Investigation launched into police handling of Nikki Allan murder case in 1992

Nikki Allan was just seven when she was beaten and stabbed to death. Credit: PA

An independent investigation has been launched following complaints about the 1992 police investigation into the murder of school girl Nikki Allan.

Nikki Allan was killed in Sunderland at the age of just seven. David Boyd was found guilty of her murder in May 2023, 30 years after her death.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is looking into two complaints about the initial Northumbria Police investigation.

The IOPC said the complaints, which were referred to it by the force, were submitted after Boyd's conviction.

Until last year, the case remained unsolved after the failed prosecution of another suspect in 1993.

The IOPC will look at the actions and decision making of police involved in the murder investigation and the subsequent homicide review.

It will include the identification and elimination of suspects during the original investigation, as well as whether there were missed opportunities to identify David Boyd using DNA analysis sooner.

Nikki Allan was seven when she was killed in Sunderland in 1992. Credit: Family

Nikki's mother Sharon Henderson said she "hopes this investigation can help lift the lid and expose incompetence and worse at Northumbria Police."

Lawyer representing Nikki's family have welcomed news of the IOPC review.

Harriet Wistrich of the Centre for Women's Justice said: "We're very pleased that they've agreed to conduct an independent investigation. We want a very thorough investigation into this very long history of police failures dating back over 30 years.

"We're also really pleased that the terms of reference agreed, look at all the different aspects of concern that we raised in our complaint."

  • Watch Tom Barton's report from 16 January 2024

IOPC Regional Director Emily Barry said: “My sincere sympathies are with Nikki’s family, who have lost a loved one in such horrific circumstances and then endured a 30-year wait to see justice served.

"Our investigation, which will be carried out independently of police, will be thorough and ensure the actions of police are thoroughly scrutinised.

"This is a complex and challenging case, not least because the passage of time means some of those involved in the original police investigation have since retired, but we will use all the resources available to us to ensure the family’s concerns are carefully investigated."

Ms Barry continued: “We have been in contact with Nikki’s family to explain our role and will provide them with regular updates throughout our investigation.

“Our thoughts remain with all those affected by Nikki’s death.”

A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: “Our thoughts very much continue to be with Nikki Allan’s loved ones and we recognise the strength they have shown throughout their wait for justice.

“We can confirm that after receiving two complaints in relation to the investigation surrounding Nikki’s murder, we referred these to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

“We will be cooperating fully with their subsequent investigation and while this is being conducted it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”

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