Major crimes head will meet mother of murdered schoolboy Rikki Neave but insists there’s no fresh evidence to re-open inquiry
PUBLISHED: 16:41 06 August 2014
The head of Cambridgeshire’s ‘cold cases’ murder team is to meet the mother of murdered school boy Rikki Neave but has ruled out re-opening the 20 year-old murder mystery.
Ruth Neave was originally charged with her son’s murder but acquitted by a jury at Northampton Crown Court. She was found guilty of child abuse, however, and jailed for seven years.
But for the past two years Mrs Neave has campaigned to have the murder case re-opened and believes statements taken at the time – to which she now has access-indicate sufficient cause to have the murder re-investigated.
Detective Superintendent Paul Fullwood, head of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, told Mrs Neave this week he was “more than happy” to meet both her and her husband Gary.
He hopes to set up a meeting in early September but also explained, in an email to an American peace officer from Texas who has also launched a fresh campaign in support of Mrs Neave that he was yet to find any fresh evidence to warrant a new inquiry.
He told the American, Carrie Driscoll, that his department would normally investigate up to 50 major crimes a year across three counties.
These, he said, could mean involvement “early on in the investigation, going through the court process or cold cases which span back several years similar to this tragic case.
“In this case this investigation was recently subject of a ‘cold case’ review by the Bedfordshire/Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit.
“Following the review Ruth was subsequently updated there had been no fresh evidence or new lines of enquiry that would justify re-opening and investigating this case again.
“I do appreciate this was a huge disappointment, however I am sure you will understand with the numerous investigations we have ongoing we base decisions on fresh information or evidence to justify such action.
“I also understand there is a YouTube site and social media site dedicated to Rikki Neave, whilst I do totally understand the emotive nature of such a campaign, I also understand the content contains documents from the original court case in which Ruth was acquitted and also recent covert recordings of the review officers findings.
“I am sure you will understand but we have been contacted by people involved in the original court case concerned these are now in the public domain and I would respectfully ask that the campaign remains focused on Rikki to seek out new information/fresh evidence to discover the truth, and so it doesn’t undermine any future reinvestigation of Rikki’s death or we cause undue concern for others who were part of the original investigation.”
He told Mrs Driscoll: “To be clear I do fully understand that you and Ruth would want a fresh reinvestigation now and this is a very emotive issue. However in the absence of new and or compelling information made available to the Beds/Cambs/Herts Major Crime Unit this won’t be reinvestigated at this time, however as with all unsolved murders we always keep an open mind and will review again if fresh information or evidence is apparent.”
Mrs Driscoll has replied to Det Chief Supt Fullwood explaining that her Facebook and social media campaign might well have “speculated about the possible involvement of certain individuals, no one was ever ‘accused.’ I know some of the prior individuals made that claim but the logs from the group prove otherwise.”
She said: “Per the YouTube video, I am not sure what evidence is actually on that. “That was done as a general outline of the case. No names were mentioned I was careful not to release anything in that public forum to hamper a new investigation.
“As far as ‘new’ evidence, I have offered assistance in that regard to establish a window for time of death and it has been declined.
“I am confused by this because I know that as funding is short and time is precious, our agencies jump at the chance for outside help.
“As I am NOT a certified pathologist, I have located one in the US who is very highly regarded in every facet of his career”
She said: “He is willing to assist. However I am not sure why Dr. Cary (the Home Office pathologist) hasn’t supplied something solid for a window of time in which Rikki could have been murdered and possibly placed there. This seems to be paramount to substantiating alibis and ruling out suspects.
“At this point, it appears that individuals have to account for the 27.5 hours that Rikki was missing instead of the actual time frame concerning his death. If Dr. Cary is unable to supply this information then why not let this pathologist take a crack at it? If he still can’t establish a time of death, you lost nothing. However, if he is able to do so, you have a whole new time line to consider and can build a prosecutable case.”
Mrs Driscoll said: “I’d also like to be clear on a few things. I consider myself a ‘rookie’ peace officer and I am not currently commissioned by an agency. When I had questions on issues with this case I have asked those wiser and more experienced to explain it.
“That being said, I have serious doubts that Ruth Neave committed the crime but I can’t be certain without being privy to all of the facts. If she did this, she did it and I have told her as much. This is not about Ruth but about Rikki. I am not asking to be a part of any investigation over there.
“I am not asking to be updated. I am asking you to accept the offer of assistance in establishing a time of death or that you request that Dr. Cary look over the case and see if new technology or time has changed his opinion in any way. If either doctor is able to do so, I would ask that you put officers back on it and ensure that justice is done for that little boy. I ask for this not for Ruth but for Rikki, sir.”
She told Det Chief Supt Fullwood that there is “a lot of interest in the United States for obtaining justice for Rikki.
“If you would like to take part in our discussions, you are certainly welcome.”