DNA ev­i­dence leads to ar­rest in unsolved mur­der of schoolgirl

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Daily Tele­graph Reporter

AN AR­REST has been made in one of Bri­tain’s long­est unsolved child killings fol­low­ing a DNA break­through.

Northum­bria Po­lice have de­tained a man in Stock­ton-on-tees on sus­pi­cion of mur­der­ing Nikki Al­lan fol­low­ing a raid on a house in the town, 25 miles from where she died in Sunderland.

Schoolgirl Nikki was just seven years old when she was found stabbed to death in a derelict build­ing af­ter van­ish­ing from near her Sunderland home in Oc­to­ber 1992. She had been stabbed 37 times.

The force said the ar­rest, on Tues­day, was con­nected to a “his­toric of­fence”, and it con­firmed yes­ter­day that a man was held over the death of the seven-year-old.

In a statement, a po­lice spokesman said: “A man was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of the mur­der of schoolgirl Nikki Al­lan. He has been re­leased un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion and en­quiries are on­go­ing.”

Nikki’s mother, Sharon Hen­der­son, 51, said: “It’s been a very emo­tional time. When the po­lice told me they had ar­rested some­one it was such a shock I al­most col­lapsed. Now he’s been re­leased I don’t know what to think.”

Last year, the 25th an­niver­sary of Nikki’s mur­der, po­lice re­vealed that they were ex­am­in­ing new DNA ev­i­dence af­ter a break­through in Oc­to­ber.

Nikki van­ished on a Wed­nes­day evening in Oc­to­ber 1992 af­ter leav­ing her grand­par­ents’ in Sunderland’s Wear Garth. Neigh­bours formed search par­ties in a des­per­ate bid to find the lit­tle girl but her body was later found in a derelict build­ing a few hun­dred yards away, af­ter her shoes were found out­side.

Break­ing his si­lence about his daugh­ter’s death last year, Nikki’s dad David Al­lan said: “I have re­mained quiet about Nikki’s death for 25 years but now is the time I need to speak out.

“I can’t be­gin to de­scribe how dif­fi­cult life has been with­out my beau­ti­ful lit­tle girl. I would never want any­one to suf­fer the heartache we have suf­fered as par­ents.”

In 1993, Ge­orge Heron, then aged 24, stood trial for Nikki’s mur­der but was cleared by a jury at Leeds Crown Court.

Then in 2014, Steven Grieve­son, the se­rial killer known as “the Sunderland stran­gler”, was ar­rested and ques­tioned on sus­pi­cion of Nikki’s mur­der. How­ever, Grieve­son was later told he would face no ac­tion.

Crimestop­pers had of­fered a reward of up to £10,000 for any­one with in­for­ma­tion that leads to the con­vic­tion of Nikki’s killer.

Seven-year-old Nikki Al­lan was found stabbed to death in a derelict build­ing in Wear Garth, Sunderland

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