A child murder suspect who fled the UK is brazenly taunting police with photographs of him “living it up” in the sunshine.
Convicted arsonist James Watson, was arrested in April over the unsolved murder of schoolboy Rikki Neave, six, in 1994.
He was released on police bail but then absconded from a hostel in Northamptonshire last month.
On Monday it emerged Watson had smuggled himself out of the UK in a motorhome from Dover, Kent, and is now understood to be hiding out in Portugal.
The 35-year-old - who served six years for fire-bombing a police station - has sent a string of photos to friends showing him drinking beer, sun-bathing and even posing nude.
And in one message, he accused police of trying to frame him for the murder, “hounding” his family and friends and making his life a misery.
He said: “The best thing is I don’t even have a passport. I just walked out of our country.
“Me and a mate left the UK in a mobile home. Booked it on the ferry, drove on and that was that. No checks, nothing.”
Watson, who says he is gay, added: “It has been the most stressful time of my 35 years. (I’m) getting the sun on me and making some memories for dark days.
“They say (the police) I’ve got a fixation on strangulation?
“It’s bollocks. (It’s) because my ex gave them a statement saying that when we had sex I would put my hands round her throat.
“It is complete shit. Her and I only had sex like twice. It’s a standard joke that the sex was so bad that she turned me gay.
“It wasn’t of course, but I have been openly gay all my life. I would remember having sex with a girl for sure right?
“Like a straight guy would remember getting drunk perhaps and sleeping with their best mate, a boy, so it’s all shit.”
He said since his arrest, the police have been desperately trying to pin something on him.
He said: “When they arrested me at like 7.30pm they drove me to Huntingdon police station.
“It was closed but they opened the whole custody suite and had it rigged with cameras for the interview.
“It was intense and full on for the next few days.
“They have hounded my friends and family. They have been round so many of my friends, old and new (trying to find information).
“It’s all bollocks.”
A source close to Watson told South West News Service: “I think he has been enjoying himself too much. He has been drinking beer and lying around on the beach all day living it up.
“I think he is thinking it is the end. I have told him that he is breaking his bail and is not where he should be.
“He should be going back to the hostel. It wasn’t even that strict there. They could stay out until 11pm.”
The source added Watson is breaching the terms of his life licence by going abroad.
He said: “He hasn’t got a passport. Last year James, his mum and sister were planning a holiday abroad.
“This was before he got arrested and his probation officer said that he had to wait at least three years until after his release to go abroad.”
He added: “It’s all going to end badly. He needs to come back and face the music.
“I don’t believe he did it and the police have got no evidence otherwise they would have charged him.
“I think he’s made everything a lot worse by running away.”
Watson was originally arrested on April 19 when police raided his mother’s flat on the same Welland estate in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.
Rikki went missing near the estate on November 28, 1994 and his naked body was found the following day in woodland.
He had been strangled.
After his first arrest Watson was taken away for days of “intensive” questioning before being released on bail until June 15.
He was then rebailed again and is due to return to see police in September 20.
Police were made aware on July 15 that the suspect had breached his police bail by travelling overseas and UK police began liaison with European forces to locate him and ensure his return to this country.
A police spokesman said: “We have reason to believe that the 35-year-old man from Peterborough who was arrested in connection with the historic murder of six-year-old Rikki Neave left the country while on police bail.
“We have been in communication with him and are working with him and partner agencies in order for him to return to the UK promptly.”
Police have told the murdered schoolboy’s mother Ruth - who stood trial for the murder but was acquitted- that they are aware of her frustration around the current situation.
However she has been told by a senior officer that “I wanted to reassure you that every effort is being made to secure the suspect’s return to the UK and his breach will be dealt with on his return to the UK by the Police and other agencies”.
It is understood that the Crown Prosecution Service has asked police to provide further evidence ahead of any likely charge.
Mrs Neave said: “I am very anxious about all of this, I am under a lot of pressure and I have had to get some sedation to calm my nerves because they have been shot to pieces.”
Watson was given a indefinite sentence in January 2009 for causing £800,000 of damage by setting fire to the British Transport Police’s headquarters in Peterborough city centre.
He was given a five year minimum tariff and released at the end of July 2015, after serving six years.
At the court hearing into his sentencing Peterborough crown court heard that Watson had a hatred of authority since feeling let down by those in charge of his care as a child.