Witness claims Rikki looked after his bike and dog whilst be bought alcohol

Some of the many faces of Rikki Neave; James Watson is on trial for his murder

Some of the many faces of Rikki Neave; James Watson is on trial for his murder - Credit: Archant

A witness who claimed to have seen Rikki Neave on the day he went missing, admitted he was an alcoholic and had drunk a couple of high strength lagers. 

Stuart Duffy, a witness called by defence counsel for the man on trial for Rikki’s murder, claimed to have seen Rikki between 6.30-7pm on the day he was allegedly killed. 

Mr Duffy told jurors he used to buy speed from Ms Neave and would see Rikki nearly every day when he lived on the estate. 

Giving evidence by video link from Great Yarmouth, Mr Duffy said of Rikki: "He was a right cocky little one. I liked him." 

He said children on the estate used to call him "Jingle Bells" because he wore bells on his shoes. 

On the evening of November 28 1994, Mr Duffy said he went to a local shop to buy alcohol and tobacco. 

He said he saw Rikki with his BMX bike outside and asked him to look after his dog while he was in the shop. 

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When he came out, he thanked Rikki, who told him he was going to stay around the shop, jurors were told. 

Under cross-examination, Mr Duffy admitted to be an alcoholic and had already drunk a couple of high strength lagers on the day Rikki was reported missing.  

Nathan Rasiah QC, prosecuting, suggested he had not mentioned the BMX or leaving his dog with Rikki in earlier statements to police. 

Mr Rasiah said: "Mr Duffy, you have told us you seeing Rikki was a very regular occurrence. You have seen him very often. 

"You have told us, on the day in question - as with other days - you had been drinking during the day. 

"You said at the time it affected your memory of the day's events, the fact you had been drinking and smoking drugs. 

"I'm going to suggest you were mistaken on seeing Rikki Neave that day on November 28 1994. 

"You may have seen him on days before, but not on the evening of November 28." 

Mr Duffy replied: "I cannot say now because it was years and years ago." 

James Watson was 13 when it is claimed he strangled six-year-old Rikki in Peterborough on November 28 1994, the Old Bailey has heard. 

Witnesses for the prosecution have described seeing the boys together on the Welland Estate earlier that day. 

Rikki's mother Ruth Neave reported him missing at 6pm and his body was found stripped and posed in nearby woods the next day. 

Watson's DNA was allegedly found on Rikki's clothes, which were recovered from a wheelie bin. 

Watson, now 40, of no fixed address, denies murder. The trial continues.