Watson ‘ambushed’ Rikki Neave and strangled him, court told

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16:34 March 30, 2022

James Watson ‘ambushed Rikki Neave and strangled him to death’, the Old Bailey was told today

Prosecutor John Price QC told jurors that Watson and Rikki were seen from the city’s Welland Estate on November 28, 1994.

He said: “It was a sunny late autumn day and they went to a place they both knew well and had both visited before, at least during the day – they went to the woods.

Sometime after the two boys arrived in the woods, James Watson ambush from behind and without warning Rikki Neave and strangled him with a ligature, whether it was the collar of the jacket Rikki was wearing or something on the collar. had been applied.

“Rikki was wearing the jacket when he died and it was still zipped up because the zipper left a tell-tale sign on his neck.

James Watson then undressed the child’s body.

“He had an abiding sexual interest in small children, which he had acted on last year, an interest heightened by a morbid fantasy of the death of a child known to have been on his mind three days earlier.”

Mr Price said one of the buttons on Rikki’s shirt came off and was placed on a nearby tray while Watson was “doing what he was doing”.

Watson then posed Rikki’s body “as he did with a dead bird” which he killed months later; jurors heard.

He then took Rikki’s clothes and threw them in the trash, the court was told.

After that, Watson became “fascinated with the consequences of his own act,” copying newspaper stories about Rikki’s death, Price said.

But when speaking to teachers, he did not reveal that he had been with Rikki that day, only telling the police when they called days later, the court was told.

His account was not questioned or challenged for more than two decades, during which time Watson gained a “significant amount of forensic experience,” Mr Price said.

So before the police told him about the DNA link to Rikki’s clothing, he prepared a statement — that he’d picked him up to look through a hole in a fence, Mr Price suggested.

The prosecutor said: “He would tell them how, all these years later, he still had a chuckle when it came to his mind at the memory of the little boy peering through the hole in the fence.”

That, Mr Price said, was Watson’s “really big mistake because all those years later it had never occurred to him that it would be possible to prove conclusively that the high fence wasn’t there” the day Rikki was murdered.

Watson, of no fixed abode, denies murder. The process continues.

James Watson, now 40, is on trial at the Old Bailey on charges of murdering the six-year-old in the woods of Peterborough when he was 13.

More than 20 years later, Watson’s DNA was found on Rikki’s clothing, which had been discarded in a nearby wheelie bin.

Watson, of no fixed abode, denies murder. The process continues.

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