Man gets a schoolboy sentence for Ricky Neve’s childhood murder


London — A 41-year-old man who killed a 6-year-old British boy in 1994 was sentenced by a judge as if he were a boy student.

James Watson, who was 13 when he strangled Ricky Neve, was sentenced to a boy’s coercion for being initially considered legal —Detention in His Majesty’s Joy —At Old Bailey on Friday.

This ruling means that he must be in prison for at least 15 years, minus the 843 days he had been detained since he was arrested in February 2020.

Watson was convicted of murder in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire in April this year. Prosecutor John Price QC said he must be sentenced according to his age at the time of the crime (13), not according to his age at the time of conviction (41).

Judge Maura McGowan said Watson was undoubtedly “sexually interested in the boy” and that was the motive for the murder.

She said Ricki had a “sad childhood” and was “ignored” by her mother and exposed to “violence and atrocities.”

The killing of Ricky Neve remained unresolved for 28 years.

Ricki’s mother was falsely accused of murder

His mother, Ruth Nieve, was originally suspected of being a crime, but was acquitted of the murder in 1995. She was convicted of the atrocities of her child and imprisoned for seven years.

At a hearing on Friday, Neve’s statement was read out, “Police were determined to kill Ricki and were trying to kill her daughter … When people were accused of killing Ricki, I had to fight back. did not become”.

The true murderer was only revealed after the cold case review began and evidence of new DNA was revealed.

Ricky Neve
A dateless photo of Ricky Neve in uniform, taken at Peter Barra’s school shortly before his death in 1994. (PA)

On November 28, 1994, Ricki left his home in Welland’s residence in Peterborough after breakfast, but never arrived at school.

He was absent from school during the day and was only reported missing by his mother at 6 pm.

The next day, his body was found naked in a nearby forest. His body was spread out and he was strangled with a zipper on the hood of his coat.

“After all these years, Rikki has some justice.”

In a statement read out in court about the impact on victims, Ricki’s sister Rebecca Harvey said: He has been and will continue to be a big part of my life. He was my life. The day he was murdered was the day I lost part of me. After all these years, Ricki has justice, and now the person responsible for his murder will ultimately pay for what he has done to all of us. “

Epoch Times Photo
A painting by James Watson’s court artist at the Old Bailey Dock in London on April 4, 2022 (Elizabeth Cook / PA)

In Watson’s trial, Ruth Neve was originally suspected to have a photo of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man found in her house and believed by detectives to resemble the position of Ricki’s body. I heard it was because of it.

In January, Ruthneeve testified in court, admitting that he was taking drugs and trading in preparation for Ricki’s death.

In an interview with ParentsPublished on Friday, Neve said of Watson: “He is a monster, a sexual predator, a monster.”

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist with a particular interest in crime, police and law, covering stories from a wide range of countries.