Rikki Neave's 'teen killer told cops he watched Crimewatch doc on 1994 murder' before 'revealing wealth of new detail'

RIKKI Neaves' killer revealed he watched a Crimewatch show on the murder when he was re-interviewed by police, a court heard today.

James Watson was just 13 when he allegedly strangled the six-year-old just five minutes from his home in Peterborough, Cambs, in 1994.

He then "deliberately posed" the naked youngster into a "star shape with outstretched arms and his legs placed wide apart", it was said.

Jurors were told Watson, now 40, had made no attempt to conceal the body and remained with it for an hour.

The Old Bailey heard how Watson was first interviewed in 1994 where he told officers he came across a "small boy" while walking to his dad's home.

He then claimed they shared a brief exchange about a nearby digger before parting ways.

In July 2015, Watson was re-interviewed and said: "I have now read my original statement and I trust myself that what I said then is what happened."

But a year later, he "introduced a wealth of new detail" when asked again about meeting Rikki, it was said.

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He told police: "I picked him up, chucked him over the, you know, over the fence.

"Not chucked him over the fence but you know held him up over the fence, watched the guys doing the work.

"And then we left and walked off down the second hill…we walked off here and I carried on my route here across, through these houses across home.

"I'm guessing I would've just picked him up under his arm pits and lifted him up the fence.

"I couldn't, I wouldn't swear on it… that I would've just picked him up from behind under his armpits and held him up against this fence for you know half a second or thirty seconds or so while he had a look at the diggers.

"I guess yeah we finished having a look at the, the guys digging there… and then we both, we both went off."

John Price, QC, prosecuting, questioned how Watson was able to answer the "crucial question" of how his DNA was found on Rikki "before it had even been asked of him".

Jurors were told there were no fences on the day Rikki was murdered on the route Watson originally told police he encountered the youngster.

Mr Price said: "There would, we submit, have been no cause on that day for Mr Watson to have picked Rikki up so that he might see a digger.

"This cannot be, therefore we submit, why the hands of Mr Watson came to be in contact with Rikki's clothing on that Monday.

"So it cannot be how his DNA was found on fibres taken from the dead child's clothes."


The court was told Rikki's missing school uniform was later found in a wheelie bin around 150 yards away.

His laces on the his shoes were still tied, three buttons were missing from his shirt and his jacket contained his underwear and socks and some toys, it was said.

Jurors heard he had patterned marks on the front of his neck that could have been caused by the zip on his coat – suggesting he was probably attacked from behind.

The court also heard Watson told police he had watched a recent BBC Crimewatch on the murder when asked what he might have seen or read about it.

Mr Price said: "'If the person who strangled and stripped Rikki Neave watched it, he will have heard DCI Waite speaking about the new investigation.

"Again, prominence was given in Mr Waite's remarks, to the potential for uncovering new, though unspecified, scientific evidence.

"If the killer of Rikki Neave was watching, he knew he had stripped the body.

"He knew he had put the clothing in the bin.

"He knew he had handled it.

"Being the one person who knows the truth of it all, as he watched and listened, if he did, what would the killer have made of this?

"Might he have feared there was a real risk he was about to be identified all these years later?"


Rikki's mum Ruth Neave later stood trial for his murder but was cleared – leading to a 27-year cold case mystery.

She admitted cruelty towards Rikki and his two sisters in 1996, the court heard.

"Vulnerable" Rikki was known to social services and had been placed on the "at risk register" at the time of his death.

Watson had been seen with the youngster on the day he vanished and was spoken to by police at the time, jurors heard.

At the time, Watson was "exhibiting a grotesque interest in the subject of child murder", it was said.

Teachers also allegedly noticed a "conspicuous pre-occupation with the extensive reporting of the fate of Rikki Neave".

But he told "many lies", claimed he did not know Rikki and made no mention of "physical contact", it was said.

The court was told it was only when Watson's DNA showed on Rikki's clothes that he was charged with murder.

The trial continues.

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