Rikki Neave: 24 Hours in Police Custody to unravel how killer James Watson was brought to justice

Watch a report by Matthew Hudson

A police officer who helped solve the murder of schoolboy Rikki Neave hopes a new documentary will showcase the difficulties of solving the "extremely complex" case.

It took almost 30 years to bring six-year-old Rikki's killer to justice.

The case's twists and turns included Rikki's mum being wrongly accused of his murder in Peterborough in 1994.This year, Rikki's true killer James Watson was finally be put behind bars after he managed to evade detection for decades.

A two-part special of Channel 4's 24 Hours in Police Custody which starts on Monday, July 4, focuses on how the cold case was finally solved.

The episodes follow the re-investigation of Rikki's murder.

James Watson was extradited back to the UK to face justice

Last month Watson, 41, was sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of murdering Rikki on 28 November, 1994.

Watson was 13 years old when he killed Rikki, his murder trial heard.

Watson strangled Rikki in woodland on the Welland Estate before stripping him and leaving his naked body with legs and arms outstretched.

The documentary shows never-seen-before bodycam footage from the moment Watson was arrested.

Rikki Neave's body was found naked and arranged in a star shape in woodland. Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

The documentary comes as Rikki's sister Rebecca Harvey told ITV News that the 15-year sentence for killer James Watson is "not enough".

Rikki's family have now launched a petition on change.org calling for it to be reviewed and extended.

Former Assistant Chief Constable Paul Fullwood, the lead officer on the murder case, said: “This investigation was extremely complex and quite unlike anything else the team has encountered before.

Former Assistant Chief Constable Paul Fullwood at a press conference as detectives worked to solve Rikki Neave's murder.

“We meticulously trawled through hundreds of statements, exhibits and other evidence to build a timeline of Rikki’s last movements and find his killer.

“The programme will take people on the whole journey, over the past three decades, from Rikki’s tragic death to the conviction of his killer after an almost eight-year battle by the investigation team.

“Our aim was always to find the answers Rikki’s family longed for and ensure the person responsible for his untimely death was brought to justice.”

Rikki’s mother Ruth Neave was originally charged with his murder and offences of child cruelty.  She pleaded guilty to the latter and was unanimously found not guilty of his murder following a trial in October 1996.

The episodes will air at 9pm on July 4 and July 5.

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