Rikki Neave inquiry remains open “until we bring those responsible for this terrible murder to justice”

Campaign to find the killer of Rikki Neave

Campaign to find the killer of Rikki Neave - Credit: Archant

Chief constable Simon Parr has promised that the Rikki Neave inquiry “remains open until we bring those responsible for this terrible murder to justice”.

ON THE BOX: Chief constable Simon Parr in a YouTube clip.

ON THE BOX: Chief constable Simon Parr in a YouTube clip. - Credit: Archant

He told NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay that the 20 year-old unsolved murder “is subject to regular review, as with any other unsolved homicide across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

“Whilst there are well documented austerity challenges for all public services this has never impacted on this investigation as we recognise this remains significant in the minds of the local community and family members who were affected by Rikki’s tragic death”.

The Cambridgeshire chief constable’s comments came following a meeting at the MP’s March office with Rikki’s mother, Ruth, her husband Gary and Cambs Times Editor John Elworthy.

Mr Barclay was briefed on the campaign by Ruth and Gary to persuade Cambs Police to look again at some of the many thousands of pages of evidence produced at the original trial.

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The MP highlighted some of the issues raised by the couple in his letter to Mr Parr.

Mrs Neave was acquitted of murder but jailed for seven years after admitting five charges of child cruelty.

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The strength of the findings from the evidence files will be discussed later this month when Mrs Neave and Gary meet Det Supt Paul Fullwood, head of the tri-force major crime unit for Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. Also present will be Mick Flavin, a former inspector and now part of the cold case review team.

Mrs Neave and her husband Gary have forwarded Det Supt Fullwood a power point presentation highlighting many of the areas they feel remain unanswered from the original inquiry.

They will also take with them to the meeting their compilations of time lines of witnesses who say they saw Rikki throughout the period prior to his murder and say they also have fresh issues to raise over the pathologist’s report.

Mr Parr cautioned Mr Barclay about raising expectations of finding fresh evidence and said none had emerged during a recent review.

Dismissing some of the questions raised by Mrs Neave he said this was “not fresh, new or compelling evidence that would justify a re-investigation and is only a small part of the original investigation”.

However Mr Parr agreed that advances in forensic science, technology and investigative techniques “have significantly developed since the original investigation.

“Please be absolutely assured that any cold case review always considers ‘forensic opportunities’ and the major crime unit has had significant success in this field, therefore this remains an active line of inquiry in all subsequent cold case reviews for this and any other serious crime investigation.”

He told the MP: “Whilst this clearly is an abhorrent and terrible crime, it is also worth highlighting that to open up a new major crime investigation involves significant resources, public costs and is no quick fix.

“With careful consideration, this is balanced against current homicide/major crime investigations across the three counties, which total around 59 major investigations as I write this letter.

“Sadly these include child deaths, victims of domestic homicide and other significant inquiries impacting on our local communities.

“I do fully appreciate the impact of this case on those affected, and there would be nothing more satisfying than bringing those persons responsible for the death of Rikki Neave to justice.

“Therefore we remain committed to ensuring that this investigation is subject to continual review and both Ruth Neave and Gary have been kept updated of our findings at key points.

“This case remains open until we bring those responsible for this terrible murder to justice.”

Mrs Neave said she was unwilling to comment until after the meeting with Mr Parr.

“On one point alone however I would say there are many alleged witnesses who were never questioned about their lies and never called into court. Had these people been called they would all have perjured themselves.

“As for no compelling evidence having at least six people not having any alibi seems compelling enough to me.”

* Rikki’s body was found close to his home in Peterborough 20 years ago next month: his killer remains at large. A recent Facebook campaign campaigning for the case to be re-opened has attracted interest from both this country and from America.

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