Cambs Mother In Plea Over Son's Murder

A Peterborough woman has insisted she never hurt anyone as she made a fresh appeal for information on the 20th anniversary of her son's murder.

The body of 6 year-old Rikki Neave was found naked in woodland near Peterborough's Welland Estate on November 29 1994. He had been strangled.

His mother, Ruth Neave, 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.

The case caused a national outcry after details of horrific abuse led to one national newspaper branding her "evil" and Mrs Neave, now 45, acknowledged that the perception of her guilt still lingered.

She held a press conference at the Oliver Cromwell Hotel in March and appealed for new information to catch her son's killer.

She said she had been pressurised into pleading guilty to the other offences and said Cambridgeshire Police had wrongly charged her because she was an "easy target".

But as she restated her innocence, protestors gathered outside the hotel objecting to her continuing to raise the case.

Meanwhile her daughter, Rochelle Neave told the Press Association said: "Although I was only young, I can still remember the abuse. I can remember her dragging my sister up the stairs by her hair and there was never any food in the house. She spent all her money on drugs.

I don't know why she's dragging this up 20 years later. She should let it lie.

She may have been cleared of murder but she was convicted of cruelty and I don't think the police will find anybody else responsible for his death."

Rikki had been on social services "at risk" register and there had been a history of abuse by Mrs Neave, who was a drug addict at the time, her trial heard.

Mrs Neave said her other children, who were all taken into care and later adopted, had been "brainwashed" against her and had frozen her out of their lives. If they want to talk to me, they know where I am" she added.

"I will prove that I should never have been accused of cruelty."

Mrs Neave said she had evidence that Rikki was in fact killed by a sex abuse gang and that this has been handed to Cambridgeshire Police.

She added: "I loved Rikki, he was a wonderful child.  For the last 20 years, I have been going through living hell from the public opinion of me caused by all the lies. I wasn't a perfect mother but I never hurt my children and I should never have admitted to those offences. All I want now is justice and for his killers to be caught. I know people out there think I'm a murderer but I'm determined to prove that somebody else did this to my boy."

She hopes Cambridgeshire Police will act on her concerns within the next four months.

Steven Fox, 45, was among the protestors outside the hotel.

He said: "As a single dad bringing up two boys who suffered abuse from their mother, I don't think it's appropriate that she's doing this here. The local community still feels very strongly about what she did and feelings still run deep."

Detective Superintendent Paul Fullwood, from Cambridgeshire Police, said any action taken by the family is "a matter for them" adding: "We had a positive meeting with Mrs Neave and her husband Gary last month and have agreed to re-examine a number of matters they raised. This will take some time to do properly.

At this stage there remains insufficient evidence to start a fresh investigation, however this case will always remain open until those responsible for the tragic death of Rikki can be brought to justice."