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Man charged with 1994 murder of six-year-old Rikki Neave appears in court

Rikki Neave Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

A man has appeared in court charged with the murder of six-year-old Rikki Neave, who was found strangled in woodland near his Welland home, 25 years ago.

The defendant, James Watson, would have been thirteen at the time of the killing.

He spoke in Peterborough Magistrates court only to confirm his name and date of birth.

Watson, of no fixed address, was remanded in custody and will appear at the Old Bailey on Friday.

Six-year-old Rikki disappeared after leaving home to walk to school at about 9am on November 28 1994.

His naked body was found the following day, a few minutes' walk from his home in Redmile Walk, Welland, Peterborough.

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

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 it in 2015.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it gave Cambridgeshire Police the authorisation to charge Watson with murder following "careful consideration of all the evidence" following a cold case review.