By William Cole For Mailonline
Published: 11:58 BST, 1 May 2020 | Updated: 12:07 BST, 1 May 2020
A man accused of the murder of six-year-old Rikki Neave who was found strangled in woodland 25 years ago may avoid a trial because of problems with his extradition from Portugal, a court heard today.
The youngster disappeared after leaving for school from his home in Welland, Peterborough, on the morning of November 29 1994.
His naked body was found the next day in woods five minutes away from his house with his school uniform - grey trousers, a white shirt and a blue coat - dumped in a nearby bin.
James Watson (left), 38, has been charged with the 1994 murder of six-year-old schoolboy Rikki Neave (right). He may however not face trial depending on 'issues with his extradition' back to the UK from Portugal while on bail
James Watson, 39, who would have been 13 at the time, was charged with his murder in February. He is being held at Bedford Prison.
Watson was re-arrested in Portugal on 2 August last year after leaving the country when he was first arrested and bailed in June.
He did not appear at the Old Bailey today for his plea and trial preparation hearing.
Mr Justice Edis told the court it was understood Watson had entered a not guilty plea to murder but that an issue relating to his extradition had complicated his prosecution.
Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit said James Watson, (pictured) of no fixed address, had been charged with murder
James Watson is pictured as a young boy. He is accused of murdering little Rikki at the age of 13. The schoolboy's body was found in woodland near his home in Peterborough in 1994
The judge said a hearing on 5 June would be held to determine whether to proceed with a trial.
Mr Justice Edis said: ‘This hearing takes place for the interests of open justice.
‘The prison [video-link] was double booked at HMP Bedford