'Life is difficult without our beautiful little girl' - Parents of schoolgirl (7) found stabbed to death appeal for information
The parents of a murdered schoolgirl have appealed for fresh information, 25 years after her body was found in a derelict building just a few minutes from her home.
Nikki Allan, who was seven at the time, had been at her grandparents' flat in the same block that she lived, in the east end of Sunderland.
But, while making the short journey home on October 8 1992, she went missing and a desperate search was launched.
The following morning she was found inside the then-derelict Old Exchange Building after her coat and shoes were spotted. She had been stabbed 37 times.
Speaking for the first time since her murder, father David begged anyone who had contact with his daughter before her death to come forward.
"I have remained quiet about Nikki's death for 25 years but now is the time I need to speak out," he said.
"I can't begin to describe how difficult life has been without my beautiful little girl. I would never want anyone to suffer the heartache we have suffered as parents."
Northumbria Police said they had recovered further forensic results, including some DNA from a male.
They are appealing for male family members, friends or anyone who came into contact with her to come forward to have a DNA sample taken so they can be eliminated from inquiries.
Mr Allan said: "As Nikki's father, I have provided a DNA sample myself and it is very quick, easy and completely painless.
"I would beg anyone who knew Nikki or had any contact with her before she died to please come forward to have your DNA taken.
"This isn't about accusing anyone of being a suspect - this is to eliminate you from police inquiries."
Detective Inspector Paul Waugh said they still regarded the case as active and the DNA evidence was a vital part of the investigation.
"We strongly urge any members of Nikki's family, friends of the family or anyone who had any contact with Nikki prior to her death to come forward to be tested for their DNA.
"Please think about how Nikki's family are feeling and how tragic this is for them.
"Nikki would have been 32 years old this year and it is utterly heartbreaking to hear from her parents and close family talking about what could have been for Nikki - she may well have had children of her own by now and this is something that haunts both David and Sharon greatly."
Speaking at a police press conference, mother Sharon also pleaded for people to come forward, saying she would have to live with what had happened for the rest of her life.
"I really beg you to come forward, it was a really serious crime," she said.
"I'll have to live with it for the rest of my life that I let Nikki walk down a flight of stairs and I'm living with it now without Nikki.
"She was a bubbly little girl, we lived in a close community. We were just an ordinary family."
The police also announced that charity Crimestoppers has offered a reward of up to £10,000 for anyone who has information which leads to the apprehension and conviction of the killer.
Following Nikki's death, George Heron, then 24, was arrested and went on trial for her murder at Leeds Crown Court, but was acquitted by the jury.