The mum of a six-year-old boy who was strangled 26 years ago has said she feels ‘numb’ after a man was charged with his murder.
Ruth Neave, 49, said she was ‘overwhelmed’ following the arrest of James Watson, 38, over the killing of her son Rikki in Peterborough, on November 29, 1994.
The youngster was found dead in woodland a few minutes’ from his home in Redmile Walk.
Originally Ms Neave was accused of Rikki’s murder, but she was later cleared of the killing and instead found guilty of child neglect and cruelty, and jailed for seven years.
In 2014, police looked again at the cold case and began re-investigating in 2015.
Ms Neave said: ‘I am overwhelmed and in truth totally numb. This has always been about getting justice for my son Rikki.
She added: ‘Today’s news is welcome but it is only part of a much longer journey that still has some way to run.
‘I would also like to place on record the love and support of my husband Gary.
‘I cannot express fully how much I love him and the work he has put in to make the events of today possible.’
Rikki had disappeared after leaving home to walk to school at about 9am the previous day.
His uniform was found dumped in a nearby bin and tests later confirmed he’d been strangled.
Chief Crown Prosecutor Chris Long added: ‘Following the death of Rikki Neave in Peterborough in November 1994, the Crown Prosecution Service has today authorised Cambridgeshire Constabulary to charge James Watson, 38, with murder. Rikki Neave’s family have been informed.
‘This decision was made following careful consideration of all the evidence presented to us by Cambridgeshire Constabulary as a result of their cold case review and subsequent lengthy and complex investigation.’
Watson, of no fixed address, will appear at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.