Rachel Nickell killing: Robert Napper timeline

The events that led up to Robert Napper's arrest and charge

August 1989

Robert Napper gains entry to a house on Plumstead Common, south-east London, and rapes a 31-year-old woman at knifepoint. He wears a mask

November 1989

Napper's mother Pauline calls police to say her son told her he had raped a woman on Plumstead Common. No link made. Napper never questioned

10 March 1992

Attempted rape of a 17-year-old girl on Green Chain Walk in Hither Green, south-east London

18 March 1992

Another 17-year-old girl suffers attempted rape at knifepoint on Green Chain Walk

24 May 1992

A 22-year-old blond mother is raped on Green Chain Walk. She has a child with her

15 July 1992

Rachel Nickell, 23, is stabbed to death 12 miles away on Wimbledon Common

27 August 1992

Neighbour calls police to say Napper looks like photofit of Green Chain rapist. Napper fails to turn up to give blood sample

3 September 1992

Another neighbour rings to say photofit looks like Napper. Police revisit Napper. He fails to turn up to give blood sample

18 September 1992

Colin Stagg arrested after Crimewatch callers say he looks like the photofit of Nickell killer. Released without charge

24 October 1992

Napper eliminated from rape inquiry for being too tall

27 October 1992

Napper arrested for possession of firearm and ammunition. Sentenced to eight weeks in prison

23 April 1993

Napper's fingerprints identified on a tin found buried on Winns Common, adjoining Plumstead Common. It contains a Mauser handgun. He is not pursued

July 1993

Napper comes up on police intelligence again. Husband and wife see him peeping at their neighbour. Napper questioned. Matter not pursued. Officer writes: "Should be considered as a possible rapist"

17 August 1993

Stagg charged with murder of Rachel Nickell

3 November 1993

Samantha and Jazmine Bisset, 4, murdered at their home in Plumstead

17 May 1994

Napper's fingerprints identified at scene of the Bissett murders. Trainer footprint at scene matches his. DNA tests identify him as Green Chain rapist. Napper in prison on remand

14 September 1994

Case against Stagg thrown out by Mr Justice Ognall

19 September 1994

Review begins into Nickell murder

11 November 1994

Nickell team look at Napper. Fail to check his alibi

9 October 1995

Napper pleads guilty to manslaughter of Bissetts, two attempted rapes and one rape on Green Chain walk

20 December 1995

Napper interviewed about murder of Nickell. He denies going to Wimbledon Common


Murder review group set up into Nickell killing

1 December 2001

Forensic Science Service fails to identify Napper's DNA

July 2004

Private company identifies Napper DNA in same sample

June 2006

Napper interviewed at Broadmoor hospital. He denies involvement

4 December 2007

Napper charged with Nickell murder

18 December 2008

Napper pleads guilty to manslaughter of Nickell

The GuardianTramp

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