MILLIONS of TV viewers will tonight be asked to help solve Sunderland’s longest-running child murder investigation.
Almost 21 years after the brutal killing of schoolgirl Nikki Allan, a new reconstruction showing the final minutes of the seven-year-old’s life will be broadcast on Crimewatch.
Filmed in the city, it is hoped the clip, screened at 9pm, will provide that vital piece of evidence finally needed bring the killer to justice.
Nikki vanished after leaving her grandparents’ flat in Wear Garth, East End, on October 7, 1992. Her battered body was found the following day in the then derelict Exchange building, lying in a pool of blood, clubbed over the head with a brick and stabbed 37 times in the chest and abdomen.
This summer detectives returned to the city and filmed a new reconstruction, as a child actor followed in Nikki’s final footsteps.
Nikki’s mum Sharon Henderson today told the Echo how she hopes tonight will play a pivotal role in finding those responsible.
The 48-year-old, of Ryhope, added: “I hope this makes the difference. I hope this tells those responsible that I’m never going to give up until Nikki’s killer is caught.
“There are those who are out there, covering this up.
“They should feel guilty and realise there will be no end to it until the truth comes out.”
Sharon was interviewed for the BBC show at Gill Bridge police station and said reliving that harrowing night all over again has taken its toll.
“It might have been 21 years ago, but it still feels like yesterday to me,” added Sharon.
“The pain never goes away, the anger never goes away.
“The doctor has had to help me get through what is a very hard time for me.
“I just want anyone out there with information about Nikki’s killer to come forward.”
Sharon says she plans to watch the reconstruction with police in Sunderland in the hours before the programme airs.
She added: “I couldn’t go down there and watch the reconstruction being filmed, it would have been too hard.”
Detective Superintendent Roger Ford, who leads the force’s Major Crime Teams, will be on the programme appealing for information.
He said: “This was an extremely brutal attack on a defenceless seven-year-old girl and 21 years after it happened, it’s still talked about in Sunderland.
“Technology and forensic investigation techniques are improving all of the time and it’s our hope that these advances along with new information from the public could lead to us finding out who murdered her.
“We want the Crimewatch reconstruction to reach as many people as possible in the hope it jogs someone’s memory, especially people who may be from Sunderland and have moved away over the years since the murder.
“We want to appeal directly to anyone who used the Old Exchange Building back in 1992.
“It was a large, dark and derelict building, however we know it was used by drug takers, vagrants and local youths as somewhere to hide out.
“Lots of people used to come and go from the building and we want anyone who used to spend time there, for whatever reason, to ring us and talk to us about what they remember about the place – especially the names and details of anyone who they know visited or spent time there.
“The people who spent time in the Old Exchange Building back in 1992 could be vital in helping us identify Nikki’s killer as we believe that whoever killed Nikki must have used the building before and knew its layout.”
Anyone with any information into the murder of Nikki Allan can speak to detectives on a dedicated number, which is 0800 4565 914.