Friday 24 June 2022 11:21 AM Rikki Neave's sister breaks down in court ahead of killer James Watson's ... trends now
The sister of murdered schoolboy Rikki Neave wept in court as the family gathered to hear the sentencing of his killer James Watson.
Watson, 41, has appeared in court to be finally brought to justice for the murder of the six-year-old in Peterborough in 1994.
Watson wore a light, short-sleeved shirt, dark tie and trousers as he was brought into the dock of Court One at the Old Bailey on Friday morning, accompanied by a dock officer.
He was found guilty by a jury in April of murdering the child after the case went unsolved for close to three decades.
Giving evidence to the jury, Watson (pictured left and, right, as a child) denied having a sexual interest in children and denied any involvement in Rikki's murder or disappearance. However he was found guilty by majority verdict of 10 to two today. Judge Mrs Justice McGowan is now expected to adjourn before sentencing Watson on a later date
Rikki (pictured left) was found in woodland in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, on November 29, 1994. His mother, Ruth Neave (right), was cleared by a jury at Northampton Crown Court of her son's murder
The majority verdict comes after 41-year-old Watson (pictured here in a court sketch) - who would have been 13 at the time of the killing - stood trial at the Old Bailey in London
He will be handed a life sentence, with Mrs Justice McGowan previously saying the minimum term in prison will reflect that Watson was 13 when he struck.
The court heard various victim impact statements, firstly from Rochelle Orr, one of Rikki's younger sisters.
She said: 'I was only three when Rikki was murdered and I was removed from my family. After I entered the care system I suffered severe mental health issues.
'I remember Rikki feeding me, washing me and help me with my clothes.
'He has missed so much or our lives, happy times that we have had. I also wonder what he would be like if he was still here but, sadly, I will never know because he was taken from me.'
Sheradyn (left) and Rochelle Neave, two of the sisters of murdered schoolboy Rikki Neave
Ms Orr looked at Watson in the dock at points.
Rebecca Maria Harvey, Rikki's eldest sister, broke down as she addressed the court.
She said: 'Although I was the eldest, it wasn't like that as he would look after me.
'Losing Rikki was like losing the other half of me. I still wake up every day thinking it was a nightmare. I never had a brother to grow up with.
'Rikki is the one who is not here and lost his life, but the effect this had on me and my family is just never-ending.'
She added: 'I just cannot understand what happened or why.
'This has been so traumatic, not knowing what happened to him or why. Not only did I lose Rikki, but I lost my whole family.
'I miss him so much. All of our lives have been turned upside down and nothing has been the same since.
'After all these years, it is about time Rikki has justice.'
The boy's mother Ruth Neave said she felt like she had her 'heart ripped out' when Rikki was murdered, as James Watson prepared to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday.
Addressing Watson, but not using his name, she said: 'After all these years of living your life... you finally get your comeuppance and Rikki Lee Harvey finally gets justice.'
Ms Neave said she did not want to be at court for Watson's sentencing, but in a victim impact statement said: 'Rikki was the most beautiful person ever. I miss all of his cheekiness, his laughter.
'Why would someone kill such a beautiful child?'
She said the murder had a huge impact on her family. Ms Neave said: 'Like stones dropping in a pond, it has rippled out far and wide.
'Rikki's murder left a massive hole in our lives and in our hearts. I miss him so much that it feels like I have had my heart ripped out.'
Rikki's body was found posed naked in a star shape by Watson, who would have been 13 at the time of the killing and whose father lived on the same estate as Rikki.
The horrific murder sparked national outrage at the time, less than two years after the abduction, torture and brutal killing of two-year-old James Bulger in Merseyside.
Watson's web of lies and constantly changing alibis which helped him evade justice for 28 years mean much about the murder still remains unclear - including whether he knew Rikki prior to the killing.
However jury members heard how Watson's DNA was found on adhesive tapings on Rikki's clothes, and that Watson's posing of the six-year-old's naked body was an act carried out for his own sexual gratification.
The decision also came 26 years after Rikki's mother Ruth Neave was cleared of her son's murder by a jury at Northampton Crown Court following a high-profile 16-day trial
She later admitted child cruelty in relation to a number of incidents throughout Rikki's short life, including grabbing Rikki around the throat, pushing him against a wall and lifting him up.
Ms Neave was jailed for seven years in October 1996. Today, speaking after the verdict, she described her son's murderer as a 'monster'.
In a statement following today's verdict, Ms Neave said: 'The only thing now is to close this chapter in my life and open a new one.
'I wonder what Rikki would be like today, married, children? Who knows?