Cambridgeshire

Rikki Neave murder case: Man arrested over boy's 1994 death

Rikki Neave Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption Rikki Neave, six, was found strangled and naked in woodland in Peterborough

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a six-year-old boy who was found strangled in woodland more than 20 years ago.

Rikki Neave's naked body was found about five minutes' walk from his home on the Welland Estate in Peterborough in November 1994.

An investigation into his murder was reopened in June last year and a fresh appeal was launched.

A man in his 30s from Peterborough was arrested on Tuesday morning.

Rikki was last seen leaving for school on the morning of 28 November.

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Post-mortem tests found he had died as a result of compression to the neck.

Image caption Officers searched the area where Rikki's body was found in 1994

His mother, Ruth Neave, was cleared of his murder at a trial in 1996. She later admitted child neglect and cruelty and was jailed for seven years.

'Speechless and numb'

Despite extensive investigations at the time, no-one was ever convicted of Rikki's murder.

A BBC Crimewatch television appeal in November resulted in 17 calls to investigators.

Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption A BBC Crimewatch appeal led police to release an image of two teenage boys sighted leaving the woods where Rikki was later found

Information from the public led officers to release an e-fit of two teenage boys they wanted to talk to in connection with the case.

They had been seen walking out of the woods where Rikki's body was found on the morning of 29 November.

Cambridgeshire Police said it was unable to comment on whether the arrested man was one of the two teenagers pictured.

Reacting to the arrest, Mrs Neave's husband Gary Rogers said the news had "come straight out of the blue for us" and they were in "total shock".

Image caption Ruth Neave and husband Gary Rogers said they were "in shock" following the arrest

"We always hoped this day would come," he said.

"We are speechless and numb, but it's a good day."

Mrs Neave has repeatedly called for the murder case to be reopened since her acquittal.

An arrest proved the police had taken her seriously, Mr Rogers said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption In November 2014 Rikki's mother Ruth Neave issued a plea for information on the 20th anniversary of her son's death

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