The loved ones of murdered schoolgirl Nikki Allan are hosting a 24-hour tweetathon as they prepare to mark what would have been her 30th birthday tomorrow.
Seven-year-old Nikki’s battered body was discovered in a pool of blood in the derelict Quayside Exchange building after she vanished after leaving her grandparents’ home in Wear Garth in the East End on October 7, 1992.
Police say the investigation to find her killer is still going, with DNA tests among the tools being used to try to find her murderer.
Her mum Sharon Henderson, 48, and her daughters Stacey Allan, 32, Zara Waldron, 25, and Niomi Waldron, 23, plan to gather tomorrow as they mark the occasion.
Today, her family and supporters have started a campaign on Facebook and Twitter, sending out regular posts as they appeal for help to trace her killer and mark the event.
Using the hashtag #nikki30, they are urging people with information to call Crimestoppers and highlighting how they are still fighting for justice 23 years on.
It started at midnight and will run until the end of today.
It follows a similar appeal on behalf by people who have backed the family of Welsh youngster April Jones, who was murdered by Mark Bridger in October 2012, with those campaigners now helping Sharon as her calls take to the social networks.
She said: “It’s to get awareness for Nikki and that we still haven’t got justice.
“We want people to come forward with information.
We know milestones such as Nikki’s birthday, especially this birthday that would have been her 30th, are exceptionally difficult and our thoughts remain with Sharon and her family.Detective Chief Inspector Lisa Theaker
“We’ve had a really good response.”
Earlier this week, Detective Chief Inspector Lisa Theaker, of Northumbria Police, said: “The investigation into the murder of Nikki Allan is still ongoing and we will continue to do all we can to identify who is responsible for her murder.
“We continually review the investigation, which began in 1992, and always look to apply new forensic techniques to the inquiry, as and when they become available.
“There is a forensic review ongoing and we will continue to work together with Nikki’s mum, Sharon, to investigate and explore lines of enquiry and we maintain regular contact to keep her updated on the ongoing investigation.
“We know milestones such as Nikki’s birthday, especially this birthday that would have been her 30th, are exceptionally difficult and our thoughts remain with Sharon and her family.
“Although Nikki was killed almost 23 years ago, we still continue to appeal for help in solving this murder.
“Anyone with any information is asked to contact police. If any new evidence comes to light this will be investigated.”
Nikki’s beaten body happened the day after her shoes were found outside the crumbling Quayside Exchange in High Street East, just a short distance from her family home.
The youngster had been stabbed 37 times in the chest and abdomen, while a brick had been used to hit her in the head.
The continuing police investigation has included a reconstruction set up for BBC show Crimewatch in September 2013, which prompted a flurry of calls and sparked a host of new leads.
Anyone with information is urged to call Northumbria Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.