Man arrested and charged with murder of schoolboy Rikki Neave – more than 25 years after his death

PUBLISHED: 11:39 17 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:54 17 February 2020

A man has been arrested and charged with the murder of schoolboy Rikki Neave. Picture: Archant/FILE

A man has been arrested and charged with the murder of schoolboy Rikki Neave. Picture: Archant/FILE

Archant

A man has been arrested and charged with the murder of schoolboy Rikki Neave, police have revealed.

Ruth and Gary with editor John Elworthy after receiving the news. John has campaigned for six years to have the case reopened. Picture: John ElworthyRuth and Gary with editor John Elworthy after receiving the news. John has campaigned for six years to have the case reopened. Picture: John Elworthy

The news was given to his mother Ruth and her husband Gary just before 10.30am this morning (February 17) at Cambs police HQ in Huntingdon.

The suspect has been named as James Watson and he will appear at Peterborough Magistrates' Court on Thursday, February 20.

Rikki was found dead in woodland a few minutes walk from his home in Redmile Walk, Welland, Peterborough, on November 29 1994.

The six-year old had disappeared after leaving home to walk to school at about 9am the previous day. Tests showed he had been strangled.

File photo dated 28/11/14 of Ruth Neave, the mother of Rikki Neave. Picture: Ben Kendall/PA WireFile photo dated 28/11/14 of Ruth Neave, the mother of Rikki Neave. Picture: Ben Kendall/PA Wire

Rikki's uniform was found dumped in a nearby bin.

Chief Crown Prosecutor Chris Long, said: "Following the death of Rikki Neave in Peterborough in November 1994, the Crown Prosecution Service has today authorised Cambridgeshire Constabulary to charge James Watson, 38, with murder. Rikki Neave's family have been informed.

"This decision was made following careful consideration of all the evidence presented to us by Cambridgeshire Constabulary as a result of their cold case review and subsequent lengthy and complex investigation.

"Criminal proceedings against Mr Watson are now active and he has a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."

Undated handout file photo of six-year-old Rikki Neave. Picture: PA WireUndated handout file photo of six-year-old Rikki Neave. Picture: PA Wire

Originally Rikki's mother, Ruth, was accused of his murder, but she was later cleared of the killing and instead found guilty of child neglect and cruelty, and jailed for seven years.

In 2014, police looked again at the cold case and began re-investigating in 2015.

Ruth and Gary at Cambridgeshire Police HQ after they got the news. Picture: John Elworthy/ArchantRuth and Gary at Cambridgeshire Police HQ after they got the news. Picture: John Elworthy/Archant


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