Breakfast cereal helped uncover a 27-year-old murder mystery

News of a naked and strangled boy shocked Britain one day in November 1994, when six-year-old Rikki Neave was found killed in the woods near his home town of Petersborough, northwest of Cambridge.

For more than 27 years, the killer has been at large and the police have remained unanswered as to what happened to the first class killed.

But this week the murder mystery came to an end, and the six-year-old girl’s breakfast on the fatal day contributed to the answer.

The case was first reported in The Independent.

Difficult childhood

KILLED: Schoolboy Rikki Neave (6) was killed in November 1994. It wasn't until 27 years later that the murder mystery was solved.  Photo: Terry Harris/Splash News/NTB

KILLED: Schoolboy Rikki Neave (6) was killed in November 1994. It wasn’t until 27 years later that the murder mystery was solved. Photo: Terry Harris/Splash News/NTB

Even before Rikki disappeared on his way to school on November 27, 27 years ago, he was known to Cambridgeshire Child Protection Service as a vulnerable child.

He often skipped school and was seen as being at risk of abuse and abuse, according to the BBC.

Her half-sister Rochelle Neave later told the national broadcaster there was rarely food in the house when they were growing up. She describes her half-brother as a loving boy, who often made sure applicants were clean and stole food from the store if they were hungry.

It wasn’t long before Rikki’s mother, Ruth, was charged with the murder. During the trial against her in 1996, the court was told, among other things, how she had threatened to kill her son, and on one occasion wrote ‘idiot’ on his forehead and sprayed washing-up liquid in his mouth .

She was jailed for seven years for child abuse, which she later claims she was bullied into admitting, before being acquitted of murder.

CONDOLANCES : Image bank.  A British police officer lays flowers outside the school of Rikki Neave, 6, in Petersborough, who was found killed in woodland in 1994.

CONDOLANCES : Image bank. A British police officer lays flowers outside the school of Rikki Neave (6) in Petersborough, who was found killed in woodland in 1994. Photo: PA/NTB

The cereal solved the riddle

For several years the police took a wrong turn and assumed the boy was killed in the afternoon or evening.

Now police have revealed the timeline they were working on was wrong, after new information from Rikki’s autopsy report emerged.

On Thursday this week, James Watson (41), who was 13 when Rikki was killed, was found guilty of the schoolboy’s murder at Britain’s Old Bailey court in London, according to the BBC.

CONVICTED: Trial draw of the trial against James Watson (right) which took place at the Old Bailey in London this week.  Photo: Elizabeth Cook/PA/NTB

CONVICTED: Trial draw of the trial against James Watson (right) which took place at the Old Bailey in London this week. Photo: Elizabeth Cook/PA/NTB

Findings of Weetabix breakfast cereal in Rikki’s stomach revealed that he was killed shortly after eating breakfast.

BREAKFAST MIX: Rikki's autopsy report showed he ate Weetabix breakfast cereal the morning he was killed.  Photo: John Stillwell/PA/NTB

BREAKFAST MIX: Rikki’s autopsy report showed he ate Weetabix breakfast cereal the morning he was killed. Photo: John Stillwell/PA/NTB

“I think what really changed our understanding of what happened in this case was the autopsy evidence that showed Rikki died within two hours of his last meal,” Hannah Van said. Dadlszen, Assistant State Attorney for the East of England, to The Independent newspaper.

– His last meal was Weetabix for breakfast that morning. And we think he ate around 9:30.

I went into the woods myself

Moreover, the dirt from the boy’s shoes showed that he himself had been in the woods, but never came out.

Thus, the theory that previously formed the basis of the prosecution against Rikki’s mother was refuted, as it refuted the accusation that Rikki was killed in his home and then driven into the forest at night in a horse-drawn carriage.

THE CRIME: Photo of the wood where 6-year-old Rikki Neave was found brutally killed in November 1994. Photo: Alan Water/PA/NTB

THE CRIME: Photo of the wood where 6-year-old Rikki Neave was found brutally killed in November 1994. Photo: Alan Water/PA/NTB

At the same time, the prosecution could point to Watson’s DNA findings on the clothes Rikki wore when he died.

– The DNA evidence was utterly critical and really helped build our case against James Watson, said Van Dadlszen, who points to developments in DNA technology as the reason the prosecution has now found evidence against Watson. ‘author.

Watson initially denied having any contact with Rikki, before later changing his explanation.

THE SCHOOL: File photo of the school where Rikki, 6, was a student at the time of the murder.

THE SCHOOL: File photo of the school where Rikki, 6, was a student at the time of the murder. Photo: PA/NTB

In his explanation, the assailant claimed that Rikki wanted to see diggers and had asked Watson to lift him up so he could look over a high fence.

The lie was exposed when the prosecution was able to prove that there was no such fence in the area at the time of the murder.

It is unknown exactly what happened before Rikki was killed or why Watson killed him.

Petersborough local police chief Paul Fullwood told the BBC the motive for the murder may have been sexual, although there is no evidence Rikki was sexually abused before his death.

– The killer strangled Rikki, took off his clothes and put him in this special position. We think it was for sexual gratification, and we think James Watson did it.

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