UK & World News
On-The-Run James Allen Guilty Of Two Murders
A robber who killed twice while on the run has been found guilty of two counts of murder and jailed for 37 years.
James Allen, 36, savagely attacked 81-year-old Colin Dunford in his Middlesbrough terrace home, then three days later stabbed to death Julie Davison, 50, at her flat in Whitby, North Yorkshire.
The double killing sparked a huge manhunt which ended in Leeds when an off-duty police officer spotted him.
Allen, who had a history of violent crime, attacked Mr Dunford while hiding at a friend's house after being accused of a serious crime in April. Mr Dunford died from serious head injuries.
Allen ransacked the pensioner's home and tried but failed to use Mr Dunford's bank card at a nearby cash machine.
The next night, friends of Mr Dunford became worried after he failed to turn up at his local club for a drink and they found him dead in his home in Leven Street.
By then, Allen had disposed of his bloody clothes and cycled 30 miles to Whitby and then on to Scarborough, North Yorkshire, where he sold a stolen gold ring.
A day later he was back in Whitby and was seen hanging around the communal hallway of the Edwardian terrace home, which was divided into flats, where Ms Davison lived.
Police believe he talked his way into her home, then launched a merciless attack on her before wrecking her home while looking for things to steal.
Ms Davison, the mother of a 28-year-old son in Preston, had epilepsy and when her body was found by her brother-in-law, she had suffered serious head and neck injuries.
Investigators linked the two killings and a major manhunt was launched. Allen had walked out of Ms Davison's flat wearing some of her clothes, then bought a new outfit at a sports shop and caught a bus to Leeds.
It was there that he is thought to have sold her laptop to a market trader, lying low by talking his way into staying with other people on the margins of society.
The manhunt drew national publicity and ended at 7.20am on April 29, when an off-duty officer on Crown Point Road in south Leeds, who was travelling to work, saw a man fitting the Allen's description.
The killer continually interrupted his own trial with angry outbursts against police, the prosecution and the court.
He branded Robert Smith QC, prosecuting, as "a div" and threatened to throw a binder full of documents at him during cross-examination. He also complained he was not getting back to prison in time for a hot meal.
After the verdict a statement from Dawn and George Kibble, Julie Davison's sister and brother-in-law, was read on behalf of the family. They said: "Julie meant the world to us and we are still struggling to come to terms with what happened to her on that awful day.
"On hearing the evidence of how Julie died we consider this was an act carried out in a way that was cruel, wicked and so totally unnecessary. It causes the family great pain and anguish thinking of what Julie went through in the moment leading to her death."
They thanked police for their time and commitment in bringing Allen to justice. They finished by saying: "The only frustrating thing to arise from today's verdict is the future cost to the public purse in keeping Allen for the duration of his sentence."
Temporary Superintendent Steve Smith, of North Yorkshire Police, said: "We are satisfied with today's verdict which is a result of an intense and painstaking investigation by North Yorkshire Police and Cleveland Police working together with the CPS.