-East London.
Perhaps significantly, one walkway went through the
woods where he was raped as a boy.
Detectives believe his hallmark is on at least 106
offences involving 86 victims. For each encounter he carried a knife,
and sometimes a rope or ligature.
In his bedsit he also had a gun. Not that he needed
it. Napper was 6ft 2in and kept himself fit.
His victims were almost all young, pretty, usually
blonde. Every assault was needlessly and increasingly violent.
It didn’t matter if the mothers had children with
them, which – for several victims – made the trauma even more difficult
to bear. Just as terrifying was the realisation that they had been
stalked or spied upon.
Napper kept A to Z maps in which to psychopath
‘I know I will never get over what he did to us’
he plotted positions from which to peer into women’s
homes. One particular mark pinpointed an address in Plumstead, close to
his home. This was the basement flat where 27-yearold Samantha Bisset
lived with her daughter, Jazmine.
Samantha, an illustrator’s daughter described as
‘sweet and generous’ by relatives, adored motherhood and gave up her
drug-fuelled ‘New Age Traveller’ lifestyle to look after her child. Just
like Napper’s other Peeping Tom targets, she liked to sunbathe in her
back garden, sometimes topless.
She never drew her curtains, even when she and her
boyfriend made love in the living room. Her balcony door was usually
open on hot summer nights so Jazmine could get some fresh air.
The following description details the most hideous
murder that senior investigators can recall.
The scene was so disturbing that a police
photographer who recorded it was unable ever to do her job again.
Its importance here is to illustrate the boundaries
and human taboos that Napper coldly ignored.
He jabbed at Samantha with a knife, then stabbed her
20 times in the head and neck. Perhaps mercifully, one strike severed
her spinal cord. Others cut an artery in her neck and drenched the hall
carpet in blood.
She was sexually assaulted, probably after she was
dead. Jazmine was next.
Napper penetrated her before smothering her with a
He left her dead on the bed, surrounded by her toys.
She was four years and three months old. He wasn’t finished yet.
Slowly and deliberately, he dragged Samantha’s body
to the living room and arranged it on a cushion on the floor. It was the
same position in which she and her boyfriend used to make love.
Napper had probably watched them from the back of the
flat – the exact spot that was marked on his A to Z.
There were 60 stab wounds on Samantha’s mutilated
body. He tried to cut off her leg. He sliced her open then pulled back
her rib cage to expose the internal organs, which he pierced one by one.
Remember the story of the beating heart? Experts
believe he savoured what he was doing, took his time, kept his cool.
His final act was to secure a trophy – part of her
abdomen, sliced off with a knife. Then he left.
Samantha’s stepfather, John Morrison, would later
describe Napper as ‘wicked’ and what he did as ‘ inhuman’. ‘I know I
will never get over what he did to us,’ he said.
By this time, the fatally flawed Green Chain rape
inquiry had already plodded to a close. The ‘Plumstead Ripper’
investigation which swung into action in its wake, however, was intense.
It was a fingerprint from the massively complex
forensic scene inside Samantha’s flat which eventually led to the arrest,
in May 1994, of Robert Clive Napper, a 28-year-old warehouseman.
Detective Superintendent Micky Banks, the experienced detective who led
the murder inquiry and oversaw Napper’s police interviews, recalled that
he seemed ‘in a world of his own’.
At the Old Bailey in October 1995, Napper admitted
manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility. Psychologists
concluded he was ‘grossly psychotic’, and constantly trying to conceal
his madness. He was sent to Broadmoor without limit of time.
Samantha’s mother, Margaret Morrison, never lived to
see justice. She died of a heart attack two days before the court case
and is buried next to her daughter and grandchild. Her husband is
convinced she died of a broken heart.
Meanwhile, 16 years have passed since Rachel’s body
was discovered on Wimbledon Common; 15 since a mother and daughter were
slaughtered in their home.
So there is still one more question to ask.
Need they have died? Everyone – even Robert Napper –
must already know the answer.