How police equated neglect and cruelty accusations with murder and charged Ruth Neave accordingly
12:45 31 January 2014
The events surrounding Rikki’s death fused into a line of inquiry that led police to build up a case that equated allegations of neglect with the contention that she had also committed murder.
Today Ruth may be crippled with arthritis and in need of constant care (her husband has taken early retirement to care for her full-time) a steely determination remains to win the right to have the murder investigation re-opened.
Last summer she called at a police station on the outskirts of Cambridge to begin the campaign to have the case re-opened and later two detectives visited her and Gary at their flat.
She began spelling out those concerns to both officers.
She felt that detectives at the time seized on minutiae and used innocuous findings to build the case against her, quoting an issue about black magic and the occult as an example.
“There was talk of Rikki being laid out naked in some form of sacrificial ritual and because they ‘found’ things in my home this was so called ‘evidence’ against me,” she says. “I did not think Tarot card reading and having books about people who murder was an issue but it became the main issue at the trial.
“But these were books of all sorts, some about the paranormals, murder, spells, true crimes and even books about bent coppers.
“So are they are saying people today who watch Crime Scene Investigation and programmes like that on TV are going to commit murder?
“Of course I have always had different tastes and interests in all sorts and in that I’m no different from anyone else.”
Among her worse nightmares, she says, was the questioning by police about a picture on a magazine she had in her home “of the virtual man which Panorama used at the beginning of its TV programme.
“Suddenly it’s the ‘breakthrough’ police were looking for as I get told by police I laid my son out like that in some sort of spurious sacrifice.
“When I recently read the opening speech at my trial by the prosecution he clearly states that even Rikki’s fingers and thumbs have been positioned”.
She has asked police for the photos of Rikki’s dead body so she can see for herself - for the first time - how he was found.
She said: “At the time I was shown a picture of my son where he was found but only for a few seconds because I was so upset by it. I threw it down but now I have asked detectives if I can see it again because I want to know what it was about him being laid out in that way. To date they have categorically refused.
“Why are police not reopening the murder case? Gary and I have given them new leads and evidence [of which more later] yet here we are nearly 20 years on and police still think I murdered Rikki.”
Ruth Neave believes there is forensic evidence still held by police that, with advanced DNA techniques, could unlock the riddle of Rikki’s killer.
She also believes she has spotted discrepancies in statements made by witnesses at the time and of leads not pursued, she claims, by police.