Man charged with 1994 murder of schoolboy Rikki Neave

A 38-year-old man has been charged with the 1994 murder of six-year-old schoolboy Rikki Neave.

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

He had disappeared after leaving home to walk to school at about 9am the previous day. Tests showed he had been strangled.

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

Rikki Neave death
Rikki Neave’s mother, Ruth, at a previous appeal for information about her son’s death (Ben Kendall/PA)

On Monday, the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit said James Watson, of no fixed address, had been charged with murder.

He will appear at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

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.

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.”

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