Man charged with unsolved murder of boy, 6, found strangled in wood 25 years ago

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A 38-year-old man has been charged in connection with the murder of a six-year-old schoolboy who was killed more than 25 years ago.
James Watson is accused of strangling Rikki Neave, whose body was found in woodland in Peterborough in November 1994.
Watson is due to appear at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, Cambridgeshire Live reports.

Rikki was last seen leaving for school at around 9am on Monday, November 28, 1994, from his home in Redmile Walk, Welland.

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

A post mortem examination concluded that Rikki had died as a result of compression of the neck, or strangulation.

Rikki’s mother, Ruth, was initially 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.

Assistant chief constable Paul Fullwood, who led the high profile investigation, 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.”

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. He was 13 at the time of the murder.

“Rikki Neave’s family have been informed.
“The 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.”