Colin Stagg contemplates the truth

Man cleared of Rachel Nickell murder submits to trial by television, reports Louise Jury

Colin Stagg has passed a lie detector test in which he denied the brutal murder of young mother Rachel Nickell.

But the television programme-makers who arranged the test claimed that he had changed his mind about fielding further questions under the influence of a "truth drug" and resisted the opportunity of giving his testimony under hypnosis after learning that both were more reliable tests of honesty.

Mr Stagg, 33, agreed to meet the television journalist Roger Cook for the first public assessment of his defence to the charge of Ms Nickell's murder in 1992 on Wimbledon Common, London.

Mr Stagg's defence was never heard in court after the judge dismissed the case against him, and the same case cannot be brought for a second time. But in The Cook Report, to be broadcast tonight, Mr Stagg claims he would welcome a civil action against him. "If the Nickell family was convinced I was innocent, that would make me more at ease with my life.

"I would like to meet the family and look them straight in the eye and tell them plainly I'm not guilty of this murder," he says.

Mr Cook, however, appeared sceptical about some of Mr Stagg's responses, including his refusal to take the "truth drug" - a mixture of benzodiazepines or sedatives - on medical grounds. Mr Stagg said he feared the long-term effects of having such chemicals in his body.

Mr Cook concluded: "Stagg gave us his full co-operation for an investigation into his side of the story and his legal team gave us complete access to his defence case. [But] There are still inconsistencies and questions unanswered."

Mr Stagg faced 60 questions in the polygraph lie-detector test. The test, which is not permitted as evidence in British courts, was administered by Jeremy Barrett, who categorically concluded that Mr Stagg did not kill Ms Nickell.

However, in at least one instance, the programme-makers claim Mr Stagg gave an answer which contradicted his response in a previous polygraph test which he also passed.

Mr Cook then questioned similarities between Mr Stagg's sexual fantasies - as described in letters to an undercover policewoman known as Lizzie James - and the attack on Ms Nickell.

In his letters, Mr Stagg described having fantasies about sex with strangers, nakedness on Wimbledon Common, the use of knives and dripping blood. But he claimed another man with the same fantasies must have been responsible for the attack. "The difference between the man who did this and me is that he has these fantasies and he acts out his fantasies. It's somebody much more dangerous than me, because he believes in these fantasies and these are just stories I have made up off the top of my head," Mr Stagg said.

He also disputed evidence of his whereabouts on the day of her murder and claimed not to be a violent man. Witnesses Susan Gale and Jane Harriman both described seeing Colin Stagg between 9.25am and 10.23am on the day Ms Nickell died. But Mr Stagg insisted he was home after his own walk on the common long before that - and before the time that the killing is believed to have taken place.

And he accused police of being "dirty bastards". "You know they set people up," he said.

Derek Crussell, the hypnotherapist who tried to hypnotise Mr Stagg, said he believed Mr Stagg was capable of being hypnotised but had not allowed himself to be. Steve Clark, head of factual programmes for Carlton Television, said Mr Stagg was paid no fee but received travelling expenses not exceeding pounds 2,000 for the month's work in Birmingham and London.

The programme is due to be broadcast on ITV at 8.30pm tonight.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross. Argyll, has remained derelict for more than 25 years
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game