‘It was just me and my mum,’ Georgina, a pretty woman from Chiswick starts. ‘I was fifteen when we started to hear heavy breathing on the phone and see someone in our garden.’
    For someone recounting their experience with an infamous serial killer and rapist, she is surprisingly nonchalant. 

‘One night, me and my mum both planned to be out for the night. But for whatever reason, I decided to come home, into the back room; I kept having this feeling. When I had walked through the door I thought there had been someone behind me but I looked…’ Georgina’s nonchalance slips a little. ‘There was no one there.’
    ‘But I got into bed, bit uneasy, went to sleep. Next thing I know, my mum is waking me up, saying ‘there’s someone outside, there’s someone outside, there’s someone outside,’ Georgina repeats her mother’s words as though they are a frantic mantra. ‘Despite the plan, my mum had decided she was coming home that night too. As she came in, she had seen a shadow run away in the frosted glass. Someone had been right behind her.’
    A shudder.
    ‘We called the police. Within what felt like 30 seconds, cars turned up outside our house, all plain-clothes policemen. They all ran about the house and found this bloke hiding at the back of the garden. But he jumped the fence.’
    It is haunting; the thought of a stranger being a pair of eyes in your hedge, or a breath away from your ponytail.
    ‘He got away. They [the police] asked us to describe him. I knew he had a white coat on, that’s all I remember.’
    The muscles, the nerves in her face clearly remember more, even if Georgina does not.
    ‘About two weeks later, my mum went on holiday and I was getting some clothes to stay with my friend. When the key was in the lock, I looked through the house and saw this bloke standing, looking at me through the back door. I thought: I need to run now, or phone the police from the hallway.’ To attack or defend? To checkmate or to save yourself? ‘As I opened the door, he started rattling the door handle.’
    ‘He’: that is what we call the killer.
    ‘As soon as he saw I was on the phone, he ran off. We never saw him again.’
    ‘A few years later, there’s a really famous case of Rachel Nickell. She was walking with her three-year-old son on Wimbledon Common, and she got brutally killed in front of her little boy.’
    ‘I remember that morning when I opened the paper and it said Rachel Nickell murderer finally found I thought: oh my god! I just think…how close were my mum and I to not being here? I instantly recognised the man who was in our garden: Robert Napper.’
    ‘I wonder about how many things happen and how things could have been so different. If one of us hadn’t come home that night. Who knows?’
    I ask her if she thinks the event had an impact on her life.  

     ‘No,’ is her response, ‘I think if it had been a different time, and the police would have said that that’s Robert Napper and he killed someone and did all that, I’d search him up and I’d be freaked out. I didn’t realise how serious it was.’
    I guess Napper didn’t take life and death too seriously. Like a game of chess, where the figures in white take the first move.