NEW DNA technology has given a grieving mum fresh hope that police may catch her daughter’s killer.
Seven-year-old Nikki Allan’s body was found in the then-derelict Exchange Building in High Street East, close to her home at Wear Garth, in October 1992.
She had been beaten around the head and stabbed in the chest.
Since then, Sharon Henderson has tirelessly fought for justice and vowed to continue her battle until her daughter’s killer is put behind bars.
Now, the 44-year-old has been given a glimmer of hope after an advance in technology has led to Sunderland detectives revisiting the case.
It is believed they are carrying out new tests on bannisters and other items seized from the building when Nikki’s body was found.
“I was in shock when I got the phone call,” said Sharon. “Because I’ve been trying to get used to there being no developments in the case.
“This has given me more hope, and now I’ve just got to hope that something comes of it.”
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Young added: “Unsolved murders are never closed and regularly reviewed.
“This is an ongoing investigation and as new techniques become available we will follow up any investigative opportunity.
“We regularly test a number of items. If any new evidence comes to light this will be investigated.”
In September, Sharon launched a Facebook page – Justice for Nikki Allan – as a way to get people to back her campaign.
To date, almost 3,000 people have liked the page, with people pledging their support from across the globe.
She has also lobbied the Prime Minister, MPs, the Home Secretary and the Association of Chief Police Officers.
She said: “I can’t believe the amount of support I’ve got from people. They’ve been sending me letters and messages non-stop.
“I’ve had so many letters back from ministers and MPs, it’s had an amazing response. I’ve just got to hope that it all leads somewhere.”
Jobless neighbour George Heron was charged with murdering Nikki after confessing to detectives.
But the confession never made it to trial after the judge ruled it had been obtained under oppressive questioning.
Heron was cleared of all criminal charges in November 1993, but was later ordered to pay damages to the family after a civil case.