Rikki Neave killer James Watson will not have sentence extended after Solicitor General rule

Solicitor General Edward Timpson CBE has decided not to intervene in the sentencing of James Watson.

By Ben Jones
Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 5:33 pm

On June 24, Waston was jailed for the murder of 6-year-old Rikki Neave; a crime for which he escaped justice for 28 years.

He was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 15 years, minus 843 days for the time he had already spent in custody.

Watson (41) was sentenced as if he were a 13-year-old as that was the age he was when he lured Rikki into the woods near his home on the Welland estate and strangled him to death. He then stripped Rikki’s body left his naked body posed with legs and arms outstretched.

James Watson.

Sentencing Watson as a 13-year-old has meant that the minimum term he must serve in prison is much less than if he was being sentenced at the age he is now.

This led to Rikki’s sisters, Rochelle, Rebecca and Sheridan, writing to the Solicitor General to ask for the sentence to be reviewed. Rebecca stated that she believes there were “a lot of facts” that the court did not take into consideration.

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Upon reviewing the letters and the case though, the new Solicitor General, who was appointed on July 7, has confirmed that the case does meet the requirements for a review.

Rikki Neave.

A spokesperson for his office said: “This was a shocking and deeply saddening case, and the Solicitor General wishes to express his sympathies to the family of Rikki Neave.”

“After careful consideration the Solicitor General has concluded that this case cannot properly be referred to the Court of Appeal.

"A referral under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme to the Court of Appeal can only be made if a sentence is not just lenient but unduly so, such that the sentencing judge made a gross error or imposed a sentence outside the range of sentences reasonably available in the circumstances of the offence.

"The threshold is a high one, and the test was not met in this case.”