An “emotional” weekly editor has shared his delight after successfully fighting for detectives to re-open a 20-year-old child murder case.
Rikki was found dead in a ditch in Peterborough in November 1994, but his killer has yet to be brought to justice.
His mother Ruth was jailed in 1996 for seven years for neglect after admitting “appalling ill-treatment” of her son, but was unanimously cleared of murder by a jury.
The Times’s campaign began in January 2014 after Ruth’s husband Gary contacted John, who arranged a press conference to launch a fresh witness appeal and even spent time with the couple on holiday in a bid to “better understand them”.
They received a setback when detectives revealed in August last year there was not enough evidence to begin a fresh investigation.
A special video report was also produced by the Times in February in a bid to put pressure on the police to reverse this decision.
The announcement that the case would be re-opened was made yesterday lunchtime at Cambridgeshire Police headquarters, in Huntingdon.
John told HTFP he was “thrilled” with the outcome.
He said: “I don’t cry very often but I have over this. It was a very emotional day.
“On a personal level this caused me more grief than anything I’ve ever worked on.
“It’s been personally quite a difficult time for me but I’ve got no regrets at all about it.”
The Times, which comes out each Friday, held its front page yesterday in order to cover the announcement in its print edition, pictured below.
John added his thanks to the newspaper’s parent company Archant for accommodating the late change.
He said: “Whatever happens, we as a local paper have done our job and I think we’ve done it extremely well, and up and down the country you’ve got young people and even older people like myself who are extremely passionate about this job.
“I had a short spell out of journalism 20 years ago and the best decision of my life was to come back into it.”