The mother of murdered six-year-old Rikki Neave has denied ever harming her children although she served a seven-year prison sentence for child cruelty.
Rikki was found naked in woodland near Peterborough’s Welland Estate on November 29 1994. He had been strangled.
His mother, Ruth, was charged with murder but found not guilty by a jury. Rikki’s killer has never been found.
Ruth Neave pleaded guilty to child neglect and cruelty, and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Rikki had been on social services “at risk” register and there had been a history of abuse by Mrs Neave, who was a drug addict at the time, the
But in an interview for ITV’s Real Stories with Ranvir Singh, she denied accusations of cruelty.
Mrs Neave told the programme she had put a “little tiny bit” of washing-up liquid in Rikki’s mouth “because he was swearing”, adding: “When I was a lot younger I had soap in my mouth. A tiny bit of Fairy Liquid doesn’t harm anybody. No, I don’t think a little bit of Fairy Liquid is cruel.”
She also disputed allegations that witnesses saw Rikki outside at night, barefoot in his pyjamas and crying, and denied she locked her children in their room.
She told Singh: “No, they never got padlocked in their room, and they weren’t like caged animals either. And I did feed them.”
Asked if she hit her son, Mrs Neave said: “I smacked Rikki, yes. Not very hard. Slapped him around the legs, the hands, and his bottom.”
She added: “I had to admit it. I’ve done my time, whatever I did and I don’t want sympathy from people I just want people to know that all I’m
out for is to get justice for my son. I certainly ain’t going to admit stuff that I haven’t done, I really ain’t.”
In November, her daughter Rochelle Neave, now in her 20s, told the Press Association she could still remember being abused.
She said: “Although I was only young I can still remember the abuse.
“I can remember her dragging my sister up the stairs by her hair and there was never any food in the house. She spent all her money on drugs.”
She added: “She may have been cleared of murder but she was convicted of cruelty and I don’t think the police will find anybody else responsible for his death.”
Last month, police issued a fresh appeal for help in solving Rikki’s murder.
Mrs Neave and her new husband have compiled their own dossier of evidence, claiming Rikki was murdered by a sex gang operating on the estate at the time.
Police confirmed there had been other similar incidents, including children being left tied up in woods, around the time of his death, but said this was just one line of inquiry.
Mrs Neave told the programme: “I want justice for Rikki and after they’ve found the murderers, to live my life in peace and just be forgotten about.”
“I’ve had to live with this for 20 years. Went to court, got found not guilty, and I’m still being called a child murderer.”
Real Stories With Ranvir Singh airs on ITV at 7.30pm tonight (Thursday).