Rikki Neave murder suspect reveals how he smuggled himself out of the UK on a motor home and made his way to Portugal

James Watson

James Watson - Credit: Archant

A suspect in the murder of Rikki Neave has revealed his identity through a series of messages and photos posted on Facebook.

James Watson

James Watson - Credit: Archant

The 35-year-old Peterborough man, who left the country whilst on police ball in connection with the murder, is in Portugal.

Until today the identity of the suspect has been known only to a handful but in a series of messages and photos posted on Facebook – and sent separately to journalists- his name has been revealed.

James Watson told how he fled the country making his way firstly to Calais via Dover before crossing Europe to Portugal.

Watson was arrested in April of this year and given police bail to return to a Cambridgeshire police station on September 20.

Rikki Neave, Crime Watch,

Rikki Neave, Crime Watch, - Credit: Archant

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Bail conditions including living at a hostel outside of Cambridgeshire (in Northamptonshire) and his movements managed by another force.

Police were made aware on July 15 that Watson had breached his police bail by travelling overseas and UK police began talks with police on the continent to locate him and ensure his return to this country.

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A police spokesman said: “We have reason to believe that the 35-year-old man from Peterborough who was arrested in connection with the historic murder of six-year-old Rikki Neave left the country while on police bail.

“We have been in communication with him and are working with him and partner agencies in order for him to return to the UK promptly.”

Watson had been living in the bail hostel when he disappeared on July 15. He told family and friends he smuggled himself out of England in a motor home.

He said: “The best thing is I don’t even have a passport. I just walked out of our country. Me and a mate left the UK in a mobile home.

“Booked it on the ferry, drove on and that was that. No checks, nothing.”

In one of his messages he said “it has been the most stressful time of my 35 years. “I’m getting the sun on me and making some memories for dark days.” His photos have included numerous selfies of him sight seeing whilst others show him sunbathing on beaches – occasionally in the nude.

A source close to Watson said: “I think he has been enjoying himself too much. He has been drinking beer and lying around on the beach all day living it up.

“I have told him that he is breaking his bail and is not where he should be. He should be going back to the hostel.”

Police have told the murdered schoolboy’s mum Ruth – who stood trial for the murder but was acquitted- that they are aware of her frustration around the current situation.

However she has been told by a senior officer that “I wanted to reassure you that every effort is being made to secure the suspect’s return to the UK and his breach will be dealt with on his return to the UK by the Police and other agencies”.

Rikki Neave was last seen leaving his home on the Welland estate in Peterborough on November 28, 1994. His naked body was found in nearby woodland the following day. A post-mortem examination found he had been strangled.

Following a campaign by the Cambs Times, the murder case was re-opened a year ago and in April of this year they arrested the suspect who was initially bailed to June 15.

I understand that the Crown Prosecution Service has asked police to provide further evidence ahead of any likely charge of the suspect.

Mrs Neave said: “I am very anxious about all of this; I am under a lot of pressure and I have had to get some sedation to calm my nerves because they have been shot to pieces.”

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