Ruth Neave ‘totally numb’ after man arrested and charged for her son Rikki Neave’s murder
- Credit: Archant
Ruth Neave, the mother of murdered schoolboy Rikki Neave, spoke of being “overwhelmed” and “totally numb” after a suspect was arrested and charged with her son’s murder.
Mrs Neave spoke briefly after being told the news of the arrest and charge by assistant chief constable Paul Fullwood on Monday, February 17.
Mr Fullwood had initiated the cold case inquiry into Rikki's death, but the case stalled when the CPS refused to prosecute.
However, Mrs Neave was encouraged to ask for a victim's right to review and following a further 18-month inquiry - and collation of new forensic evidence - gave the go ahead for today's arrest.
In a letter to Mrs Neave, the CPS apologised for the time it had taken for the review and then to communicate the outcome to her.
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"There is a considerable amount of material in this case which had to be given the most careful scrutiny"
The CPS said it had been "critical that no stone was left unturned before a final decision could be reached."
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However, they said they now believed "there is sufficient evidence for there to be a realistic prospect of conviction in this case and that a prosecution is in the public interest".
Mrs Neave and her husband Gary were invited to police headquarters in Huntingdon today to hear the outcome of that review.
At 11.10am and whilst Mr Fullwood was outlining the sequence of events of the murder inquiry, suddenly announced the CPS decision.
James Watson, 38, of no fixed abode, has been charged with the murder of Rikki Neave and is due to appear at Peterborough Magistrates' Court on Thursday (20).
Mr Fullwood said: "The cold case review into Rikki's murder was undertaken by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit in 2014.
"We began re-investigating the case in 2015 and following extensive investigative work, we have now been authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service to charge James Watson in connection with his death."
Rikki was last seen leaving for school at around 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. Rikki's body was found in a wooded area off Eye Road, close to Willoughby Court, the following day - five minutes' Walk from his home in the Welland Estate.
A post-mortem examination concluded that Rikki had died as a result of compression of the neck - strangulation.
Mrs Neave said: "I am overwhelmed and in truth totally numb. This has always been about getting justice for my son Rikki.
"I'd like to thank Paul Fullwood and his team for their work and effort in getting us to this moment. The news has not yet sunk in."
She added: "The courtesy and care shown to me by Mr Fullwood and his colleagues has exceeded by far the expectations I had.
"Today's news is welcome, but it is only part of a much longer journey that still has some way to run. It would be inappropriate to comment further but what I am looking forward to is a good night's sleep.
"That has been lacking over many years. I would also like to place on record the love and support of my husband Gary.
"I cannot express fully how much I love him and the work he has put in to make the events of today possible."
The murder hunt for the killer of the six hear-old schoolboy lay dormant until the Cambs Times was approached by Ruth's husband Gary and a campaign began to persuade police to reopen the case.