Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Monday, 16 November 2009

Nickell partner in Stagg apology

Colin Stagg
Colin Stagg was wrongly accused of murder and spent 13 months in jail

A man wrongly accused of murdering former model Rachel Nickell in 1992 has said he is "very touched" by a written apology from her boyfriend.

Ms Nickell, 23, was stabbed 49 times while walking with her two-year-old son on London's Wimbledon Common.

Colin Stagg was cleared of her murder by the Old Bailey in 1994, after spending 13 months on remand.

Mr Stagg said it must have been "difficult" for Andre Hanscombe to apologise after hating him for years.

Mr Stagg was awarded £706,000 in compensation from the Home Office in 2008 for wrongful arrest.

Robert Napper, 42, was jailed indefinitely last December after he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Ms Nickell on the grounds of diminished responsibility 16 years after the killing.

Rachel Nickell
Rachel Nickell was stabbed 49 times as she walked with her son

Alex Tribick, Mr Stagg's lawyer, confirmed that his client was "very pleased and very touched" by the letter from Mr Hanscombe, who now lives in France with his and Ms Nickell's son.

Mr Stagg said: "It was a really kind gesture. I know how difficult it must have been for him to make.

"Understandably he spent years hating me. To him I was the man who destroyed the love of his life.

"After all those years it must have been very hard to come to terms with the proof that I was innocent.

"I accept his apology with gratitude. It means a lot to me," Mr Stagg said.

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