New arrest in hunt for killer of Sunderland schoolgirl Nikki Allan

Sharon Henderson
Sharon Henderson

A man has been arrested by detectives hunting the killer of Sunderland schoolgirl Nikki Allan.

Northumbria Police today confirmed a suspect had been quizzed on suspicion of killing the seven-year-old near her home in Hendon more than 25 years ago.

Nikki Allan

Nikki Allan

Seven-year-old Nikki vanished while walking home to her flat in Wear Garth in October 1992.

Her body was found next day in the derelict Quayside Exchange building, just yards away.

She had been repeatedly stabbed.

Northumbria Police set up a new team to investigate the killing in April last year and on the 25th anniversary of Nikki’s death, announced they had succeeded in recovering new DNA from an unknown male and appealed for any men who may have been in contact with Nikki or in the area of the crime scene to come forward.

The latest arrest was made by police this week.

A police spokesman said today: "A man was arrested on suspicion of murdering schoolgirl Nikki Allan. He has been released under investigation.

“Enquiries are ongoing."

Detectives visited Nikki's mum Sharon Henderson at her home in Ryhope to break the news of the latest arrest.

"They came to see me on Tuesday morning, just after eight o'clock and said 'We have arrested somebody for Nikki's murder'," said Sharon.

"My legs went. I can't describe it, I was like a little bairn. I was saying 'Is this real? Is this real?'

"My brain went into a bit of shock. I started crying."

Detectives collected Sharon's sister Joan and daughters Stacey and 26-year-old Niomi,

"They came back the next day and said they were going to court for a 24-hour extension," she added.

Sharon's neighbour George Heron was initially charged with her murder but acquitted after a trial judge accused police of heavy-handed tactics and refused to allow the jury to hear a taped confession.

Sharon, 51, brought a civil case against him in 1994, and won.

A court ordered Mr Heron to pay over £7,000, but he could not be traced.

Sunderland serial killer Steven Grieveson was subsequently questioned about the murder but no further action was taken.

Anyone who wishes to speak to police or pass any information on about Nikki's death is asked to contact the major crime team on 101 ext 69191 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.