RIKKI Neave's killer has lost an appeal against his conviction for murdering the six-year-old.
James Watson was just 13 when he strangled Rikki five minutes from his home in Peterborough, Cambs, in 1994.
Watson, now 40, was jailed for life with a minimum of 15 years last June after being found guilty of murder.
He today lost an appeal against his conviction after he launched a bid at the Court of Appeal.
Watson was finally charged with Rikki's murder more than 20 years after the killing when his DNA showed on the boy's clothing.
The youngster's mum Ruth Neave had stood trial for his murder but was cleared – leading to a 27-year cold case mystery.
She released a statement today, saying: "The news today brings to an end a very long journey of horror and tragedy."
Ruth had called 999 to report her son missing on the evening of November 28, 1994.
Rikki's body was discovered the next day by a police officer in woodland near the housing estate in Peterborough where he lived.
Watson strangled Rikki then "deliberately posed" the naked youngster into a "star shape with outstretched arms and his legs placed wide apart" for his sexual gratification.
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Chillingly, the killer stayed with Rikki's body for an hour before leaving the youngster uncovered in woodland.
Jurors heard how he had been seen with the youngster on the day he vanished and was spoken to by police at the time.
But he told "many lies", claimed he did not know Rikki and made no mention of "physical contact".
It was only when his DNA showed on Rikki's clothes that he was charged with murder.
At his sentencing, Ruth said Watson was a "monster" who had ruined her life and those of her children.
She added: "James Watson, you have no idea what you have done. But you do of course. You are pure evil, with no conscience."
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