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Last Updated: Friday, 14 November, 2003, 22:05 GMT
Dead girl's mother backs law change
Nikki Allan
Nikki Allan was found murdered in October 1992
A Law Lord has said the law that prevents someone being tried twice for the same crime could be changed within the next fortnight.

The news has been welcomed by the mother of Nikki Allan, a seven-year old girl from Sunderland who was murdered 11 years ago.

Her neighbour, George Heron, was acquitted of the crime in a criminal case, but when new evidence came to light he was ordered to pay the family damages by a civil court, where the burden of proof is lower.

Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate has been campaigning for a change to the rule of so-called "double jeopardy".

He told the BBC on Friday, that that change appears imminent.

I'm really over the moon and I'm glad that my life sentence is coming to an end.
Sharon Henderson

Lord Mackenzie said: "The bill is still going through Parliament but I'm delighted to say the part dealing with double jeopardy has been passed and it has passed retrospectively.

"There was an attempt to take that part of the bill out but that was lost.

"The provision still stands so that when that particular part become law it will operate retrospectively which means it will pick up cases like Sharon's for investigation and other cases that have happened in the past."

Nikki's mother, Sharon Henderson, said: "I wake up thinking of Nikki and again when I go to sleep. If I go to sleep at all.

"I'm really over the moon and I'm glad that my life sentence is coming to an end."

Anne Ming, from Teesside, has been a long campaigner for the double jeopardy law to be scrapped.

Her daughter, Julie Hogg, went missing from her Billingham home in 1989.

The 22-year-old's body was eventually found behind a bath panel.

Local man Billy Dunlop was charged with her murder, but acquitted after a trial.

Nine years later he confessed to the crime and was jailed for perjury.



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