On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the murder of Sunderland schoolgirl Nikki Allan, her mother Sharon Henderson spoke out in empathy with the parents of missing five-year-old April Jones, as a fresh search began today.
“I’ve got the news on constantly and I’m watching it,” she told the Echo, “just hoping she comes home.
“I just want her parents to know I’m thinking about them and I hope she is found safe.
“I’m looking at the mam, thinking, I know what you have been through.
“You are a parent sitting there and everyone is talking about you and talking about the case.
“Whenever a child goes missing, I think, I wonder where Nikki’s killer is.”
Like April’s home in the Bryn-y-Gog estate, Machynlleth, Wales, Sunderland’s East End was a close-knit community, which in October 1992 was shocked by the abduction and murder of a seven-year-old girl.
“People lived there for generations and generations,” said Sharon.
“It was close and people had never heard of stuff like rape and murder.
“At first, a lot of people did not know how to deal with the situation.
“It has got easier over time for them, but not for me.”