A man who robbed and killed two people during a week on the run last Spring has been found guilty of murder.
James Allen, 36, beat Colin Dunford, 81, to death in Middlesbrough, and ransacked his home. He then fled to Whitby, where three days later he killed Julie Davison, 50, stabbing her more than 30 times, before stealing a laptop and jewellery from her house.
The murders were connected only by the killer. People across the north of England were warned to lock their doors and windows as police feared further attacks. More than a hundred officers worked on the manhunt for James Allen.
Allen knew his first victim, Colin Dunford, and detectives think he used that trust to get inside his house. He stole money and a debit card from him, which he tried to use in the hours following the murder.
The next morning, Allen fled Middlesbrough, cycling fifty miles to Scarborough. He then went to Whitby, and slept in the communal entrance hallway of a set of flats. He was seen talking to a woman, who later turned out to be Julie Davison. He stabbed her to death, robbed the house, and fled, wearing his victim’s clothes.
In the days the followed, Allen sold a St Christopher belonging to Julie Davison for £35 in Scarborough, before travelling to Leeds. He sold her laptop to a market trader.
After police linked the two murders, James Allen’s photograph appeared in newspapers and on television across the country. He was eventually arrested a week after the first murder in Leeds, after being spotted by an off-duty police officer.
James Allen has always denied the murders, and has shown no remorse either in custody or in court. During his trial, he directed insults at witnesses, barristers and journalists. He boasted he was a career criminal for whom robbery and drug use was normal behaviour. He said he’d spent time in 35 different prisons. Tonight he is facing a life sentence behind bars.