Unsolved Murders

Rikki Neave

Age: 6

Sex: male

Date: 29 Nov 1994

Place: Eye Road, Welland, Peterborough

Source: www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk

Rikki Neave was found dead and naked in woodland near Eye Road, Peterborough, not far from his home.

He went missing on the evening of 28 November 1994 and was found the following day on 29 November 1994. His clothes were later found wrapped up in the jacket that he was thought to have been strangled with, in a wheelie bin in Willoughby Court near to where he was found.

His mother was tried for his murder in 1996 but acquitted, although she was convicted of cruelty to him and his two sisters.

In April 2016 a man was arrested but whilst on bail he went to Portugal, however, he was returned to the UK a month later but was released from bail in October 2017 after the CPS said that the evidence was insufficient for a realistic prospect of conviction.

Rikki Neave lived with his mother and two sisters in Redmile Walk, on the Welland estate in Peterborough. It was heard that Rikki Neave's mother treated Rikki Neave worse than a dog and after she was acquitted of his murder, she was convicted of child neglect and sentenced to seven years imprisonment. When Rikki Neave's mother was tried for his murder she was also tried for cruelty, supplying class B drugs and burglary.

His mother was seen by neighbours to kick and punch him and to throw him about and on one occasion he was seen to grovel at her feet saying, 'I love you mummy, I love you mummy', after which she gripped him by the throat. It was also heard that she had dangled him from a bridge 5 feet over a river in March by his feet.

At Rikki Neave's mother's trial, it was alleged that Rikki Neave's mother had killed him in a black magic sacrifice. It was said that when his body was found, Rikki Neave was in a position that mirrored diagrams in books on black magic and the occult that had been found in Rikki Neave's home. At her trial, Rikki Neave's mother admitted that she was a high priestess of the occult and that she dabbled in black magic.

The police said that they thought that Rikki Neave had been murdered elsewhere and then taken to the woodland where he was found. It was heard that he had been strangled with his own clothing which had been pulled up and twisted around his neck, with the zip acting like a ligature. It was noted that he had not been sexually assaulted. The clothing was later found in a wheelie bin not far off and included his grey school trousers, jacket and white shirt.

At the trial, it was heard that Rikki Neave's mother had had a fascination with the minds of murderers and had written a catalogue of manuscripts on the subject. It was also heard that she had earlier written a novel titled, 'The Perfect Murder' that she had given to her social worker.

It was also heard that soon after Rikki Neave's death, his mother had described to a friend a way to dispose of a young body, and that before his body was found, she had predicted where he would be found

At the trial it was also heard that Rikki Neave's mother would send Rikki Neave out to get amphetamines, which she called 'sherbet', from drug dealers around the local Welland estate.

Evidence from social workers was also heard at the trial stating that Rikki Neave's mother had pleaded with them to take Rikki Neave into care, stating that he was in danger if he stayed with her.

One witness said that when she had been to Rikki Neave's mother's house, Rikki Neave's mother had squirted washing-up liquid into Rikki Neave's mouth after he called his mother a slag.

Another social worker said that when she had been to Rikki Neave's mother's house, Rikki Neave's mother had threatened to hang Rikki Neave from the ceiling.

However, another social worker said that when she had gone to see Rikki Neave's mother on the day before Rikki Neave vanished, Rikki Neave's mother threatened to kill Rikki Neave, stating that she would kill him if she didn't receive help.

It was heard that on the day that Rikki Neave went missing, Rikki Neave's mother was seen walking hurriedly towards the woodland where his body was found. A woman that knew her said that she bumped into Rikki Neave's mother as she walked along Redmile Walk, near her house.

Also, earlier on the day that Rikki Neave went missing, 28 November 1994, Rikki Neave had been absent from school and seen roaming the streets around the Welland estate.

The police later searched Rikki Neave's home at about 2am, the day after he vanished, but they found no trace of him there or any indication of where he might have been or gone.

It was also noted that when friends had gone out looking for Rikki Neave, Rikki Neave's mother had stayed at home.

It was heard at the trial that a 10-year-old girl said that she had seen Rikki Neave alive at some point after he had gone missing.

It was also noted that Rikki Neave's mother had behaved strangely after his death when she had gone to see his body at the hospital chapel. It was heard that she had seemed 'high' and 'excited' and on the first occasion she had tried to pull back the shroud covering his body twice. It was also heard that whilst Rikki Neave's mother had ordinarily treated Rikki Neave terribly, when she had gone to see him at the mortuary, she had showed tenderness and an extraordinary interest in his body, and was seen to touch and stroke him, and kiss his cheek.

At her trial, it was also heard that Rikki Neave's mother confessed to murdering Rikki Neave to a woman in a bail hostel. Other women at the bail hostel said that Rikki Neave's mother had been fascinated about his death and regularly talked about it. Rikki Neave's mother was also said to have had a number of theories about how he had died, including a theory that a woman had murdered him and then taken his body to the woodland in a wheelchair.

It was also heard that Rikki Neave's mother was also alleged to have paid a friend £5 to call the police in an attempt to implicate her estranged husband.

At the trial it was also heard that Rikki Neave had begged his mother to take him away from the Welland estate because he hated it and blamed his bad behaviour on it. It was also heard that he had wanted his step-dad to leave him and his mother alone so that they could live in peace.

An excerpt from a letter that Rikki Neave's mother had written to her husband in January 1993 read, 'What can I do, kill him or kill myself? I can't seem to get Rikki to do anything. I hate him sometimes because all he does is laugh at me. I just want to kill him if I'm truthful, but I can't'. Another letter that she had written after Rikki Neave's murder stated that his death had left a 'gaping hole' in her life.

The defence at the trial stated that Rikki Neave's murder bore similarities to an attack on another young boy on the Welled estate five months earlier. It was heard that the other young boy had been attacked and tied to a tree at Belvoir Way.

The court also heard that Rikki Neave's mother had been put into care when she was two years old and that her parents had committed suicide together in a pact when she was 24-years-old.

It was also heard that a teenager had confessed to murdering Rikki Neave. It was heard that he had been seen leaving the woodland where Rikki Neave's body was found and that he had later told other children on the Welland estate that he had strangled Rikki Neave. However, the teenager was never charged.

When the defence summed up, they said that a sex attacker, who had not been found, could have murdered Rikki Neave.


*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.


see BBC Rikki Neave murder: New witnesses come forward

see Cambridge News

see BBC

see Independent

see Daily Mail