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11 June 2015, 13:41
Cambridgeshire Police are today re-appealing for the public's help in solving the murder of a young boy in Peterborough almost 21 years ago.
The body of 6 year-old Rikki Neave was found in woodland near Peterborough's Welland Estate on November 29 1994. He was sprawled naked and had been strangled.
His mother Ruth Neave (pictured), now 45, was charged with murder but later found not guilty by a jury. She pleaded guilty to child neglect and cruelty and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
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 house in the Welland Estate.
A post mortem examination concluded that Rikki had died as a result of a compression of the neck - strangulation.
Despite a lengthy investigation at the time no one has ever been brought to justice in relation to Rikki's death.
Det Supt Paul Fullwood, who is leading the investigation and runs the three force Major Crime Unit, said:
"Following a detailed review by the Major Crime Unit's cold case team we are now in a position to re-launch the investigation into the murder of Rikki Neave in 1994.
There have been major forensic and technological developments in the past 20 years and significant changes in the way we approach murder investigations.
This investigation will be led by a team of dedicated officers from within the unit with specialist skills and knowledge in the investigation of major crime. We are also supported by specialist advisors in many key areas.
No unsolved major crime is ever closed and we continually review them to seek any new opportunities to gain closure for the families affected, justice for the victim and ensure those responsible are dealt with.
All murder is tragic but when a young child is involved it is truly devastating. We owe it to Rikki and his family to find whoever was responsible for his murder and ensure they are brought to justice.
We are therefore seeking the public's help and would particularly like to speak to people who came forward before but maybe did not tell us everything they knew or people who perhaps have information about the case but didn't want to talk to police at the time.
It may be that you were a child at the time and didn't want to speak up but now, as an adult and perhaps a parent yourself, you feel it is time to do so.
I strongly believe there are people out there who have significant information about Rikki's death and for a valid reason didn't speak to police at the time. Now is their opportunity to do the right thing and share that secret they have had to keep for more than 20 years."