C4 to broadcast story of detective used in Colin Stagg honeytrap

2 months ago 14

Agony of the detective used as a honeytrap to frame Colin Stagg for the murder of Rachel Nickell is recreated for new Channel 4 drama

By Jane Wharton For The Mail On Sunday

Published: 22:40 GMT, 26 December 2020 | Updated: 22:41 GMT, 26 December 2020

Her face etched with despair, the anguished officer stumbles into the sea as the burden of her role in the investigation into the killing of Rachel Nickell bears down on her.

These exclusive photographs were captured on the set of a forthcoming Channel 4 drama that will detail how an undercover officer – known only by the codename Lizzie James – befriended the main suspect to entice him into a ‘confession’.

For five months, Lizzie, played by Irish actress Niamh Algar, 28, called and wrote to the innocent loner Colin Stagg, even dangling the possibility of sex as bait.

These exclusive images from a Channel 4 drama concerning the attempt to frame Colin Stagg for the murder of Rachel Nickel who was killed on Wimbledon Common in London in July 1992

Irish actor Niamh Algar, 28, plays the officer Lizzie James who was ordered by superiors to try and snare Mr Stagg in a honey trap by getting him to talk about Ms Nickell's murder

Rachel Nickell, pictured, was killed in front of her young son on Wimbledon Common in July 1992. In 2008, Robert Napper was finally convicted of the manslaughter of Ms Nickell, 23. The Metropolitan Police believed Colin Stagg, right, who was innocent, was guilty of the crime

There was never any evidence linking Mr Stagg to the murder of Ms Nickell, who was stabbed 49 times in front of her young son on Wimbledon Common in July 1992. Yet he was still charged and spent a year on remand before the case collapsed in 1994 when a judge ruled the police evidence inadmissible and described the honeytrap operation as ‘reprehensible’.

These scenes for My Name Is Lizzie were filmed at Leysdown Beach in Kent. In them, Lizzie collapses in tears before wandering fully clothed into the sea. Harry Treadway portrays Detective Inspector Keith Pedder, who led the investigation, and Eddie Marsen is forensic psychologist Paul Britton.

While it is unclear at what point in the inquiry these scenes take place, Lizzie did pay a heavy price for her involvement. In 1998, she took early retirement aged 33, and three years later was awarded £125,000 compensation after claiming the Met failed to adequately support her. In 2008, Robert Napper was finally convicted of the manslaughter of Ms Nickell, 23.

Channel 4 says the script draws on previously unheard audio, video and written material from the bungled inquiry and the drama will ‘examine the complicated and toxic sexual politics of the early 1990s and the police’s obsession with the wrong man’.

These scenes for My Name Is Lizzie were filmed at Leysdown Beach in Kent. In them, Lizzie collapses in tears before wandering fully clothed into the sea. Harry Treadway portrays Detective Inspector Keith Pedder, who led the investigation, and Eddie Marsen is forensic psychologist Paul Britton

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