Sister of murdered Rikki Neave left 'heartbroken' after plea to increase James Watson sentence rejected

The decision has sparked a new petition to push for under-18s to be sentenced as adults for serious offences.

By Ben Jones
Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 5:00 am

Rebecca Harvey has said that she has been left heartbroken after the Solicitor General confirmed that the sentence of her brother Rikki Neave’s killer, James Watson, would not be referred to the Court of Appeal.

Rebecca, along with Rikki’s other two sisters, Rochelle and Sheridan, has written letters to as the newly-appointed Edward Timpson CBE to refer to sentence for being too lenient.

Watson was sentenced to life with a minimum of 15 years, minus 843 days for time already served in custody.

Rochelle, Rebecca and Sheridan, the sisters of Rikki Neave.

The relatively lenient sentence comes from the fact that Watson was sentenced as a 13-year-old as that was the age he was in 1994 when he lured six-year-old Rikki to the woods near his home in Welland and strangled death.

The Solicitor General, however, has stated that the threshold needed to be met to review the case has not been met; a decision that has left the family devastated.

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

Rebecca said: “I am so heartbroken, I don't know where to go from here or what to do.

“I can not believe that the Solicitor General has not referred Rikki’s case. After all these years of getting away with it and keeping the secret that he killed Rikki and he only gets a measly sentence – it has caused so much heartache and pain.

"I just do not think this enough, he sits there in his cell knowing he got away with killing Rikki and never mentioned a word to anyone I think it is shocking and the system is broken, I believe. I mean if this is what you call justice then I am shocked.

“It was premedicated and he ruined all of our lives and lived his life with his family and his sister and his son, yet he took this away from us - we have fought all these years for the truth and he only get 15 years minus 843 days .

“He was even given good credit for his time already time served and due to his troubled and abusive upbringing- (This made me laugh)- we all had a troubled upbringing but you do not see any of us murdering children!

” Overal,l I am disappointed in the decision and do not believe this is fair .None of it seems real to be honest All these years I believed it was Ruth because the police said they were not looking for anyone else and then James Watson gets arrested sent to trial and gets 15 years; it’s shocking I can't get my head around it - if it wasn't him none of this would of happened.

“Really I have no words. I just hope karma comes around very soon. I have to try and live my life but I won't ever forget what Mr Watson has done to my family and Rikki Lea Harvey. When I looked at him in court I made sure he knew this also.

“I am pretty speechless really.”

The sisters began their campaign with a petition to have the sentence reviewed but despite the setback, have decided to keep fighting for justice and have launched a new petition to urge lawmakers to consider changing the law to allow for under 18s to be sentenced in the same way as adults for serious offences such as murder and sexual assault.