A MONSTER has been found guilty of killing a seven-year-old girl 31 years after she was seen "skipping to her death".
Nikki Allan, seven, was lured from her home in Sunderland by David Boyd, who forced her into a derelict building on October 7, 1992.
Once inside, the 55-year-old, whose partner was Nikki's babysitter, bludgeoned the youngster with a brick and stabbed her 37 times in the heart.
Boyd then dragged Nikki downstairs "into the blackness of the basement" by her legs before dumping her tiny body in a darkened corner where she was discovered the following day.
The schoolgirl's killing led to a 30-year mystery that saw innocent man George Heron stand trial for murder.
But Boyd has today been found guilty of murder at Newcastle Crown Court amid cries of "yes" and "you b*****d" from her family.
Her mum Sharon Henderson, who has tirelessly fought for justice for more than 30 years, wept as she left the court after the verdict.
Nikki’s sister, Stacey Allan, waved her hands in the air as she shouted: “Waited my whole life for this me, and we got guilty.”
The tearful sibling added: “I can get on with my life now.
“I remember everything.
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"It’s like winning the lottery."
During the trial, it was revealed Boyd has a conviction for indecently assaulting a child and admitted having sexual fantasies about youngsters.
He was jailed for 18 months in 1999 after assaulting a nine-year-old girl he grabbed in a park in Teesside.
The end of the cold case agony comes thanks to advances in science after police found his DNA on Nikki's clothing in multiple areas.
When arrested, Boyd said to officers: “I haven’t got any involvement in it,” but then asked: “What evidence have you got anyway?”
Jurors heard how a final sighting of Nikki showed her "unwittingly skipping to her death" with a man.
Richard Wright KC, prosecuting, said the evidence suggests she was "not abducted" but instead "lured away by her killer".
He also told the court Boyd, who refused to give evidence, was the last man to see her alive on the night she died.
At around 10pm, a woman, whose flat overlooked the Exchange Building where Nikki's body was found, heard a "short lived but piercing scream from a girl".
A second witness, who worked with Nikki's mum at the local fish factory, heard a sound she at first believed was a "cat wailing" or the wind, it was said.
Around this time, it became clear Nikki was missing and a search was launched for the youngster.
Her body was tragically discovered the next day after a couple noticed her purple coat and red shoe in the grounds of the derelict building.
Jurors were shown harrowing footage of a blood-stained brick used to attack her and drag marks on the floor where she was dragged to the basement.
Her family wept as a child mannequin was brought into the court wearing identical clothing to Nikki when she was killed.
Mr Wright said: "Over thirty years ago, on the night of the 7th October 1992, a little girl called Nikki Allan was lured away from the block of flats in which she lived and down towards the River Wear in Sunderland.
"The man who led her away took her into an area of wasteland behind a disused building. There he struck her at least one blow that caused her to bleed.
"He then forced her through an opening in a boarded up window into the derelict building. It was the only point of access to that building and this man plainly knew that building well and knew exactly where and how to get into it.
"Inside the building the man who took her there beat Nikki Allan about the head with a brick. He shattered her skull.
"He then used a knife to stab her repeatedly through her chest, the knife being driven in and out of her body many times through the same hole. Into her heart, into her lungs, making sure of the job of killing her.
"Nikki Allan was seven years old."
Boyd, who was previously called David Smith or David Bell, was "well known to Nikki's family" at the time and his girlfriend was her regular babysitter.
He was 25 years old and lived in the same block of flats as Nikki and knew the building where she was killed "very well".
A few days before the murder, he took a 12-year-old boy there to look at pigeons, using the same window used by the killer.
Boyd took advantage in 1992 of police focusing on the wrong man to craft a false alibi – and even provided a statement at Mr Heron's trial.
But after a fresh team took over the investigation in 2017, a "massive DNA screening exercise" was carried out.
How Nikki’s brave mum fought 31-year battle for justice
Nikki Allan's mum devoted more than 30 years of her life to see justice done following her daughter's murder.
Sharon Henderson, 55, campaigned for police to reinvestigate the crime despite a growing mistrust in Northumbria Police's handling of the case.
She launched a petition in 2016, urging police to carry out a top-to-bottom review of the case and the following year she met the then-chief constable Steve Chapman to discuss progress.
He authorised a fresh inquiry which was boosted by advances in DNA techniques and that eventually led police to catch David Boyd, who had lived in the Garths at the time and was known to Nikki.
In 2013, Ms Henderson told the Crimewatch TV programme: "I look at Nikki's pictures and try to think of happy thoughts and it just leads to the night when she was murdered.
"I can imagine probably her last words were 'mam'.
"I want Nikki's killer to be caught and anybody that's involved in the case.
"I will keep fighting on because I won't leave it to my other three daughters and don't want them to live the torment like I am."
After police told her a man had been arrested, she told reporters: "My legs just went. I was like a baby.
"I was saying; 'Please tell me this is real'. I have had my hopes up and down so many times."
DNA found on Nikki's cycling shorts and T-shirt was a one-in-28,000 match to Boyd.
When asked by police to explain the findings, he claimed he had spat over his balcony while Nikki was playing below and it "must have soaked through her clothing and onto her skin".
Boyd, of Chesterton Court, Norton, will be sentenced at a later date.
Assistant Chief Constable Brad Howe, of Northumbria Police, said: “Today is about justice – for Nikki and her family.
“We thank them for their patience and strength over the last 30 years and our thoughts very much continue to be with them.
“David Boyd hid his crime, lying about his involvement and prolonging the family’s suffering, knowing all along that he had taken the life of their little girl.
“The investigation into Nikki’s murder has been one of the most complex and comprehensive ever conducted by Northumbria Police.
“I’m extremely proud of the investigative team and all those who played their part in securing this conviction. I further hope this sends a strong message that no matter how long ago an offence took place, we will do everything we can to see justice served.”
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