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Pariah - Colin Stagg

By Alan Metcalfe


It's a horrible generalisation, but you just know that a book is going to be cak when the font is large.  This is a train journey from Liverpool Lime Street to London Euston type-read, and John Steinbeck it ain't.  And it's ghost written.  Still, nothing ventured  . . . You will probably recall Colin Stagg as the tabloid-styled 'weirdo loner', who was in the frame, for years, for the horrific murder of Rachel Nickell, on Wimbledon Common, in 1992.  Stagg had been about on the day in question, and took far too much of an interest in the matter for the Police's liking.  So much so, that they set up a so-called 'honey-trap', which involved getting a pen-pal (really a female Police officer) to write him the most, ahem, 'salacious' letters you could ever dream up (actually drafted by senior bobbies and that fat 'Cracker' freak Paul Britton), and tried to get him to confess to the murder. 

The fact that there wasn't a shred of evidence, and the buck-toothed oddball didn't actually commit the crime, seemed also incidental to the Met's indecent pursuit of someone - anyone - to take the rap.  The 'Lizzie James' letters were, quite frankly, filth.  Full of moist things, bodily fluids, and the fact that 'she' would love it if he 'did' her with a knife.  Er, and make that 49 thrusts with said blade; rectal if sir would be so kind.  Jesus, how did that approach to modern-policing ever get sanctioned?  In the event, the attempt was pulled as - the cheeky bastard - Stagg refused to incriminate himself.  'Lizzie James' sued her own force, resigned, and got 125,000.  Stagg, meanwhile, continued (and continues) to be the local Aunt Sally, and legged by hooded youths everywhere he goes.  A fuckin' disgrace really.

A tragic tale, overall, not only for the Nickell family (who still think Stagg did it), but for Colin himself, whose quiet, Pagan weirdo lifestyle was ruined for ever one sunny summer morning in London. Whilst I would be lying if I said rush out and buy this, it's worth picking up from the library, although, if you're a quick reader, you could probably finish it there in one sitting, whilst you wait for some junior goth-type to fucking hurry up and finish the one copy of 'Q' that the cheapskates at Liverpool City Council place on display.
Postscript - Ex-Broadmoor inmate Robert Napper was formally charged, on Friday 25 January, with the murder, in 1992, of Rachel Nickell.




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