A detective investigating the murder of six-year old Peterborough schoolboy Rikki Neave says the net is closing in on his killers, but he has appealed to the public to help supply the crucial evidence.
Rikki’s body was found in woodlands near his home in Welland on November 29, 1994.
And following the 21st anniversary of his death, which detectives spent on the Welland Estate, Det Supt Paul Fullwood has urged the locals to help bring justice for Rikki’s death.
“We are closing our net and making significant progress in identifying who killed Rikki Neave,” he said.
“The key to solving this terrible crime is with the help and support of the local community.
“They might know who killed him or heard something. Something might not have been quite right.
“The death of any person is traumatic, but the death of a child is truly horrific.
“Somebody out there knows who killed Rikki Neave. I would urge anyone to come forward and speak to us anonymously. This is a six-year-old boy, somebody’s son, grandson, friend.
“We need to solve this case.”
An appeal earlier this month on BBC show Crimewatch was a “big boost” for the investigation, according to Det Supt Fullwood, as it led to officers receiving 17 calls and opened up new lines of inquiries.
And although he is unwilling to put a timeframe on when the killers might be found, he believes police are closing in on a major breakthrough.
“Since we’ve re-opened the investigation we’ve had tremendous help from the public who have opened up a number of new lines of inquiries,” Det Supt Fullwood added.
“We’ve brought in new experts and forensic experts that were not available at the time. I’m really confident we are heading in the right direction.
“We’ve had a number of witnesses come forward that were not involved in the original investigation and forensic material that would not have been available 21 years ago. We are hoping to progress that.
“Our net is closing, it’s getting tighter and tighter.”
Det Chief Insp Richard Wall, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit added: “At the time of Rikki’s death we know that drug use was common place on the estate and are keen to hear from any professionals who may have been helping people and given information about the murder.”
During the Crimewatch appeal artist impressions of two people police wish to speak to in connection with the investigation were released.
Rikki was last seen leaving for school at around 8.30am on Monday, November 28, 1994, from his home in Redmile Walk, Welland. He is believed to have been wearing grey trousers, a white shirt, black shoes and a blue coat.
After his death, a post mortem examination concluded that Rikki had died as a result of a compression of the neck – strangulation.
On November 30, officers searching Willoughby Court found Rikki’s clothing – grey trousers, a white shirt, black shoes and a blue coat – in a wheelie bin.
A reward of up to £10,000 is on offer for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of Rikki Neave’s killer.
Independent charity Crimestoppers has put up the reward in a bid to help police catch the offender responsible for the murder of the six-year-old.
If you have information, call 01480 425882 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can give information anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
The reward of up to £10,000 can only be claimed by those who provide information to Crimestoppers directly on 0800 555 111 which leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Rikki’s murder.
Anyone involved in the murder will not be eligible to claim any of the reward.