Nikki Allan: PCC confirms independent review into investigation of murdered schoolgirl, 7

Nikki Allan was seven when she was beaten and stabbed to death near her home in Sunderland. Credit: Handout

An independent review of the initial investigation into the murder of seven-year-old schoolgirl Nikki Allan is to be commissioned, it has been confirmed.

Nikki was killed in October 1992 and her murder went unsolved for more than 30 years until the conviction of David Boyd in May 2023.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said she will commission a full independent review of the complaint made in relation to the police investigation.

Nikki's mum Sharon Henderson, who spent much of the last three decades campaigning for justice for her daughter, has previously called for a public inquiry and has said she is taking legal action against Northumbria Police.

In May, Boyd, 55, was found guilty of beating seven-year-old Nikki with a brick and stabbing her in a disused building near her home in Sunderland.

He was jailed for life and told he would serve a minimum of 29 years in prison for her murder.

His conviction came after the re-opening of Northumbria Police’s investigation in 2017 - where advances in DNA testing revealed a link to Nikki Allan’s ex-neighbour, Boyd.

Northumbria Police initially prosecuted another of Nikki's neighbours, George Heron, but he was cleared of murder in 1993. Northumbria Police has previously apologised for failures.

Ms McGuinness said she spoke to Ms Henderson on Wednesday 13 September to discuss her experience.

During the meeting, she said she planned to commission an independent organisation to conduct a review of any formal complaint made by the family.

She said: “More than 30 years ago, Sharon Henderson and her family suffered an incredible loss when Nikki Allan was murdered. Their long wait for justice has only compounded their pain.

“Northumbria Police has always remained committed to finding the person responsible, and officers showed that dedication when they used new forensic techniques to finally secure a conviction for Nikki Allan’s murder.

David Boyd was convicted of the murder of Nikki Allan in May of this year. Credit: Northumbria Police

“Hard-working officers brought justice to this case. However, questions remain for Sharon and her family, including over the initial investigation. I agree that Sharon deserves answers. 

“Once the formal complaint is received from the family, I will invite an independent organisation in to review the complaint.

“A process such as this will take time, but Sharon and her family will finally get the answers they need.”

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