12 episodes

The Boy in the Woods, six-year-old Rikki Neave, had been strangled and left naked. His body was positioned in a distinctive star shape.
People on the council estate where he lived told police they had seen his mother, Ruth, hitting and shouting at Rikki. He was on the Social Services Register of children at risk. All the people closest to Rikki were in trouble and all of them were known to the authorities who offered help. It didn't work. The day before he died his mother begged a family aid worker to take him into care, saying she would kill him.
Winifred Robinson has been following this case for more than 20 years. She's always felt it held the key to what goes wrong in the lives of society's most vulnerable children. Police built a case against Rikki's mother but this investigation uncovers how crucial evidence was never brought before the court. Ruth Neave was jailed for seven years for child cruelty while Rikki's killer was left at large.
The series exposes how this happened and what it took for the truth to emerge. Original police interview tapes, evidence from forensic scientists and others who have never spoken to the media before, help piece together what happened.. Close friends of Rikki, who were themselves vulnerable children, reveal for the first time how his death came to shape all their lives.
And as the net closes in on the real killer, who was himself a boy of only 13 at the time, how he goes on the run, taunting police from abroad.
We hear from a teacher who alerted police to this boy at the time of Rikki's death, noticing his obsession with the case. We've recorded the first interviews with a family aid worker who was with Rikki, the day before he died and with a troubled teenager who was alongside his mother on the day he was killed.
As the verdict is delivered, the jurors share with us how they weighed the evidence that convinced them they had looked into the eyes of a killer.
Winifred Robinson, the reporter, and Sue Mitchell, the series producer, are an award-winning BBC documentary team. They have worked together for 20 years on high profile cases, interviewing the father of James Bulger. His son's killing provoked huge interest in Rikki's case.

The Boy in the Woods BBC Radio 4

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9 • 27 Ratings

The Boy in the Woods, six-year-old Rikki Neave, had been strangled and left naked. His body was positioned in a distinctive star shape.
People on the council estate where he lived told police they had seen his mother, Ruth, hitting and shouting at Rikki. He was on the Social Services Register of children at risk. All the people closest to Rikki were in trouble and all of them were known to the authorities who offered help. It didn't work. The day before he died his mother begged a family aid worker to take him into care, saying she would kill him.
Winifred Robinson has been following this case for more than 20 years. She's always felt it held the key to what goes wrong in the lives of society's most vulnerable children. Police built a case against Rikki's mother but this investigation uncovers how crucial evidence was never brought before the court. Ruth Neave was jailed for seven years for child cruelty while Rikki's killer was left at large.
The series exposes how this happened and what it took for the truth to emerge. Original police interview tapes, evidence from forensic scientists and others who have never spoken to the media before, help piece together what happened.. Close friends of Rikki, who were themselves vulnerable children, reveal for the first time how his death came to shape all their lives.
And as the net closes in on the real killer, who was himself a boy of only 13 at the time, how he goes on the run, taunting police from abroad.
We hear from a teacher who alerted police to this boy at the time of Rikki's death, noticing his obsession with the case. We've recorded the first interviews with a family aid worker who was with Rikki, the day before he died and with a troubled teenager who was alongside his mother on the day he was killed.
As the verdict is delivered, the jurors share with us how they weighed the evidence that convinced them they had looked into the eyes of a killer.
Winifred Robinson, the reporter, and Sue Mitchell, the series producer, are an award-winning BBC documentary team. They have worked together for 20 years on high profile cases, interviewing the father of James Bulger. His son's killing provoked huge interest in Rikki's case.

    Introducing The Boy in the Woods

    Introducing The Boy in the Woods

    Winifred Robinson tells the story of a case that's stayed with her for more than half of her working life and asks why it took more than 20 years to catch a child's killer.

    • 3 min
    1. A Child is Missing

    1. A Child is Missing

    For more than 20 years the case of the murder of six-year-old Rikki Neave went unsolved. In this new ten part investigation, award-winning journalist Winifred Robinson, has unearthed the truth through unprecedented access to police interview rooms, and follows the investigation as the police move in on the perpetrator.
    It's a haunting and heart-breaking case filled with injustice, a story of vulnerable children, known to the authorities who should have been protected, a tale of lives wasted and cut short. You'll hear original police tapes never broadcast before, fresh testimony from suspects and witnesses, new and compelling evidence from forensic scientists. The series takes you inside the jury room and abroad as the manhunt closes in.
    Close friends of Rikki, who were themselves vulnerable children, explain for the first time how a lively and mischievous six-year-old was an easy target for a killer who would kill him in the woods near his home in Peterborough and lay out his body in a macabre star shape. Rikki's death came to shape all their lives.
    Winifred Robinson, the reporter, and Sue Mitchell, the series producer, are an award-winning BBC documentary team. They have worked together for 20 years on high profile cases, interviewing the father of James Bulger. His son's killing provoked huge interest in Rikki’s case.
    In Episode One of The Boy in the Woods the BBC Journalist, Winifred Robinson, tracks the last hours before six-year-old Rikki was reported missing. He was late setting off for school that day. His mother, Ruth, watched him as he quickly ate his breakfast and then she caught sight of him just before he went out the front door: it was the last time she would ever see him alive again.
    The Boy in the Woods is Presented by BBC Journalist, Winifred Robinson; the Series Producer is Sue Mitchell
    Sound Design is by Tom Brignall

    • 19 min
    2. A Body is Found

    2. A Body is Found

    For more than 20 years the case of the murder of six-year-old Rikki Neave went unsolved. In this new ten part investigation, award-winning journalist Winifred Robinson, has unearthed the truth through unprecedented access to police interview rooms, and follows the investigation as the police move in on the perpetrator.
    It's a haunting and heart-breaking case filled with injustice, a story of vulnerable children, known to the authorities who should have been protected, a tale of lives wasted and cut short. You'll hear original police tapes never broadcast before, fresh testimony from suspects and witnesses, new and compelling evidence from forensic scientists. The series takes you inside the jury room and abroad as the manhunt closes in.
    In Episode Two of The Boy in the Woods two police officers searching the woods near Rikki's home find the body of the six-year-old: he's been strangled, stripped and posed star-shaped, with his arms outstretched and legs wide apart. His murder sends shock waves through the local community and friends and neighbours quickly start trying to piece together what's happened and who might be responsible.

    The Boy in the Woods is Presented by BBC Journalist, Winifred Robinson; the Series Producer is Sue Mitchell
    Sound Design is by Tom Brignall

    • 19 min
    3. The Prime Suspect

    3. The Prime Suspect

    For more than 20 years the case of the murder of six-year-old Rikki Neave went unsolved. In this new ten part investigation, award-winning journalist Winifred Robinson, has unearthed the truth through unprecedented access to police interview rooms, and follows the investigation as the police move in on the perpetrator.
    It's a haunting and heart-breaking case filled with injustice, a story of vulnerable children, known to the authorities who should have been protected, a tale of lives wasted and cut short. You'll hear original police tapes never broadcast before, fresh testimony from suspects and witnesses, new and compelling evidence from forensic scientists. The series takes you inside the jury room and abroad as the manhunt closes in.
    In Episode Three of Boy in the Woods, police are searching for evidence and on the Welland Estate rumours are flying thick and fast. Parents are fearful about letting their children out and those close to the family are re-evaluating what they thought they knew about Rikki's Mum, Ruth. In police appeals for help it's Rikki's father who is featured, with tears streaming down his face. Behind the scenes many are wondering about the family and whether it holds clues to what might have happened to the lively six-year-old.
    The Boy in the Woods is Presented by BBC Journalist, Winifred Robinson; the Series Producer is Sue Mitchell
    Sound Design is by Tom Brignall

    • 21 min
    4. The Interrogation

    4. The Interrogation

    In Episode Four of The Boy in the Woods, BBC Journalist, Winifred Robinson, pieces together how police officers set about building their case against Rikki's mother, Ruth. They question her relentlessly for more than twenty hours as they attempt to trap her. The tapes draw you into the nightmare world she faced, with one officer saying in response to her claims that she was a good Mum: "If you're such a good Mum then, Ruth, how come you've got one child dead and another one in care?"
    The Boy in the Woods is Presented by BBC Journalist, Winifred Robinson; the Series Producer is Sue Mitchell
    Sound Design is by Tom Brignall

    • 30 min
    5. The Clamour for Justice

    5. The Clamour for Justice

    For more than 20 years the case of the murder of six-year-old Rikki Neave went unsolved. In this new ten part investigation, award-winning journalist Winifred Robinson, has unearthed the truth through unprecedented access to police interview rooms, and follows the investigation as the police move in on the perpetrator.
    It's a haunting and heart-breaking case filled with injustice, a story of vulnerable children, known to the authorities who should have been protected, a tale of lives wasted and cut short. You'll hear original police tapes never broadcast before, fresh testimony from suspects and witnesses, new and compelling evidence from forensic scientists. The series takes you inside the jury room and abroad as the manhunt closes in.
    In Episode Five of the Boy in the Woods, BBC Journalist, Winifred Robinson, interviews Bryonie Swift, a family aid worker assigned to work with Ruth and her children in the months before Rikki's death. In this, her first public interview, she reveals Ruth's frustration with Rikki the day before he went missing. In a haunting exchange the young mother turned to Bryonie and told her that she couldn't cope. She wanted help and if she didn't get it, she said she would "kill him."
    The Boy in the Woods is Presented by BBC Journalist, Winifred Robinson; the Series Producer is Sue Mitchell
    Sound Design is by Tom Brignall

    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
27 Ratings

27 Ratings

Garyjpduff ,

Powerful

One of the most powerful and gripping podcasts I’ve listened to.Tragic story,well told.couldn’t recommend highly enough.

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