Sharon Henderson has spoken of her despair at the past police probe into her daughter’s murder, which has failed to bring her killer to justice 25 years on from her shocking death.
The grandmother-of-four hit out at Northumbria Police’s past efforts as she joined officers now tasked with finding her seven-year-old’s murderer to appeal for people who came into contact with Nikki to play their part in rebuilding DNA files.
Speaking at a press conference at Southwick Police Station on Friday, accompanied by her daughter Niomi Waldron, 26, she talked of how she would always live with the fact she allowed Nikki to make her way home alone.
Since that tragic day when Nikki’s body was found in the Old Exchange building, she has struggled with grief - but she feels more could have been done to track down the brute who brought her girl’s life to an end.
She told of how Nikki, a pupil at St John and St Patrick’s School, had been out on a boat trip with her class on what she called a “normal day” when she disappeared.
Nikki had been with her cousin and had been asking about playing in the park when she was last seen by Sharon as Nikki left her grandparents’ house on the night of October 7, 1992.
I believe Nikki deserves justice and I believe that Nikki’s case has been shoved to one side for so long and not investigated properly.Sharon Henderson
She was reported missing later that night before her body was discovered the next day.
She said: “You just don’t dream if this, I didn’t know about murderers and paedophiles.
“I was only 26-years-old, the same age as my daughter now.”
She added they were an “ordinary family” who lived in a close-knit community where carnivals brought people together.
A male teacher helped lead the event, with Sharon appealing for him to come forward all these years later to help add his details to the DNA files of the police, which is looking to discount men from their inquiry as well hunt down the murderer.
Sharon, who is also mum to Stacey, 33, and Zara, 28, said: “I really you to come forward, it’s a really serious crime.
“I’ve got to live with it for the rest of my life that I let Nikki walk down a flight of stairs.
“I’m living with it now and I’m living without Nikki.”
Speaking of her frustrations about the police inquiries, she said: “The team on Nikki’s case now, I’ve met them, I’ve met the whole team over the past couple of days and I’ve got confidence in them.
“But I feel let down by the justice system over the past 25 years, because I feel Nikki’s case would have been solved over and over if they’d acted on the information I’ve taken to them.
“I’ve been investigating my own daughter’s murder for 25 years.
“I believe Nikki deserves justice and I believe that Nikki’s case has been shoved to one side for so long and not investigated properly.
“I know it’s getting done now, but in the past...shame on the police.”