12 episodes

Why it took more than 20 years to track down a killer. Winifred Robinson investigates a case that's stayed with her for more than half her working life.

The Boy in the Woods BBC Radio 4

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 17 Ratings

Why it took more than 20 years to track down a killer. Winifred Robinson investigates a case that's stayed with her for more than half her working life.

    The Boy in the Woods: The Discussion

    The Boy in the Woods: The Discussion

    In this one-off special documentary linked to her recent series 'The Boy in the Woods', Winifred Robinson brings together Lord Laming who led an inquiry into Rikki Neave's death with Dame Louise Casey, who oversaw the Troubled Families Programme, and Polly Curtis, whose written extensively about what is happening in the care system today.

    The programme reports on current best-practice and how it can be replicated and examines what's happened in the years since Rikki’s death. What is our baseline here and what are we trying to achieve? And is there an acceptable level of risk?

    There were a whole series of investigations in the aftermath of the death of six-year-old Rikki Neave and promises in Parliament that lessons would be learned. His case is in the news again because his killer has been convicted after 27 years. The many layers of sadness and disadvantage in Rikki’s life are explored in the Winifred Robinson 10-part Radio 4 series.

    The case is a marker for more than a quarter of a century of lost children and good intentions. Rikki was on the register of children at risk. His mother had asked for him to be taken into care, saying she couldn’t control him, couldn’t cope. He was playing truant from school on the day he died, a vulnerable child, an easy target.

    Jurors at his trial say that one of the saddest aspects is the knowledge that children like Rikki are still dying today, that social services inquiries keep coming to the same conclusions about poor information-sharing, bad management and overloaded, inexperienced staff.

    Winifred's three guests have extensive experience of what has gone wrong in the past and what we could be changing to improve the life chances for the most vulnerable children in society. This is a unique opportunity for listeners to consider some of the wider aspects raised in the series, The Boy in the Woods

    Lord Herbert Laming has been a social worker, a director of social services, head of the Social Services Inspectorate. He was involved in Rikki’s case. He chaired the public inquiry into the murder of Victoria Climbie. The government asked him to review child protection after the death of Baby P, Peter Connolly in 2007.

    Baroness Louise Casey has been finding practical solutions to difficult social problems for years now. She led the Anti-Social Behaviour Unit at the Home Office, the Troubled Families Programme, the investigation into the Rotherham Child Sexual Exploitation scandal.

    Polly Curtis is a journalist who’s just published a book, Behind Closed Doors: Why We Break Up Families and How to Mend Them. She knows what’s happening in the care system now, what’s changed, what could be better.

    • 27 min
    10. A Case to Answer

    10. A Case to Answer

    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, know 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 Ten of The Boy in the Woods the BBC Journalist, Winifred Robinson, reveals recordings of Rikki's step-father, Dean Neave, being questioned by police following the murder. Unlike Ruth Neave, Dean never faced charges of child neglect; but as Rikki's sister, Rochelle, reveals, the six year old was regularly beaten and ill treated by his step-Dad. Ruth herself thought Dean might have had a hand in what happened to him and in the wake of his death social services had many questions to answer.

    The Boy in the Woods is Presented by BBC Journalist, Winifred Robinson; the Series Producer is Sue Mitchell
    Sound Design is by Tom Brignall
    The Editor is Philip Sellars
    We would like to thank the Cambridgeshire Journalist, John Elworthy, for his help in the making of this series.

    • 30 min
    9. A Web of Lies

    9. A Web of Lies

    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, know 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 Nine of The Boy in the Woods the BBC Journalist, Winifred Robinson, is at the Old Bailey in London as the jury is sworn in. Their task: to decide the guilt or innocence of James Watson. In a trial full of twists and turns, Winifred hears from some of the jurors about what helped them reach their verdict and as police wait anxiously in court she reflects on her own feelings about the case.

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

    • 27 min
    8. A Suspect on the Run

    8. A Suspect on the Run

    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, know 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 Eight of The Boy in the Woods the BBC Journalist, Winifred Robinson, investigates the past of the new main suspect in the case, a grown man now, but a boy of 13 at the time of Rikki's death. As the case against him takes shape he escapes to Portugal, hiding out in a camper van to avoid border controls. Once there he sends taunting photos to journalists in the UK and criticises what he claims are police attempts to incriminate 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 and Joel Moors

    • 23 min
    7. Hidden Clues

    7. Hidden Clues

    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, know 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 Seven of The Boy in the Woods the BBC Journalist, Winifred Robinson, begins piecing together the forensic evidence overlooked by the first team of investigators. Fibres found on Rikki's clothes could hold the key to finding the killer: with more sensitive DNA techniques now available, might it be possible to find a match on the police databases?

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

    • 27 min
    6. Out of the Shadows

    6. Out of the Shadows

    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 Six of The Boy in the Woods the BBC Journalist, Winifred Robinson, records with Ruth Neave after her release from prison. She wants to clear her name and find her son's killer and is being supported by her new husband, Gary Rogers. Winifred follows what happens as they appeal to Cambridgeshire Police to re-open the case.

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

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
17 Ratings

17 Ratings

Garyjpduff ,

Powerful

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

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

GoLoud
The Stand
Global
Louise McSharry
RTÉ Documentary on One
Elizabeth Day

You Might Also Like

BBC Radio Scotland
Tortoise Media
The Guardian
BBC Radio
Peter Butt
BBC Radio 5 live