Detectives investigating the murder of Sunderland schoolgirl Nikki Allan 25 years ago say they have hope that new forensic leads could lead to a major breakthrough in the investigation.
Officers are looking into further forensic results and are urging people to come forward for DNA testing to eliminate themselves from inquiries. Nikki's father is backing the new appeal. It's the first time he has spoken out since her death in 1992.
Nikki Allan, who was seven years old when she was murdered, was found dead on October 8, 1992, in the then-derelict Old Exchange Building, near to her family home at Wear Garth, Sunderland. She had been badly beaten and stabbed 37 times in the chest.
Nikki had left her grandparents' flat in Wear Garth, East End. Her shoes were discovered outside the derelict Exchange building a few hundred yards away the next morning. Her body was found inside the building by a neighbour helping police with the search.
In the years that followed, police had no success in their efforts to bring the killer to justice.
Officers have now recovered further forensic results, including some DNA from a male, and are appealing for members of the family, friends or others who may have come into contact with Nikki to come forward for testing.
The first man to step forward is Nikki's father, David Allan, who is speaking out for the first time in 25 years to show his support for the police investigation and urge any other men who came into contact with Nikki to help police.
Police say they have continually reviewed the evidence over the years since Nikki's murder and advancements in forensic science have led to leads that were not available at the time.
The charity Crimestoppers has offered a reward of up to £10,000 for anyone who has information which leads to the apprehension and conviction of Nikki's Killer.
Detective Inspector Paul Waugh is looking into the unsolved murder and hopes that the new forensic evidence, together with the anniversary and Crimestoppers reward, may bring to light the crucial piece of the jigsaw that they are looking for.
Anyone who wishes to speak to police or pass any information on is asked to contact the major crime team on 101 ext 69191 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Only those passing information through Crimestoppers will be illegible for a reward. Information passed to the police will not qualify.