A TOURIST who was enjoying a short break in Scarborough has spoken of his shock at being mistaken for wanted murder suspect James Allen – and his rude awakening when police were hammering on his door at 5am.
At the time fugitive Allen, 36, was the subject of a massive police manhunt and, following his arrest, he appeared via video link yesterday at Teesside Crown Court to face two murder charges.
However Jamie Linton, a 28-year-old from Heaton Norris, Stockport, said he was the victim of mistaken identity when a member of the public spotted him in Scarborough’s North Bay and contacted the police to report they had seen someone who matched Allen’s description.
He arrived in Scarborough on Saturday with his partner and their three-year-old son and he said they had been looking forward to the short break.
The family were booked in at Avondale Holiday Flats, in Queen’s Parade, and that night Mr Linton decided to have a cigarette and enjoy the view before turning in.
He said: “I fell asleep but I was woken at 5am by a knock on the door – they were saying ‘it’s the police’. They questioned me because apparently somebody had seen me on the seafront thinking I was that guy. I was just shocked. What would have happened if they’d have been armed?”
Mr Linton said that three officers entered the flat but he had been told there were three police vans at the back of the property.
He added that he understood the officers were trying to track down a murder suspect but his son was very upset by what had happened. He added: “He woke up crying and Iona, my partner, was shocked as well.
“I had to give my name and details, my date of birth and everything. They didn’t take me away but I was worried that I was going to be dragged off. I do find it funny in a way – being compared with someone like that – but when I think about it, it could have been serious.”
A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “We would like to apologise to Mr Linton for any distress he and his family may have suffered following the police attending the hotel where they were staying on Sunday.
“However, we are sure that Mr Linton will understand that this was a search for a dangerous man which needed to be carried out as a matter of extreme urgency, in the interests of public safety.
”This visit made in good faith by officers who were following one of many dozens of leads from members of the public, from across the whole of the north east, when the suspect was still at liberty.”
James Allen has been charged with the murder of Julie Davison at her Church Square home last Wednesday.
He has also been charged with the murder of 81-year-old Colin Dunford, who was murdered at his Middlesbrough home, as well as other offences including rape, false imprisonment, assault and witness intimidation.
In the days following the murders Allen was spotted throughout the region and was recorded on CCTV in Scarborough town centre.
He spent Wednesday night at the Allerton Croft Hotel in Scarborough and there was also an alleged sighting in the Lord Rosebery pub the same day.
On what was his 36th birthday Allen was arrested in south Leeds last Sunday after being spotted by an off-duty police officer.