Nikki Allan was just seven years old when she went missing on the short walk from her granddads flat to her own. They lived just 150 yards apart. Within ten minutes her mother, Sharon, knew she was missing. Something was wrong.
Within an hour family and friends were frantically searching for Nikki. Her aunt found her neatly placed shoes the following morning, outside a derelict building, just a few hundred yards from her home. Nikkis body was discovered inside the building by a neighbour. The little girl had been battered over the head with a brick and had suffered 37 stab wounds.
Police quickly brought a local man in for questioning. He lived on the same estate as Nikki and her family and, after a few days, confessed to the little girls murder.
There was other evidence. The blade of a knife recovered from the local mans lodgings matched the stab wounds. Blood splatters were found on his clothing. His sister told police he spent a long time in the shower, and washing his clothes on the night of Nikkis murder. This was not, his sister said, usual for him. He had lied to police, first claiming he did not know the little girl. Yet witnesses had seen him with Nikki many times. He denied he had been out on the evening of Nikki's murder. But various witnesses saw him in local pubs that evening. Nikki's favourite crisps were cheese and onion. He was seen buying them the night Nikki was killed.
Police were, it is said, confident that they had enough evidence to convict the local man. Much of what he had disclosed in statements indicated that he was directly involved in the child's murder, Sharon says she, and indeed the court, were told.
The trial began in October 1993 and the judge immediately identified a problem with the taped confessions. After two weeks of legal argument, he ruled that seven of the 12 interview tapes were inadmissible because officers had used "oppressive methods" to obtain the confession. After a six-week trial, the judge directed the jury to deliver a verdict of not guilty.
In 1994 Sharon took out a civil action against the local man, suing him for damages for "battery of a child resulting in her death". He did not contest the case and the court awarded Sharon £7,000. She has never received the money. The local man, meanwhile, was given a new identity. It seems he remains the prime suspect.
The police have always said that they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the murder. But Sharon believes the case should be reviewed. MAMAA supports Sharon in this request.
It is clear that things went badly wrong in the case of little Nikki Allan, and her family have paid the price. Justice has not been served for Nikki, nor her devoted family. A review could lead to fresh evidence. In light of the reforms to double jeopardy it could lead to the original acquittal being quashed and allow a re-trial of the original suspect. It could lead to identifying the little girls murderer, whoever he/she might be. And it could lead to a fair trial, for the victim and her family. Little Nikki Allan and her devoted family deserve no less.
If whoever killed Nikki is finally convicted, Sharon believes she could start to grieve properly for her beloved daughter. After a painful twenty year wait.
Please follow the links to Nikkis Facebook page, and to the petition which Sharon has had to set up in an attempt to get Justice for Nikki. She has the full support of MAMAA.