Rikki Neave murder suspect arrested in Lisbon after fleeing UK

James Watson

James Watson

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A 35-year-old man from Peterborough arrested in connection with the historic murder of six-year-old Rikki Neave has been arrested in Portugal today after he fled the UK.

James Watson, 35, was arrested under a European Arrest Warrant by local officers in Lisbon at around lunchtime on suspicion of breaching his licence.

James Watson

James Watson

Watson was first arrested in April over the unsolved murder of Rikki Neave in 1994.

The six-year-old schoolboy was found strangled to death on the same estate in Peterborough, where Watson grew up.

Watson, a father-of-one, has remained on bail since his arrest and was living in a hostel until he fled the country with a friend in a campervan last month.

It is believed Watson and the friend have now fallen out and he is now alone, desperately trying to find a way home.

Speaking from his hideout, believed to be in Portugal, he said: “I am NOT on THE RUN and I AM coming back.

“I didn’t run. Let’s make that clear.

“It just so happens that at the same time that I am doing this (travelling around Europe) happens to be while I am on bail.

“I always intended to come back for bail.

“The police, probation and MAPPA (Multi-agency public protection arrangements) know this”

Watson, of Peterborough, is due to answer police bail on September 20.

He said: “(It’s) f***ing mad.

“I have so much going on (with) travel plans. I am having to rearrange all my travel plans back to the UK.

“It’s a f***ing nightmare. I’ve never been on a commercial flight. It’s first time madness.”

Watson added: “My family are fine. They would naturally worry about me, I would worry if they didn’t.

“Those people close to me, the ones I can about and want in my life know all the need to know, they are all my family.”

The arrest follows ongoing work with officers from the Major Crime Unit, national authorities and authorities in Portugal.

Watson will remain in custody in Portugal while extradition proceedings begin.

Officers from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit are expected to travel out to Portugal in the coming days.