The mother of murdered schoolgirl Nikki Allan has spoken of her heartbreak that her daughter’s uncle will never live to see justice done after his sudden death.
Nikki’s mum Sharon Henderson, 48, said her brother, Greg Prest, 52, was a doting uncle to the seven-year-old, whose brutal killing remains unsolved.
Her body was found in a pool of blood, having been stabbed 37 times in the chest shortly after leaving her grandparents’ home in Wear Garth in the East End on October 7, 1992.
Greg, of St Leonard Street, Hendon, struggled to cope with the tragedy and the long fight for justice to find Nikki’s killer, and turned to drink and drugs.
Then, last year he was dealt another devastating blow.
His own daughter, Jade Clancy, 23, was involved in a horror car crash in Sheffield on February 21. She died on July 20, after spending five months in a coma.
I’m just heartbroken. It upsets me that our Greg couldn’t see justice for Nikki, to see them caught.Sharon Henderson
His family says he never recovered from his grief, and on February 28 he was found unconscious at home by his cousin David Hutchinson.
“He was finding it hard to cope with Nikki’s murder,” Sharon said. “Then his own daughter died. Everything got on top of him and he couldn’t cope.
“He felt helpless, that’s what a man feels like. He felt helpless over the years.
“We are waiting for the DNA analysis of Nikki’s clothing and other things and I’ve asked to see the results.
“I’m just heartbroken. It upsets me that our Greg couldn’t see justice for Nikki, to see them caught.
“He didn’t get over that and he didn’t get over his own bairn. There is only so much in life that you can take
“I don’t think people realise it is the families who are serving the prison sentence, not the killers.”
An inquest at Sunderland Civic Centre heard he had drank two large bottles of sherry and brandy, as well as cans of lager, through the night.
Mr Hutchinson discovered him sitting on the sofa with his head rolled back, shortly after noon. He was pronounced dead by paramedics.
A post mortem, conducted by Dr Jennifer Bolton, found the primary cause of death to be bronchopneumonia – likely to be brought on by being unconscious for a number of hours – with a secondary cause of diazepam, cocaine and alcohol toxicity.
Test also showed he also had morphine in his system, which most likely was due to him smoking heroin.
Sunderland assistant coroner Andrew Hetherington, recorded a conclusion that Greg’s death was alcohol and drugs related.
“He had consumed a large quantity of alcohol and a mixed cocktail of other substances,” Mr Hetherington said.
Greg’s other sister, Joan said her brother was a keen artist and poet.
The 52-year-old, who lived with Greg for many years, called him a “typical lad”.
“He was no angel but he had a heart of gold,” she said. “He was a good person who had lots of friends.
“Greg and I lived in Sheffield for a number of years, Sharon and I visited each other and we moved back here a year-and-a-half ago.
“We decided to come back to support my sister with the Justice for Nikki campaign.
“He lost his daughter last year and he’s never been the same.
“He had a brilliant nature, but he’s had a hard life with what’s happened to his and Sharon’s daughters.”