Detectives follow new leads after Crimewatch appeal over murdered Sunderland schoolgirl Nikki Allan

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DETECTIVES are today following a number of new leads into the murder of schoolgirl Nikki Allan after a reconstruction on TV’s Crimewatch.

The programme, screened on Thursday night, resulted in a number of calls, including one from a woman claiming to have originally withheld information.

Sharon Henderson (mother of Nikki Allen, who was murdered in Sunderland's East End).

Sharon Henderson (mother of Nikki Allen, who was murdered in Sunderland's East End).

The battered body of seven-year-old Nikki was found in the old Exchange Building, in Sunderland’s East End, in October 1992. She had been battered with a brick and stabbed 37 times.

Despite a number of arrests, no one has been convicted of her murder and it is hoped the reconstruction, along with improvements in forensics, can move the investigation forward.

Detective Superintendent Roger Ford, of Northumbria Police, said: “Crimewatch was an excellent opportunity to reach a huge audience and appeal for fresh information into the murder of Nikki Allan, and I want to thank everyone who has called in and passed information on so far.

“Although the murder happened 21 years ago it is still very much an active case for Northumbria Police and we will continue to investigate until Nikki’s killer is brought justice.

“We still want to hear from anyone who thinks they may know something or have any information that could help us with the investigation.

“Any information – especially around the Old Exchange building and those who used to hang about in there in 1992 – could prove vital in helping us solve this murder. If you know anything, no matter how insignificant you may think it is, then call us and pass it on.”

For Nikki’s mother, Sharon Henderson, the Crimewatch appeal brings fresh hope of seeing her daughter’s murderer brought to justice.

But, her friend, Angie McGhee, who lives in Newcastle and who watched the reconstruction with her, said: “She is pleased with the response, but she daren’t get her hopes up in case they are hoax callers, she has been let down so many times before.”

She said 48-year-old Sharon, who lives in Hendon, was distraught watching the television programme and sobbed all night.

Nikki, who was one of four sisters, 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 building, lying in a pool of blood.

Following Nikki’s death, neighbour George Heron, of Wear Garth, Hendon, was charged with her murder. But, before the start of his trial, a judge banned a taped confession being played to the jury and he was cleared.

Anyone with any information into the murder of Nikki Allan can speak to detectives on a dedicated number, 0800 4565 914, or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.