Double murder trial: verdict due

Victims Julie Davison and Colin Dunford.

Victims Julie Davison and Colin Dunford.

The jury in the trial of double murder accused James Allen, who is alleged to have killed a Whitby woman before fleeing to Scarborough, has retired to consider its verdict.

The judge in the case, Mr Justice Openshaw, this morning finished his summing up of the evidence, which he began yesterday afternoon, after which the jury retired.

Allen, 36, is accused of beating 81-year-old Colin Dunforth to death in his Middlesbrough home on April 22 before cycling to Whitby where he is said to have beat, knifed and cut the throat of Julie Davison, 50, in her home in Church Square three days later.

The day after Ms Davison was killed Allen fled to Scarborough, which saw the start of a massive police hunt.

Yesterday, during the trail at Newcastle Crown Court, Allen was thrown out of the court room for a second time following another outburst against the prosecution.

Mr Justice Openshaw told him: “This simply cannot go on... You’ve had your say.”

When Allen argued, the judge told dock officers to “take him down”.

Summing up the evidence yesterday Robert Smith QC, prosecuting for The Crown, said the combined evidence provided a “compelling argument” that only one person - Allen - committed both of the brutal killings.

He said Allen’s presence in the localities of both killings was a “valuable starting point”, though it alone was not enough to prove guilt.

He pointed to similarities between the murders, like the motive to rob, ransacking of the homes, the degree of violence with severe blunt force by blows or stamps, and the killer locking the victims’ front doors behind him with their keys.

He said Allen had property belonging to both victims and preferred trainers with the same type of sole patterns worn by the killer.

However defence barrister Rod Hunt said the case against Allen was circumstantial, not proved, not good enough and didn’t put Allen at the crime scenes.

He told the jury they might be driven to deliver “the unpopular verdict” of not guilty.

“The evidence you have simply does not put Mr Allen inside those rooms,” said Mr Hunt in his closing defence speech after three weeks of evidence.

“Have you had any scientific illustration of how it is possible to exit those two crime scenes and leave no trace of it, no fingerprints, no fibres?”

He urged the jury not to fall into the trap of playing detective, jumping to conclusions, making dangerous presumptions or filling in gaps in the case.

He said Nike shoe patterns at the scenes, of the same type favoured by Allen, were coincidence.

“Lance Armstrong likes Nike and cycling about. But he’s not in the dock,” Mr Hunt told the jury.

For live updates from the courtroom at Newcastle Crown Court follow the Scarborough News on Twitter - @thescarboronews.


Back to the top of the page