Facebook site set up aimed at tracking down man suspected of murdering Rikki Neave who fled UK for Portugal

A Facebook site has been set up by members of the public asking Brits abroad to report sightings of the man suspected of murdering Peterborough schoolboy Rikki Neave, who is believed to have fled to Portugal.

Thursday, 28th July 2016, 10:21 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:06 pm
James Watson on the beach

James Watson (35) was arrested in April over the unsolved murder of schoolboy Rikki who died aged six in 1994.

It emerged on Monday that Watson, who was living at a hostel, has smuggled himself out of the UK in a motorhome from Dover, Kent, and is now understood to be in Portugal where he has sent a string of photos online showing him drinking beer, sunbathing and even posing nude.

Watson said: “The best thing is I don’t even have a passport. I just walked out of our country.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

James Watson

“Me and a mate left the UK in a mobile home. Booked it on the ferry, drove on and that was that. No checks, nothing.”

Watson added: “It has been the most stressful time of my 35 years. (I’m) getting the sun on me and making some memories.”

Now a public Facebook group called Team Rikki UK - Justice for Rikki Neave.

The group already has more than 1,500 members having been set up earlier this week and is urging those on holiday or living abroad to report sightings of James Watson to police.

Rikki Neave ENGEMN00120130730165908

A source close to him said: “I think he has been enjoying himself too much. He has been drinking beer and lying around on the beach all day living it up.

“I have told him that he is breaking his bail and is not where he should be. He should be going back to the hostel.

“It wasn’t even that strict there. They could stay out until 11pm.”

Watson was originally arrested on April 19 when police raided his mother’s flat on the Welland estate.

James Watson

Rikki went missing near the estate on November 28, 1994 and his naked body was found the following day in woodland.

He had been strangled.

After his first arrest Watson was taken away for days of “intensive” questioning before being released on bail until June 15.

He was then rebailed again and is due to return to see police on September 20.

Rikki Neave ENGEMN00120130730165908

Police were made aware on July 15 that the suspect had breached his police bail by travelling overseas and UK police began liaison with European forces to locate him and ensure his return to this country.

A police spokesman said: “We have reason to believe that the 35-year-old man from Peterborough who was arrested in connection with the historic murder of six-year-old Rikki Neave left the country while on police bail.

“We have been in communication with him and are working with him and partner agencies in order for him to return to the UK promptly.”