Rikki Neave murder: Editor looks at the case’s unanswered questions

16:30 31 January 2014

Rikki Neave.

Rikki Neave.

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BBC Look East recently broadcast a short interview with me on the 2013 murder in Wisbech of pensioner Una Crown.

It prompted an e-mail from Gary Smith suggesting I might be interested in another unsolved murder.

That e-mail was to lead to me meeting him two days later, to explain that his wife was Ruth Neave - and that she had a story to tell about her son’s murder.

There followed five meetings, spanning some 15 hours, as she provided substantial pieces of evidence from her trial.

I have also become used to receiving up to scores of text messages – sometimes as many as 10 a day - in which she has protested her innocence.

I have never experienced anything like it.

I began with natural scepticism and determined to maintain objective and dispassionate reporting guidelines but also I was cognisant of the fact that, partly through Ruth’s neglect in sending him alone to school on the day he was murdered, she bore a degree of responsibility for his death.

That Ruth Neave did not murder her son though I never doubted.

But it was more than instinct.

I have read and written into the early hours to make sense of the rapidly accumulating set of documents.

Within many statements there are inconsistencies and omissions. Why for example did police not query conflicting statements by her late husband Dean Neave that put him in at home first time round at Walpole near King’s Lynn but in his second statement he agreed he had been on the Welland estate on the night Rikki died?

Why were so many witness statements made that day testifying to sightings of Rikki discounted as being unreliable?

Did he go to school at all that day and does it matter? Again the evidence or recollection is missing from case files.

Last Saturday I took Ruth to re-visit the estate and to the spot where the naked, strangled body of her son was found.

It was a chilling, eerie moment that will stay with me forever.

Whatever her faults as a mother, and there were many by her own admission, it was not the face of a murderer that looked wistfully at the scene that day.

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