Christopher, who lived in Anlaby, East Yorkshire, was just nine when he went missing from his sister’s home in Harpham Grove, Hull, where he had been left alone to babysit on March 9, 1984.
His blood-covered body was found in Beverley Beck two days later, wrapped in a carpet-underlay bag.
He had been bludgeoned with a blunt instrument and sexually assaulted.
The murder shocked the community, with police establishing early on that a man was heard calling at the house in Harpham Grove asking for Stephen Hines, the then husband of Christopher’s half-sister, before he was abducted.
In the early years, police appeals brought huge responses with various rewards offered including one for £100,000 by the Serious Crime Assistance Reward Fund in November 1986.
When Beverley Beck, where Christopher’s body had been dumped, was dredged during regeneration work, police hoped they might find a portable television missing from the house, described as the most significant outstanding item. Again, that led nowhere.
In 1999, an anonymous 17-page letter posted in Bradford and signed by someone using the name Rex, caused a flurry of excitement by suggesting what happened on the night of Christopher’s death.
Police said the document was remarkably detailed but only contained published facts, with the writer, who had typed it out on a word processor getting some key information wrong.
At the time, Christopher’s grieving mother Pamela Cawley made an emotional appeal for the writer to come forward.
“It will all come out eventually,” she said. “I think conscience will be getting to someone. The police will not give up on this because no one likes an unsolved crime, especially not this one.”
But every time the family’s hopes were raised only to be dashed again, the answer lay with one of their own.
Melvyn Christopher Read had even attended the identification of his nephew’s mutilated body in 1984 and was a regular visitor to Harpham Grove.
In March 2002, when Read was arrested for sexually assaulting four young boys who were known to him, Humberside Police conducted a major investigation into his offending and began to expose his lies.
Yet even after he was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison in 2003, police felt they did not have enough evidence to risk pushing ahead with a prosecution and the investigation again ground to a halt.
It was only in 2011, when police completed a comprehensive re view of the forensic evidence, they felt they had enough to seek the independent assessment on the strength of the case against Read.
Eminent palynologist Dr Patricia Wiltshire concluded in the forensic investigation that pollen discovered on the front of Christopher’s clothes linked him with Read’s garden in Grantley Grove.
A brick found weighing down his body in the beck, was also forensically linked to Read’s garden.
“I can remember the case starting in 1984 and the feel of the police station busy with hundreds of detectives,” said Detective Superintendent Ray Higgins, who led the review.
“It has been very frustrating but we never lost hope.
“Read never admitted any of his crimes, he lied completely.
“Only two people really know what happened that night, and both are dead.”