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James Watson given leave to appeal Rikki Neave murder conviction

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James Watson has been granted leave to appeal his conviction for the murder of Peterborough schoolboy Rikki Neave.

Nearly a year after an Old Bailey found him guilty, the Court of Appeal has today announced that he would be allowed to appeal his conviction.

One of the last pictures of Rikki Neave with his five-month-old sister Sheridan. It was taken just before Rikki was murdered.

One of the last pictures of Rikki Neave with his five-month-old sister Sheridan. It was taken just before Rikki was murdered.

Watson was 13 at the time of Rikki’s murder and the case remained unsolved for a quarter of a century until a campaign led by his mother, her husband Gary and myself prompted a fresh investigation to be launched.

Those efforts,  by the major crime unit of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, led to the case being re-opened and 30 detectives assigned to the investigation.

Pictured with husband Gary Rogers.
Ruth Neave arrives to give evidence in the 20 year cold case murder of her son Rikki. Thursday 27 January 2022.
Picture by Terry Harris.

Watson was convicted after a trial lasting nearly four months: the jury deliberated for a fortnight before announcing their verdict.

At today’s appeal hearing, Lord Burnett, the Lord Chief Justice, Mr Justice Goose and Mr Justice Bennathan took less than an hour to grant leave to appeal.

Watson, who is serving a 15-year sentence, was not present in court for the ruling.

No date for the fresh hearing has been set.

 

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