Is Deceit based on a true story? The harrowing truth about Rachel Nickell’s death

Trailer for new Channel 4 drama Deceit

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Deceit will be making its debut on Channel 4 on Friday, August 13 and the series follows one of the UK’s biggest police operations. The drama will tell the story of the murder of Rachel Nickell in 1992, and how Operation Edzell was handled. Express.co.uk has all you need to know about the true story behind the series.

Is Deceit based on a true story?

Deceit is set in the 1990s and the story is told from the perspective of Lizzie James (played by Niamh Algar), an undercover police officer.

She had been instructed to form a relationship with a man called Colin Stagg, who was mistakenly accused of murdering Rachel.

The series is inspired by a real undercover operation following the tragic murder of Rachel Nickell, 23, in July 1992.

Rachel, who had a two-year-old son Alexander Louis, was killed on Wimbledon Common in the middle of the day.

The series delves into the police’s obsession with a particular suspect, who turned out to be innocent.

An undercover officer, using the codename Lizzie James, was tasked with gaining insight into the life of Colin Stagg (Sion Daniel Young).

Colin was the prime suspect at the time and Lizzie was urged to push for more information.

However, Colin was an innocent man and the mental impact the undercover operation had on Lizzie was severe.

As a result, the real identity of the officer is protected by a lifetime anonymity order.

The real killer was Robert Napper, who was found to have suffered from mental health issues since he was a child.

As a result of childhood trauma, he would go on to carry out numerous sexual attacks on women, as well as three murders.

Colin Stagg was charged with Rachel’s murder and he was in custody for more than a year.

In 1994 the charge was dropped after Mr Justice Ognall removed Operation Edzell evidence from the trial.

He was later given compensation from the Metropolitan Police following the failings.

The executive producer for the TV series, David Nath, revealed the real-life Colin Stagg worked with them on the drama.

He wanted the wider public to understand the truth behind what happened and what he had been through.

Rachel had been stabbed to death by Napper and a lengthy investigation followed.

In December 2008, Napper admitted to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

He was already being detained at a high-security hospital following two previous murders.

He was ordered to remain there and it was unlikely he would ever be allowed out into the public again.

Rachel had been living with her partner and son at the time of her death, and she and her little boy had been walking their dog on Wimbledon Common.

They were passing through a secluded area when she was killed, with her infant son close by.

The police were under huge pressure to find the suspect as there had been public outrage.

A total of 32 men were questioned, with Colin targeted as someone who seemingly fitted the offender’s profile.

The real killer, Napper, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and Asperger’s syndrome.

Deceit airs on Channel 4 on August 13 at 9pm.

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