Alex Hanscombe: who is Rachel Nickell’s son, who is his dad Andre, and what happened to them after her murder?
In new documentary Death on the Common: My Mother’s Murder, the victim’s son - who was two at the time of her murder - will explain the events surrounding her death from his own perspective
The murder of Rachel Nickell in 1992 shocked the nation, her two-year-old son was found beside her lifeless body on Wimbledon Common, she had been stabbed 49 times.
Channel 4 will air a new documentary, telling the story of her murder and the impact it had on her young son, from his perspective.
While he was only a toddler at the time, Alex will share how witnessing the murder of his mother has impacted him and relives the events of 15 July 1992.
So, who is Rachel Nickell’s son and what happened to him and her partner after Rachel’s murder? This is what we know, ahead of Murder on the Common airing on Channel 4.
Who is Alex Hanscombe?
Alex was just two years old when he became the sole witness to his mother’s murder, at the hands of calculated killer Robert Napper.
He was found by a passer by, clinging to her lifeless body and repeating “wake up mummy”.
He was just one month short of his third birthday when the crime took place on Wimbledon Common, southwest London.
Alex has previously recalled how he was not interviewed until three weeks after the attack, but recalls so much about what happened in the hours leading up to and immediately following Rachel’s murder.
Following the murder, he and his father Andre moved to Barcelona and remain living in the Spanish city.
Alex now works as a yoga instructor and has revealed he has returned to the scene of Rachel’s murder and does not resent her killer.
What happened to Alex?
Now 32-years-old, Alex has recalled the events of that day and how he was told his mother had died.
Alex said he woke up that morning and play-fought with his dad before enjoying a cooked breakfast with his mum and dad.
His mum then got him dressed for the day ahead and took him on a walk to Wimbledon Common with their dog, Mollie.
He told The Sun: "There was beautiful sunshine and I remember the sound of people having picnics in the grass and our dog Molly circling around us.
“We saw a stranger who was lurching towards us and he had a black bag over his shoulder.
“Then I was grabbed and thrown to the ground, my face dragged across the mud. A few seconds later my mother collapsed beside me. I picked myself up as fast as I could.
“I was slightly dizzy and disorientated and I spotted the stranger walking to the stream. Everything was fast.
“He started to wash the blood off his hands. He just disappeared off into the distance like a ghost.”
Alex recalls scrambling to his feet seconds later and walking towards his mum, repeating “Get up, mummy.”
He said he noticed a piece of paper next to her, which transpired to be a cash machine receipt, and placed it on her before realising she was dead and not playing a game.
“I was very young but I knew at that moment she had gone and she was never coming back,” he explained.
“I reached down and placed the piece of paper delicately upon her forehead so it would be with her, wherever she was."
He then ran towards an opening in the lane he had been walking down with his mum, where he was spotted by passers by, alone and covered in blood. It was then that his mother’s body was discovered.
Rachel had been stabbed 49 times, sexually assaulted and her throat cut.
Alex was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital and reunited with his father. He was then told by Andre: “There’s been a terrible accident. Mummy has been killed.”
What has Alex said of the impact his mother’s death had on him?
Alex was interviewed by Lorraine Kelly on her ITV talk show on 7 September, where he told her he felt the memory of his mother’s death was etched on his memory stronger than any other of his childhood.
He said: “I feel when we go through things as children and we go through a life-changing experience, as hard as it may be to believe, sometimes those memories may stay stronger with you than any other memories of your entire childhood.”
He continued: “All the details people have talked about, absolutely, but it doesn’t happen like in the movies."
Andre, 54, appeared alongside his son on Lorraine, telling her: “The very fact you’re looking after a small child who is such a big call on your energy - the schedule, routine, getting fed, getting clothes on his back, going through the activities of every day, in a way that routine pulls you through.
“Another thing people find really difficult to really comprehend is that during the day when he was good, he was very good, so his desire to go out and play and get on with life was good, but it was only really at night the demons really hit with nightmares.”
When is Death on the Common on Channel 4?
Death on the Common: My mother’s murder will air on Channel 4 on Tuesday, 7 September at 10pm. It will also be available on All4.
The documentary will tell the story of the murder of Rachel, through the eyes of Alex.
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