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Catalogue of errors’ hindered killer’s arrest

PUBLISHED: 11:51 10 June 2010 | UPDATED: 18:00 25 August 2010

A KILLER might have been jailed before he butchered a mother and daughter if police had not missed opportunities to arrest him, according to a report.

A KILLER might have been jailed before he butchered a mother and daughter if police had not missed opportunities to arrest him, according to a report.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found that police failed to collect vital evidence from the scene of Rachel Nickell's murder in 1992, leaving her killer, Robert Napper, free to murder Samantha Bisset and her four-year-old daughter in Heathfield Terrace, Plumstead, just over a year later.

It is believed Napper committed up to 106 sex offences, which came to be known as the 'Green Chain' rapes, over five years.

He was finally caught in 1994 and sent to Broadmoor after admitting the Ripper-style killing of Miss Bisset, 27, and her daughter Jazmine, as well as three violent sex attacks including a knife-point assault on a 17-year-old in Mottingham.

Paranoid schizophrenic Napper admitted to the killing of part-time model Miss Nickell in December 2008, some 11 years after he murdered her in front of her three-year-old son on Wimbledon Common.

Speaking last Friday, IPCC spokesperson Rachel Cerfontyne, said: "It is clear that, throughout the investigations into the Green Chain rapes and Rachel Nickell's death, there was a catalogue of bad decisions and errors made by the Metropolitan Police.

"The police failed to sufficiently investigate after Napper's mother called police to report that he had confessed to her that he had raped a woman and, inconceivably, they eliminated Napper from inquiries into the Green Chain rapes because he was over 6ft.

"Without these errors, Robert Napper could have been off the streets before he killed Rachel Nickell and the Bissets, and before numerous women suffered violent sexual attacks at his hands."

Paranoid schizophrenic Napper admitted to the killing of part-time model Miss Nickell in December 2008.

At the time of sentencing Mr Justice Hooper said: "You are suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, characterised by marked thought disorder, paranoia and grandiose delusions.

"You may have also experienced tactile hallucinations and you feel you can read people's minds. Your mental illness is severe and directly linked to the offences of homicide and rape.

"You are highly dangerous as a result of that illness. You present a grave and immediate risk to the public. You will require detention in hospital for many years to come."

kate.nelson@archant.co.uk

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