Rachel Nickell's Partner Takes Claim To Europe

Andre Hanscombe says no one has been held accountable

The partner of Rachel Nickell, who was murdered on Wimbledon Common, is taking his compensation claim against the police to the European Court of Human Rights.

Andre Hanscombe said today (November 16) that there had been a catalogue of mistakes made in the investigation, but no one had been held accountable.

Ms Nickell, aged 23, was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death on the Common in 1992 in front of her then two-year-old son Alex.

Colin Stagg, from Roehampton, was wrongly charged with the crime, leaving murderer Robert Napper free to kill again before DNA technology caught up with him in 2007.

After Napper's trial Mr Hanscombe, who had been living with Ms Nickell near Wimbledon Common at the time of her murder, made a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. But he was told there was no basis for a civil claim.

He told Radio 4's Taking A Stand programme today: "The final team did produce a successful conviction of Rachel's killer, but at the same time there has been absolutely no holding to account of anybody who was responsible for all of the mistakes. Everyone was going down blind alleys and the oversight was just not there.

"The most important thing after all these years is that this is never allowed to happen again. Nobody has been held accountable and nobody at any high level has been forced to resign."

He said he was now taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

The Metropolitan Police issued this statement: "The MPS has apologised unreservedly for failings in the investigation into Rachel Nickell's murder. Andre Hanscombe's lawyers wrote to the MPS seeking compensation but have accepted that there is no basis for a civil claim against the MPS.

"There has already been a payment made to Alex Hanscombe from public funds for the impact of his mother's murder. Having considered all relevant factors the Metropolitan Police Service has made the difficult decision not to compensate Mr Hanscombe or pay his legal costs."

November 16, 2010