Rikki Neave murder case formally re-opened; mobile police station to be set up on the Welland estate, Peterborough, where the six year-old lived.
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds of people are to be re-interviewed by detectives in the wake of a decision to re-open the investigation into the murder, 20 years ago, of former March schoolboy Rikki Neave.
The six year-old’s naked body was found in woodland on the Welland Estate, Peterborough, on November 24, 1994. His mum Ruth was charged with his murder but acquitted by a jury at Northampton Crown Court.
The decision to re-open the case was taken after en eight-month cold case review ordered by Det Supt Paul Fullwood, head of the major crime unit for Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
Last night he sent a mobile police station to the Welland Estate in the hope of finding new leads that will bring Rikki’s killer to justice.
Mrs Neave spent two hours with Det Supt Fullwood and his team yesterday morning prior to a press conference at which details of the fresh inquiry were revealed.
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“I told him I could kiss him,” said Mrs Neave. “It was such a shock to hear that we had finally been listened to and believed.”
An 18-month campaign by the Cambs Times helped support ‘detective’ work by Mrs Neave’s husband Gary Rogers, who she met seven years ago, and who began the trawl through thousands of police statements from the original trial.
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At the root of Mrs Neave’s questioning had been what they felt had been the “dismissal” by police at the time of numerous sightings of Rikki on the day he was murdered.
Mrs Neave said: “Gary had found at least 15 sightings but Det Supt Fullwood told me there were at least 50 recorded sightings of Rikki.”
Mrs Neave and Mr Rogers were driven by detectives to Huntingdon police station in the morning from their Cambridgeshire home.
Two and a half hours later Det Supt Fullwood addressed a news conference at police headquarters.
Mrs Neave said they had been told by Det Supt Fullwood that policing had changed dramatically since her son’s murder. Fresh forensic work had since been undertaken on evidence from the case and a second post-mortem examination, which was conducted at the time but not acted upon, will be re-examined.
Mrs Neave added: “We have got everything out of today that we wanted. I am totally utterly exhausted and shattered. All I want now is to go home and leave police to do their job.”
Det Supt Fullwood promised a “completely fresh investigation” into Rikki’s murder and said homicides are handled differently in 2015 to 1994.
He said: “All murder is tragic but when a young child is involved it is truly devastating. We owe it to Rikki and his family to find whoever is responsible for his murder and ensure they are brought to justice.
“We are therefore seeking the public’s help and would particularly like to speak to people who came forward before but maybe did not tell us everything they knew, or people who perhaps have information but didn’t want to talk to police at the time.
“It may be that you were a child at the time and didn’t want to speak up but now, as an adult and perhaps a parent yourself, you feel it is time to do so.
“I strongly believe there are people out there who have significant information about Rikki’s death and for a valid reason didn’t speak to police at the time. Now is their opportunity to do the right thing and share that secret they have had to keep for 20 years.”
Mrs Neave said: “There have been so many lies written about this case and about my family. I simply want the truth to come out.”
Rikki was last seen leaving for school at about 9am on Monday, November 28, 1994, from his home in Redmile Walk, Welland.
He is believed to have been wearing grey trousers, a white shirt, black shoes and a blue coat.
His body was found the following day in a wooded area off Eye Road, close to Willoughby Court, a five-minute walk from his house.
A post-mortem examination concluded that Rikki had died as a result of a compression of the neck – strangulation.
Det Supt Fullwood said: “This investigation will be led by a team of dedicated officers from within the unit with specialist skills and knowledge in the investigation of major crime. We are also supported by specialist advisors in many key areas.
“No unsolved major crime is ever closed and we continually review them to seek any new opportunities to gain closure for the families affected, justice for the victim and ensure those responsible are dealt with.”
If you have information, contact 01480 425882 or e-mail email@example.com. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, on 0800 555111.