James Allen has been found guilty of double murder and will today start a life sentence in prison.
The 36-year-old murderer, who killed Whitby woman Julie Davison and Middlesbrough man Colin Dunford, went on the run in Scarborough just hours after the death of his second victim Ms Davison, in April this year.
Following a three week trial the verdict took just over four hours to return a unanimous verdict of guilty.
The court heard how Allen “brutally” murdered 50-year-old Ms Davison at her Church Square home on April 25.
A volunteer at St John’s Ambulance, Ms Davison was found murdered at home by her sister and brother-in-law, Dawn and George Kibble, of St Andrew’s Road.
She died after suffering 31 stab wounds to her head and neck in a vicious attack. Allen then stamped on her head repeatedly.
Allen was also found guilty of killing 81-year-old Middlesbrough resident Colin Dunford.
Showing a lack of any remorse for his actions, Allen continued to deny the charges during the proceedings, and verbally abused anyone who attempted to give evidence he disputed.
Of medium height and muscular build, the balding Allen was removed from the dock on multiple occasions for disrupting the prosecution as they submitted evidence.
He accused witnesses of talking “bull”, and even threatened to show the prosecution barrister, Robert Smith QC, his “dark side” while spitting expletive-laden insults in his direction.
Born in Blackpool, where he claimed to have learned many skills that aided his career as a criminal, Allen painted a picture of a hardened offender who took “great pleasure” in deceiving the police.
He came to Whitby, which he said reminded him of his home town, for some “enjoyment and peace” as he was aware the police were intending to arrest him on suspicion of rape and serious assault.
As a member of the “criminal fraternity”, Allen said that he had committed hundreds of robberies, including “earning” some money in Whitby at the arcades on Pier Road, the day before he killed Ms Davison.
While in Whitby, Allen also visited other locations in the town, including the George Hotel, Bits’N’Pizzas and the Blencathra Hotel.
However, the jury were unconvinced by Allen’s claims that an unknown man, referred to only as Scott, had given him items belonging to Ms Davison as part of a trade for the mountain bike which Allen had used to cycle from Middlesbrough to Whitby.
Allen also claimed that his reason for visiting the Church Square property was to purchase Subutex, a strong painkiller which Allen described as his “medication”. Those he spoke to in Whitby had directed him to a drug dealer, known as ‘J’, who lived on the top floor of the same block of flats where Julie was living.
They instead agreed with the prosecution’s statements that Ms Davison’s killer had ransacked her home and stolen a number of valuable items.
In Middlesbrough Allen had murdered and robbed Colin Dunford, who for a period had been his next door neighbour.
Both killings were committed in a similar manner, with repeated serious injuries to the head and upper body being suffered by the victims.
A Bowie knife, which Allen teased police by saying could have been the murder weapon, and Allen’s blood-stained clothes, were never recovered.
After the jury returned its guilty verdict judge Mr Justice Openshaw sentenced Allen to life in prison, with a minimum of 37 years.
For reports on how evidence obtained while Allen was in Scarborough contributed to the guilty verdict see Thursday’s Scarborough News.