Page last updated at 13:08 GMT, Thursday, 18 December 2008

'Jazmine would have been 19 now'

By Sarah White
BBC News

The man who killed Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common went on to murder another young mother. Samantha Bissett and her four-year-old daughter Jazmine died horrifically at the hands of Robert Napper a year later. Samantha's boyfriend has spoken to the BBC about the case.

Samantha Bissett, 27, was stabbed to death and her daughter Jazmine sexually assaulted and smothered by Robert Napper in November 1993.

Ms Bissett's partner Conrad Ellam says detectives refused to connect the deaths with the attack on Rachel Nickell a year before, despite him asking about possible links.

Samantha and Jazmine Bissett
The first thing I saw was a stain on the carpet which turned out to be Sam's blood - I thought Jazmine had knocked paint over
Conrad Ellam

Mr Ellam, an environmental consultant, said: "Because it happened shortly after Rachel's killing, I asked police if they thought there was any connection. They said there were too many differences.

"But at the time they had Colin Stagg under surveillance and they were putting all their resources into that."

Mr Ellam vividly recalls the last conversation he had with his girlfriend on the doorstep of her house in south-east London.

Conrad Ellam talks about the impact Robert Napper has had on his life

"I remember standing outside, with Sam asking if I was coming back that night."

"I said I was going to the doctor's for vaccinations the next morning for our Gambian holiday we'd planned, so I was staying at my father's house nearby.

"It occurred to me later that Napper might have been watching and that might have been when he decided to kill them."

Mr Ellam is also haunted by the moment when he discovered the bodies the following day.

He said: "The first thing I saw was a stain on the carpet, which turned out to be Sam's blood. I couldn't tell so I thought Jazmine had knocked paint over.

Conrad Ellam, pictured with Samantha Bissett and her daughter Jazmine
I loved Jazmine as if she were my own
Conrad Ellam

"I went into the kitchen to find something to clean it up with and found the floor was covered in Sam's clothes. I thought there had been a burglary.

"I walked into the front room and saw Sam. It was a pile of clothes and blankets with her arms and legs sticking out.

"It took me a while to realise what had happened. I was in shock."

He said: "I went to phone the police and suddenly thought, 'What about Jazmine?'

"I looked in the bedroom and I could see she was in her bed with a duvet pulled over her. I just stood outside and chain-smoked until the police arrived.

"I couldn't really understand it all. I don't know how you're supposed to react to something like that," he added.

Mr Ellam, who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, thinks detectives could have caught Napper for the spate of up to 70 sex offences in south-east London parkland, which became known as the Green Chain rapes, a year earlier.

Had they, he believes Samantha and Jazmine would be alive today.

He said: "Their deaths could have been avoided, but there's no point me feeling bitter. It's very sad but I just accept it.

"I was more upset about Jazmine. She was so young, that's much more tragic.

"She'd be 19 now. When I see children who were her age I wonder what she would have been like.

"I loved Jazmine as if she were my own. She's the only child I've ever bonded with.

"She was a happy child, very easy to get on with. I'd take her to the swings and she'd think it was brilliant, like Christmas. I really did love her.

"It's left a void in my life."



Print Sponsor



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific