With prosecution decision in Rikki Neave murder case imminent, murdered boy's mum says she's happy with police inquiry no matter the outcome
PUBLISHED: 18:27 30 July 2017 | UPDATED: 18:27 30 July 2017
Police have given an expected timetable of when, or if, any charges are to be brought following a major re- investigation into the murder 23 years ago of six-year-old Rikki Neave.
For months a report by the major crimes unit of Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Police has rested with the Treasury Counsel, a specialist department within the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that handles the most serious and complex cases.
Their report is due be released to the CPS regional barrister – the person who would lead the prosecution at any subsequent trial - shortly and it then is considered in depth by the major crimes unit before a final decision on whether to charge is taken.
A final decision is expected by the end of August at the latest.
Paul Fullwood, who headed the major crimes until his recent promotion to assistant chief constable, has told Rikki’s mother Ruth that “this will always be a really tricky case as it is many years old and high profile.
“It has now been investigated further than anything I have previously been involved with.”
Mrs Neave was full of praise for the police hunt for her son’s killers.
She said that throughout the time the case has been re-opened “they have always kept me fully informed.
“The police have always said they want to get to the truth and wow, I think they have,
“It’s taken a hell of s long time but if they get to the truth, like they said they will, no amount or length of time matters .”
She said: “I have every bit of confidence for the police now and if they can’t charge anyone it’s not through not putting their time in because they have.
“Paul Fullwood and his team have put everything in to this investigation and it would be a shame if nothing comes of it. It’s been a very painful process and the time
has gone so fast but slow at the same time.”
She added: “I have utter respect for Paul and his team and they will get to the truth if they haven’t already
“The team have done so well to investigate this hard case but what I am thankful for that the police who have dealt with this is nothing like the team back in 1994 and 1995 who if they weren’t so glued to me it may have been solved then.
“They had all the evidence back then, the same evidence that the new team have and its turned out I never murdered Rikki - it was several people who covered their bums to get away with it and they did. So many lies were told 23 years ago and it had to be unravelled to get to the truth.”
A senior officers has assured Mrs Neave that meetings with the Treasury Counsel team have been “positive and yet challenging so they didn’t miss anything.
“We are all hopeful they will support a criminal justice outcome and in fairness they have instructed their very best people, however running parallel was our intention to discover the truth as to what happened all those years ago which hopefully whatever the outcome we will do”
He added that both he and all the team “really want to solve this case and bring Justice for Rikki more than any we’ve ever been involved with previously”.
Rikki was found strangled near his home on the Welland estate, Peterborough, in November 1994.
His mother was later charged but acquitted of his murder. She was sentenced to seven years prison for child cruelty and her remaining family were placed in care.
The one suspect now in the frame is James Watson, 35, who fled England a year ago after being arrested and then bailed in connection with the murder.
He was subsequently extradited and returned to prison – at the time he was on a lifetime licence for burning down a British Transport Police office in Peterborough.
The murder case was re-opened two years ago following a campaign by this newspaper.