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Family tell how 1994 murder of schoolboy Rikki Neave has haunted them after his killer is jailed for life



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The family of six-year-old Rikki Neave have told how his murder has “haunted them” and how they lost part of themselves on November 28, 1994.

They spoke after James Watson, 41, of no known address, was sentenced to life at the Old Bailey for committing the murder while aged 13.

It is believed Watson strangled Rikki using the zip from his coat in woodland on the Welland Estate in Peterborough.

Rikki Neave, 6, and his killer, James Watson, now 41
Rikki Neave, 6, and his killer, James Watson, now 41

His conviction followed the reopening of the case in 2015, after forensic techniques not available in 1994 showed Watson's DNA on tape used to take samples from Rikki's clothing.

Rikki Neave’s aunties, Sandra Chestney and Alison Harvey - the sister of Rikki’s late father Trevor Harvey, said: “Rikki’s father, Trevor, died nine years ago and the pain of losing Rikki never left him.

“He described Rikki as ‘the best boy in the world’ when he appealed for the public’s help in 1994 but just a few hours later learned his son had been murdered.

“Losing Rikki has affected us all and has haunted us as a family, but we are a strong family unit and have supported each other through these hard 27 years.

“Rikki’s memory lives on through us all and we have reminders of him all around us. We talk about his smile, his cheeky cheeks and his singing and dancing.

“He was full of life and is always with us.

“We think about the person who took Rikki’s life and left him in the cold. But we do not feel hatred, just pity.

“Rest in peace Rikki, our beautiful boy.”

Rikki Neave was the son of Ruth Neave and Trevor Harvey
Rikki Neave was the son of Ruth Neave and Trevor Harvey

Rikki’s older sister Rebecca Maria Harvey said: “I’ll be addressing Rikki as Rikki Lea Harvey today, his real name.

“Rikki was not just my brother; he was my entire world. He is and always will be a massive part of my life in fact, he was my life. The day he was murdered was the day I lost a part of me.

“He was just six, a baby and having him taken from us turned our lives upside down. My life has never been the same since his murder.

“I live my life for Rikki, always making him proud.

“After all these years Rikki has some justice and now the person responsible for his murder will finally pay for what he did to all of us.

“While you have been able to carry on with your life, having taken Rikki from us, at least you have finally got some comeuppance, but it still isn’t enough.

“My precious brother - Rikki Lea Harvey - can finally rest in peace.

“Rikki - I will always remember your giggle and cheeky cute smile.

“The best boy in the world. I will always love you - give daddy a kiss for me. Swalk.”

Police tape by woodland on the Welland Estate in Peterborough where Rikki Neave was strangled on November 28, 1994
Police tape by woodland on the Welland Estate in Peterborough where Rikki Neave was strangled on November 28, 1994

In a family statement, Rikki’s middle sister Rochelle Orr said: “I was only three when Rikki was murdered. After his death I was removed from my family and entered the care system and as a result have suffered severe mental health issues.

“I remember Rikki feeding me, washing me and helping me with my clothes.

“He has missed so much or our lives, happy times that we have had to face without our brother. I wonder what he would be like if he was still here but sadly, I will never know because he was taken from me.

“I wonder what type of uncle Rikki would have been and the relationship he would have had with his nieces and nephews. He has missed out on so much of our lives and the chance of being part of a loving family.

“Since Rikki’s murder I have struggled and always will. I have spent years grieving and as a family we have suffered but I hope today’s sentencing can give us some closure. Finally knowing what happened to my brother and that the person responsible has been found guilty.”

The coat of Rikki Neave, who was murdered in Peterborough at the age of 6
The coat of Rikki Neave, who was murdered in Peterborough at the age of 6

[Read more: Man jailed for life for murder of schoolboy Rikki Neave nearly 30 years ago]

And Rikki’s youngest sister Sheridan Orr said: “I was just a baby when Rikki was murdered and as a result I was removed from my family and entered the care system.

“I spent time in different foster families before settling with my adoptive parents, who I relied on heavily. If I was ever alone the fear of abandonment would make me physically sick and in need of rescuing.

“When my sister Rochelle and I were old enough we searched Rikki’s name on the internet and found out the full details of the case. Not knowing what happened to him all this time has messed up my mind.

“I often think of my big brother and whether he would have been my best friend, an uncle to my children and someone to support me through my struggles – but I will never know.

“I wonder what my life would be like if he was still here but sadly, I will never know as he was taken from me.

“I was so young when this happened that I will never know the full damage this has caused. But I do know it will affect me for the rest of my life.”



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