Father's appeal in murder hunt

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The Independent Online
THE FATHER of Rachel Nickell, the Wimbledon Common murder victim, yesterday described the daughter who had been 'a bright star' in his life and appealed to the public to help track down the 'monster' who killed her.

John Nickell, 52, made the appeal at a press conference hours after arriving in London from Canada, where he and his wife had been on holiday when the murder took place. Rachel, 23, was raped and murdered a week ago in daylight while walking her dog on the common in south London. Her son Alex, aged two, was found clinging to her body.

Mr Nickell described his daughter as 'a shining light, a bright star in my life and that of everybody who knew her.

'Her happiness with Alex and Andre was so real you could touch it. She can never be replaced in our lives. We can only try and slowly pick up the pieces.'

Mr Nickell, a former army officer now in the shoe trade, appealed to anyone with information to contact police. 'There must be clues or memories which will help the police to track and convict the monster before he does it again.'

Rachel who walked her dog Mollie regularly on the common, had once complained to her father about being approached by a 'flasher'. She had told the police. Mr Nickell paid tribute to the press for not being intrusive but appealed for Alex to be left alone.

Police will today stage a reconstruction of the minutes before the murder to jog the memories of people who were in the area. A woman friend of Rachel's will double for her. The two met walking their dogs on the common. She will drive Rachel's silver, W-registration Volvo to the same car park on the common and retrace her route.

Police repeated appeals to anyone who was on the common between 9am and 10.30am last Wednesday to come forward. They are particularly keen to talk to anyone who saw a young man washing his hands in a stream shortly after the murder.

Rachel's grieving boyfriend Andre Hanscombe, 29, and son Alex yesterday visited the scene of the murder, now strewn with bouquets.

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