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Robert Clive Napper (born 25 February 1966) is a convicted British murderer 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 Jazmine.[1]

He is a paranoid schizophrenic who has also been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.[1]


Early life

Robert Napper is the oldest child of Brian Napper, a driving instructor, and his wife Pauline.[1] 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.[2] 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,[3] but Napper became introverted, obsessively tidy and reclusive according to his mother.[2] He also bullied his siblings and spied on his sister while she undressed.

Criminal activities

In 1986, Napper was convicted of an offence with an airgun,[2] and given a conditional discharge.[4] In October 1989,[5] 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.[2]

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.[6]

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[7] and smothered her four-year-old daughter, Jazmine Jemima Bisset.[5][8] 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.[5]

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.[4] 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.[6]

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.[2] 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.[4]

In his summing up at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Griffiths Williams said to Napper: "You are on any view a very dangerous man".[9]


  1. ^ a b c Sean O'Neill and Adam Fresco "Inside the mind of Robert Napper", The Times, 18 December 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e Sandra Laville "Nickell murder: Missed clues that allowed Napper to kill again", The Guardian, 18 December 2008.
  3. ^ Richard Edwards, Murray Wardrop and David Millward "Rachel Nickell: Profile of killer Robert Napper", Daily Telegraph, 18 December 2008.
  4. ^ a b c Sarah White "Killer who slipped through the net", BBC News, 18 December 2008.
  5. ^ a b c Shenai Raif "Rachel's killer caught by new DNA techniques", Press Association report reproduced on The Independent website, 18 December 2008
  6. ^ a b "Rachel Nickell's killer finally brought to justice", The Independent, 18 December 2008
  7. ^ Richard Edwards Rachel Nickell: Mistakes allowed Robert Napper to kill Samantha and Jazmine Bisset", Daily Telegraph, 18 December 2008.
  8. ^ Births and Deaths England and Wales 1984-2006
  9. ^ Sandra Laville, et al. "Rachel Nickell killing: Serial rapist Robert Napper pleads guilty", The Guardian, 18 December 2008.

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