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Cambridge man to appear at Old Bailey tomorrow after being charged with murder of schoolboy

A man has today been charged with murdering a six-year-old schoolboy in Peterborough 25 years ago and will appear at the Old Bailey in London tomorrow.

Murdered schoolboy Rikki Neave
Murdered schoolboy Rikki Neave

James Watson, 38, of no fixed abode, who would have been aged 13 at the time of the offence, is charged with the murder of Rikki Neave and will now appear at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) in London tomorrow (February 21).

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Fullwood, who has 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.”

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.

Rikki’s mum Ruth Neave was arrested at a home in Chatteris in 1995 and charged with murder but later found not guilty by a jury.

But she admitted charges of child cruelty to Rikki and his two sisters and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

In November 2014, she appealed to police to reopen the unsolved case. A cold case review led to the investigation officially reopening in June 2015.

Ruth, who moved to the outskirts of Cambridge to start a new life, helped police appeal for information.

In November 2019, she issued a poignant video reminding everyone that her son’s killer had not been brought to justice.

She was said to be “overwhelmed” and “numb” at the progress in the case.

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