BBC Crimewatch to reveal ‘exclusive new leads’ in a bid to find who killed six-year-old Rikki Neave 21 years ago

Rikki Neave.

Rikki Neave. - Credit: Archant

An estimated five millions viewers are expected to tune in to BBC Crimewatch on Monday as police reveal “exclusive new leads” in the hunt to find who killed six-year-old Rikki Neave nearly 21 years ago.

Rikki Neave.

Rikki Neave. - Credit: Archant

Cold case detectives who re-opened the murder hunt earlier this year have visited Mrs Neave at her Cambridgeshire home to give details of the new leads that will be broadcast.

“Rikki was an innocent boy who was murdered and those responsible have walked around free for 21 years,” she said.

“The police have explained to me about the Crimewatch programme and told me exactly what is going to be revealed. It is as a result of people coming forward since the inquiry was re-opened that we now have fresh hope of finding the killer.. They told me when they left that they need just one phone call on Monday and we may, at last, discover what happened to my son.”

Officers from the Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire major crimes unit will be in the Cardiff studios of the BBC as Crimewatch goes out – viewers will get an update on the fresh appeal later in the evening.

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Mrs Neave has recorded an interview for the programme but remains undecided whether she can bear to watch the transmission.

“They’ve told me they have done a re-construction of Rikki’s movements in the hours before he was murdered,” she said. “I am not sure I will be able to watch it.”

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Since a new police team from the major crimes unit launched the fresh 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.

Rikki was last seen leaving for school at around 8.30am on Monday, November 28, 1994, from his home in Redmile Walk. He is believed to have been wearing grey trousers, a red jumper, a white shirt, black shoes and a blue coat.

A post mortem examination concluded that Rikki had died as a result of a compression of the neck – strangulation.

Det Chief Inspector Richard Wall said: “We have had a fantastic response from the public, re-interviewing witnesses from the original investigation as well as people who weren’t spoken to at the time.

“Although almost 21 years on people have been able to give us some really useful information which is helping to build that timeline of events which led up to Rikki’s murder.”

Mrs Neave has denied ever harming her children although she served a seven-year prison sentence after admitting child neglect and cruelty.

She was also charged with Rikki’s murder but found not guilty by a jury.

RIKKI’S LAST DAY – by Ruth Neave

“As a normal Monday I went to the Post Office to get my money.

I thought Rikki had gone to school; they were supposed to ring if he wasn’t there, but they didn’t.

“By 5 pm I was worried that he had not come home

It was a nightmare; then someone said they had seen him so I thought he was messing around as he 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’.

“But he never came home again.

“When I heard he had been murdered and stripped naked, that killed me, my life ended then.

“I did not lose just Rikki- I lost his sisters too as I was blamed for murdering him.

“Apparently I was threatening to kill him all the time; yes I used to shout but never did I ever hurt him or beat him up or hung him off the bridge in March, like some claimed.

“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 undertakers for the funeral and Rock n Roll Dreams Comes True by Meatloaf playing.

“Rikki’s coffin was so small I could not deal with it.

“When I got arrested I was even more traumatised.

“I lost all hope, and no access to my kids broke my heart.”

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