Why don't you care about Nikki?
Let's pause to think about why Nikki Allan's murder went virtually ignored, in contrast to the saturation coverage of Madeleine McCann's abduction.
Fifteen years ago this August, a seven-year-old child called Nikki Allan was brutally murdered and left, like a discarded piece of rubbish, in a disused building. Her mother, Sharon, had allowed her to walk the 150 yards down the stairwell and across the short corridor to their own flat from her grandfather's. When Sharon returned home, some minutes later, Nikki was gone. During the time it took Sharon to finish cooking her father's dinner and kiss him goodbye, a sexual predator, who had obviously been planning the abduction, grabbed the child and snuffed out her life.
Both during the hunt for Nikki and the subsequent murder trial (at which a man was acquitted), some neighbours and other members of the public who followed the news about the case blamed the mother for Nikki's fate, for letting the child out of her sight. Fourteen years after the murder, when I was investigating a piece about the possible re-opening of the case, I interviewed people in pubs and shopping centres in Sharon's home town. Many still blamed her then, as opposed to the maniac who stabbed her daughter 37 times and bashed her over the head with a brick. Why?
I am having to guess here but I reckon it is a fair one. Sharon was a single mother of three children. She lived on a rundown housing estate. Sharon had the odd boyfriend and night out. She smoked and swore. Yet everyone I spoke to who actually knew Sharon and her family has told me she was, and is, a wonderful mother.
I came across the story when reading a tiny piece in a local newspaper about Sharon's fight for justice for her daughter. In the 15 years since Nikki was murdered, she had never managed to get the case featured on TV, or attract people with money to her cause offering either a reward, or access to private investigators, or counselling to help her get through the day. During the long years in which she has fought to bring Nikki's killer to justice, Sharon has never faltered - writing to MPs, the Queen, victim advocacy groups, and anyone else she can think of.
Since my piece about the case was published last year, Sharon has engaged the services of a lawyer to assist her, who is not charging a fee. I keep in contact with the family and offer a little bit of guidance if and when I can. I will bet, however, that few of you will have heard of little Nikki Allan's case. And none of you who read my piece have offered to help in any way. Why?
And why has Sharon not had any letters of support from you either? And why is Philip Green not offering to fly Sharon in his private jet to search for evidence which might bring Nikki's killer to justice?
All I ask is that you think about it.