Mum of murdered Sunderland schoolgirl Nikki Allan 'still numb' three decades on

Sharon Henderson has fought for justice "every day" of her life since her daughter's murder in 1992. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

The mother of Nikki Allan, who has spent three decades fighting for justice for her daughter, says she still talks to her every day.

Sharon Henderson was 25 when her seven-year-old daughter was killed in Sunderland in 1992.

For most of the three decades since her death, Sharon has been determined to get justice for Nikki.

She ceaselessly campaigned for police to reinvestigate the crime which remained unsolved until DNA advances brought a breakthrough in 2017.

Sharon, who had four daughters, including Nikki, said: "Nikki was a mammy's girl. When she was at school, she still had her dummy.

"She was shy, but she had a beautiful smile."

  • Video report by Gregg Easteal.

Nikki was murdered on 7 October 1992 after being lured to the derelict Old Exchange building just yards from her home on the Wear Garth estate in the East End of the city, where she was beaten with a brick and stabbed 37 times.

It was 9:30pm when Sharon told Nikki to go home, and take a short walk down a flight of stairs, from her grandparent's flat.

Witnesses have said she was with a man in a white shirt - someone it looked like she knew.

The last sighting of Nikki was grainy CCTV, showing her unknowingly skipping to her death.

In the aftermath of Nikki's death, Sharon said she could not understand that her daughter was gone. Overcome by grief, she needed help feeding, bathing and getting dressed.

Asked if she ever talks to Nikki, she said: "Every day. I keep telling her I'm sorry. I promise I'll never give up. I just sit and cry."

Nikki's mother Sharon was held by family members throughout the day of the funeral. Credit: ITV News

Hundreds of people attended Nikki's funeral, lining the streets of Sunderland as a 20-car cortege proceeded through the east end of the town.

Visibly and audibly distraught, Sharon could barely stand and was physically held up during the funeral service.

She can only recollect a handful of moments from that day: "I can remember bits from the church, Father Mark and the cemetery. But I was screaming [for people] to not go near Nikki's grave."

Sharon has campaigned for justice directly to the media for 26 years. Credit: ITV News.

Nikki's case was one of Northumbria Police's most high profile unsolved murders.

Now aged 55, Sharon, who has been fighting for justice for her daughter, is honest about the difficulties she has faced ever coming to terms with the loss of Nikki.

"I've been through so much, mental hospitals, getting arrested all the time," she said. "Just for looking for the killer. Nobody was listening to me."

In 2016, she raised a petition urging police to carry out a top-to-bottom review of the case and the following year she met the then-chief constable Steve Chapman to discuss progress.

He authorised a fresh inquiry which was boosted by advances in DNA techniques and that eventually led police to catch David Boyd, who had lived in the Garths at the time and was known to Nikki.

On Friday 12 May, David Boyd, 55, of Chesterton Court in Stockton-on-Tees, was found guilty of killing Nikki.

Following three weeks of evidence at Newcastle Crown Court, jurors convicted him for her murder.

Boyd now awaits sentencing on 23 May.

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