Family sues murder trial man

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

A MAN who was cleared of murdering a seven-year-old girl has been served a writ for damages by his alleged victim's family, claiming he battered her and caused her death.

George Heron, 24, who was found not guilty last October of stabbing and battering Nikki Allan to death in a derelict warehouse, was tracked down to his new home in Gwent, South Wales, and served with the papers.

Nikki's body was found in the building 300 yards from her home in Wear Garth, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, in October 1992. Mr Heron, a neighbour, of Nikki and her mother Sharon Prest, 28, was arrested and charged amid fears of revenge attacks.

Before the start of his three-week trial at Leeds Crown Court the judge ruled a taped 'confession' could not be played to the jury as it was inadmissible because of 'oppressive' police interviewing.

Under English law Heron cannot be re-tried for the murder in a criminal court, but he can face a civil hearing and be told to pay compensation.

The writ requires him to attend Sunderland County Court where he will be sued for 'battery on the child, Nikki Allan, resulting in her death'.

Nikki's grandfather, Dickie Prest, 52, who is funding the private prosecution, said he was delighted. 'This is one step closer to us getting justice.'