A letter from a mum to her murdered son 21 years after he was found stripped and strangled in woods in Peterborough
- Credit: Archant
As it approaches the 21st anniversary of the death of Rikki Neave his mother Ruth has written a heartfelt letter to the son who she says was a joy to have.
A campaign by the Cambs Times helped prompt police to reopen the case in the summer and on Monday November 16 the six year old’s story is set to be screened on the BBC’s Crimewatch. Since a new police team from the major crimes unit of Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire police launched the investigation in June they have taken hundreds of fresh statements and taken numerous phone calls to help solve the murder. The team continue to trace Rikki’s last movements and believe they have a much more detailed picture of what Rikki did on November 28 1994.His body was found early the next day, sprawled out in woodland near his Peterborough home. Police say they have been able to take advantage of the latest forensic and technological advances, speak to new witnesses and build a clearer picture of Rikki’s last movements.
RUTH’S LETTER TO HER SON RIKKI
My Dear Rikki Lea,
You were the best little boy I could ever wish for, a joy to have, a chunky monkey with dimples so cute and deep blue eyes that would melt my heart.
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When I went out with you I was so proud, everyone loved you. We were inseparable.
You were always a mummy’s boy, and that was cool, I sometimes had to walk around the streets for you to fall asleep and you went through stages of biting people but you grew out of that, you were forever giving kisses to everyone, such a loving child.
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It hurts me to do this letter, I have cried and cried and it never gets any better through the 21 years.
I told your Dad that it was best to leave - my fatal mistake was moving to Peterborough.
I liked it for a start, until I found out the man I married was a druggie and was always being arrested.
I know Rikki, you hated him from the word go.
I remember he was under a car in the back garden and you on purpose removed the jack from the car and he ended up with cracked ribs.
I am so sorry that I gave you too much freedom, I always kept a close eye on you, or my neighbour would if they were out and about.
You were not running around the estate in bare feet as people suggest, you were not out late, only when I had to baby sit quite often than not, which looking back I should not have done.
Every day I took you to school, hand you in and go home, I was told you were running out of school and roaming around the estate.
So my husband at the time and I urged the school to ring if the kids did not turn up or left early.
The fatal mistake was putting you into respite care, I was having a very bad pregnancy and my husband at the time did not want to deal with you or your sister.
Reluctantly I rang Social Services but I never said if you do not take these kids I will kill them, that is utter rubbish.
After a week, you came back to me, you had changed so much.
I’m so glad you came home but you were not happy, you seemed so sad my man, I tried so hard to help you but I never thought that placing you into care would destroy you the way it did.
I let you down by putting you into care and the same to your sister.
The weekend before your death was strange, you weren’t telling me the truth about going out burgling with teenagers, this was the night before you went missing.
The morning you went missing I woke you up and you shouted to your sister and then argued with her.
I had been up all night with one of your sisters, I felt terrible, but you got up, got dressed, and without a word ran out of the door.
I shouted at you, but you were gone.
As a normal Monday I went to the Post Office to get my money.
I thought you had gone to school, they were supposed to ring if you weren’t there, but they didn’t.
By 5 pm I was worried that you had not come home
It was a nightmare, then someone said they had seen you so I thought you were messing around as you did.
The house was searched straight away when police first got there.
I could not believe this was happening to me.
All I wanted to say was, come home Rikki you are not in trouble.
You never came home again.
When I heard you had been murdered and stripped naked, that killed me, my life ended then.
I did not lose just you I lost your sisters too and blamed for murdering you.
Apparently I was threatening to kill you all the time, yes I used to shout to you , never did I ever hurt you like beat you up or hang you off the bridge, it is insane.
The funeral was like a circus, press everywhere, police presence at the funeral, I could not say anything I was traumatised.
All I remember is paying George Brewin and Rock n Roll Dreams Comes True by Meatloaf playing.
Your coffin was so small I could not deal with it.
When I got arrested I was even more traumatised.
I lost all hope, no access to my kids broke my heart, then the trial.
That was an accident waiting to happen, my team did not do the right thing apart from make me plead guilty to neglect.
I was never treated like a celebrity in prison, I had some bad times and very good ones, you have to make your situation the best you can or if not you go under.
I will never forget prison as long as I live.
Thanks to your strength Rikki, I got through.
We were always strong together.
I am so sorry I never took you to school, Rikki, I have never forgotten that.
I have been out for nearly 16 years and there has never been a moment that goes by that I do not miss you,.
Everyday you would say mum I love you lotses and lotses with a whopper of a cherry on toppers and I would say that to you.
The first couple of years I tried to make waves but no one listened, after that I hoped one day the police would re-open the case.
As years went by, I found a super guy called Gary Rogers, I told Gary all about you, he read about it on the internet and said: “I will give you and Rikki something no one has, that’s justice and peace for you and Rikki. I promise you that.”
After a lot of effort we got all the files and contacted John Elworthy at the Cambs Times.
In January 2016 it will be two years we have been fighting for justice for Rikki.
John was the only one who took it on. That bloke has balls, no one else wanted to do it.
After presenting the police with new, fresh and compelling evidence the case was reopened.
I was not the greatest Mum in the world but I wasn’t the worst, I have never forgiven myself but hope we can get justice for you.
I love you lotses and lotses with a whopper of a cherry on toppers.