Madeleine – James Watson 1

What does the recent news about James Watson, a suspect in the Rikki Neave case, tell us about the Madeleine McCann case?


Rikki Neave was last seen leaving his home on the Welland estate in Peterborough to go to school on November 28, 1994. His naked body was found in nearby woodland the following day. A post-mortem examination found he had been strangled.

The man [James Watson] … from Peterborough, was arrested on April 19 and bailed until today (June 15).

He has been re-bailed until September 20.” [All of these dates are in 2016.]

Rikki Neave was 6 years old when he was killed.

His mother is Ruth Neave.

In 2004, the Peterborough Telegraph wrote up Rikki’s life, at It is a fairly interesting piece that contains a lot more than the extract I have put here.

Rikki Lee Neave was streetwise, regularly got into trouble and was used by his mother as a late-night drugs runner. But in other ways he was a typical six-year-old – he was scared of the dark and always had a light on when he slept.

Ruth married Dean Neave, a small-time criminal and drug abuser, in 1991 and moved to the Welland, in Peterborough. Rikki took his step-father’s name, although it was clear the youngster had grown to hate him.

Rikki was a pupil at Welland Primary School, in Scalford Drive, where he was seen as one of the more challenging youngsters and often got into trouble. He would skip school or was late if he did attend, but he was popular among his fellow pupils and staff.

He was sent out at night onto the Welland to collect his mum’s supply of drugs, usually amphetamine sulphate, and he would turn up on a neighbour’s doorstep, often without shoes and socks on.

Rikki – an experienced shoplifter who could often be foul-mouthed and abusive – also suffered regular physical and mental abuse at the hands of his mother Ruth.

On the day he went missing, like many times before, Rikki did not attend school.” [NB A friend said he did, but he left at 11am.] This covers the trial of Ruth Neave, Rikki’s mother, for his murder. Again, it contains a lot of information that I have not put in the following extract.

In life Ruth Neave treated her six-year-old son Rikki worse than a dog. The little boy was seen to grovel at her feet on one occasion pathetically crying out: ”I love you mummy, I love you mummy” after she had gripped him round the throat.

This was not out of the ordinary.

When enraged, his mother thought nothing of punching, kicking and throwing him about in front of neighbours in Redmile Walk, Welland, Peterborough. She would scream threats at the terrified child.

On one occasion she was seen dangling him by his feet from a bridge, 15 ft above a river in March.

A packed court room fell silent as prosecution barrister James Hunt QC alleged Rikki was killed in a sacrifice by his mother, who had an interest in black magic and the occult. Mr Hunt said the six-year-old’s body was found in a position which mirrored diagrams in books recovered from Neave’s home.

Harrowing details of the schoolboy’s last moments were also revealed. He was strangled by his own clothing being pulled up and twisted around his neck – the zip on his top acting as a ligature. Rikki had not been sexually assaulted and he was allegedly murdered “elsewhere”, before being taken to the woods.

Social worker Bryony Smith described how Neave threatened to kill her son, the day before he was reported missing. She said Neave claimed she would “kill him” if she didn’t receive help.

The jury also heard Neave was spotted “hurriedly” walking towards the area where her son’s body was found on the day he went missing. Sarah Turner said she bumped into Neave as she walked along Redmile Walk, where she lived.

The court heard how Neave stayed at home while friends went out looking for her missing son. Rikki’s clothes were found wrapped in the jacket he was allegedly strangled with in a wheelie bin in Willoughby Court – near where his body was found …

The court heard Neave confessed to killing Rikki to a woman she met in a bail hostel.

The defence case opens. The jury heard the death of Rikki had similarities with the attack on another young boy on the Welland Estate.

Barrister Nigel Rumfitt said a youngster was attacked and tied to a tree in Belvoir Way five months before Rikki died.

Neave repeatedly denied killing her son during two hours in the witness box.

The prosecution and defence summed up their cases. Defence barrister Nigel Rumfitt QC said a sex attacker, who had still not been found, could be responsible for Rikki Neave’s death.

Prosecution barrister James Hunt QC told jurors to have no sympathy for Neave based on her tragic background. Mr Hunt said Neave could also be found guilty of manslaughter if they, the jury, believed she killed Rikki accidentally.

Neave was cleared of murdering Rikki. But she was jailed for seven years after admitting five charges of cruelty to Rikki and two other children, including her daughter Rebecca. Neave, who broke down after being cleared of murder, then made a direct plea to her former neighbours: “Please help me find my son’s killer”.”

Full details of the court judgement are in the link above. In addition, Ruth Neave pleaded guilty to supplying the class B drug amphetamine sulphate over a two year period, and one count of burglary.

There is a lot more information on Ruth Neave’s tough childhood and life, and her use of violence, at

According to this suspicions about the mother arose because of her cruelty to her children, and about “inconsistencies” in her story of what happened on the night before her son was found dead. On a side note, it states the paedophile angle was impossible to check, as there was no sex offender register at the time. The site of Rikki’s body was not thought to be the murder site, and a murder site was not found. Perhaps this was an occasion that a cadaver dog should have been deployed.

There are echoes of the Madeleine McCann case at this link

By now, the BBC, ITN, Channel Four, Sky News and French TV had all descended on Peterborough to cover the story and people in Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand were also following developments.

About 400 calls were made to an incident room at Thorpe Wood police station in the first week of the inquiry.

In a bid to help police, The Evening Telegraph raised a 10,000 reward for information leading directly to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Rikki’s death.

The reward was put up jointly by the paper and two Peterborough businesses as police released details of 12 sightings of Rikki on the day he went missing.”

This is a long post, and I have not even started on James Watson, so I’ll cover that angle in another post.


3 thoughts on “Madeleine – James Watson 1

  1. Don’t think you need to go too deeply into this story. The only possible relevance to the McCann case is in the question of why he chose Portugal as the country in which to go on the lamb. For a man on the run, there are closer options and there are better options for disappearing. Why did he (allegedly) add his name to the list of sexual perverts, paedophiles and child murderers who seem to see the Algarve as their Mecca?

    Anyway, don’t worry… UK police are cooperating with their Portuguese counterparts in order to bring him to justice. And that always goes swimmingly.

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