A man has been arrested on suspicion of Nikki Allan’s murder - 21 years after the schoolgirl was found bludgeoned to death.
In a shock announcement yesterday, Northumbria Police revealed they have arrested a 43-year-old man on suspicion of the killing, who was later released from custody pending further inquires.
Nikki’s mum, Sharon Henderson, collapsed when she was told the news by detectives. She was already in hospital after suffering from a mild stroke on Wednesday when police came to see her on the ward at Sunderland Royal Infirmary yesterday.
“I have fought for justice for Nikki for so long that I think my body has had enough.
“I have fought and fought for so long now. I just collapsed at home on Wednesday,” said Sharon, 48, from Ryhope Sunderland.
“I managed to get outside and a neighbour called for an ambulance. I was taken to hospital and I have had scans. I have had a mild stoke after suffering a blood clot to the brain.
“When I was in hospital the CID came and took me to a room and told me they had arrested someone. They must have new evidence. They haven’t told me who it is they have arrested as yet, but I feel as though it might be coming to an end.”
Nikki was killed just yards from her home in 1992, stabbed 37 times and beaten over the head with a brick. Her body was then dumped in a derelict warehouse.
Since then Sharon has fought for justice to get the killer locked up behind bars.
Fresh hope came last year with a Crimewatch reconstruction which was aired on TV to try to crack the case. And now an arrest has been made.
Following Nikki’s death, neighbour George Heron, of Wear Garth, Hendon, Sunderland, 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 of the charge.
Nikki was seven years old when she vanished after leaving her grandparents’ flat in Wear Garth, on October 7, 1992, to walk a short distance to her home in the same complex. Her body was later found in the derelict Old Exchange Building by a neighbour who was searching the area with police and relatives.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “Police have arrested a 43-year-old man on suspicion of the murder of Nikki Allan.” The man has since been bailed pending further inquiries.
Police are keen to speak to anyone who lived in the Wear Garth area at the time of the murder or anyone who hung around or inside the Old Exchange Building. Anyone who thinks they can help is asked to contact police on 101.