17/02/2020 17:39 GMT

Rikki Neave: Man Charged With 1994 Murder Of Six-Year-Old Schoolboy

James Watson, now 38, is due in court on Thursday over Neave's disappearance and death.

Undated handout file photo of Rikki Neave, as a 38-year-old man has been charged with murdering the six-year-old schoolboy more than 25 years ago.

A 38-year-old man has been charged with the 1994 murder of six-year-old schoolboy Rikki Neave.

The youngster was found dead in woodland a few minutes’ walk from his home in Redmile Walk, Welland, Peterborough, on November 29, 1994.

He had disappeared after leaving home to walk to school at about 9am the previous day. Tests showed he had been strangled.

Rikki’s uniform was found dumped in a nearby bin.

On Monday, the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit said James Watson, of no fixed address, had been charged with murder.

He will appear at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

Originally Rikki’s mother Ruth was accused of his 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.

Chief Crown prosecutor Chris Long said: “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.”