Rikki Neave Murder Mystery Solved by Weetabix Clue After Killer Escapes Justice

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The family of strangled schoolboy Rikki Neave will find out how long his killer will be locked up after waiting nearly 28 years for justice.

Rikki was six when he was lured into the woods near his Peterborough home and strangled by James Watson.

Police initially charged Rikki’s mother, Ruth Neave, with the murder after the boy’s body was discovered just 500 yards from his family home, but she was acquitted after a trial. She was then caged for seven years for child neglect.

New evidence later emerged, leading police back to Watson, who was 13 on November 28, 1994 when the murder took place, and had been questioned at the time.



Police originally charged Rikki’s mother, Ruth Neave, with the murder

An Old Bailey jury found him guilty, ending the case after nearly three decades of searching for answers, with Watson due to be sentenced today (June 24).

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What happened to Rikki Neave?



Little Rikki was found dead and naked near his home
Little Rikki was found dead and naked near his home

A jury has found the twisted Watson guilty of smothering Rikki’s life to fulfill a “morbid fantasy” he told his mother about three days prior.

He strangled elementary school boy Rikki from behind with a ligature or anorak collar before stripping him naked and posing his star-shaped lifeless naked body for sexual gratification, deliberately “exposing” him close to a den of wood for children.

Rikki’s body was found the day after she disappeared.

How was Rikki Neave’s killer caught?

A TSWT breakthrough caught Watson and helped unravel the lies he had told about his memories of the day Rikki was murdered.

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Watson was questioned as a witness at the time because he was seen with Rikki the day she disappeared.

But his lying account went unchallenged, and he was only considered suspect when TSWT samples years later linked him to Rikki’s discarded clothes.



James Watson was found guilty of murdering the six-year-old schoolboy 27 years ago
James Watson was found guilty of murdering the six-year-old schoolboy 27 years ago

During a 2016 police interview, Watson tried to explain the presence of his TSWT on Rikki’s clothing by claiming he had taken it to watch diggers through a hole in a fence.

Prosecutor John Price QC said it was his “very big mistake” because police were able to prove the fence was not there in 1994.

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Jurors heard that key evidence in the case against Watson included Rikki’s last meal, from Weetabix, which set the time of his death around noon.

This meant that Rikki was killed shortly after he was seen with Watson heading to the woods where he used to play.



The police on the scene
Police at the scene near where Rikki’s body was found, less than 500 yards from his home in 1994

The court heard how Watson was questioned the year before the murder over an allegation he molested a five-year-old child.

Staff at his children’s home also noted disturbing behavior, including catching him masturbating to pictures of young boys in their underwear and keeping a dead pheasant in his bedroom.

How many years in prison will James Watson get for killing Rikki Neave?



Woodland where Rikki's body was found
Rikki Neave’s body was found naked in a wood in Peterborough in 1994

In April, Watson, now 41, was found guilty of majority murder after an Old Bailey jury deliberated for 36 hours and 31 minutes.

Today Watson will return to London Crown Court where Mrs Justice McGowan will sentence him to life and set a minimum sentence before he can be considered for release.

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