On-the-run double killer convicted

4:01pm Tuesday 20th November 2012

© Press Association 2014

A robber who killed twice while on the run has been convicted of two counts of murder.

James Allen, 36, savagely attacked 81-year-old Colin Dunford in his Middlesbrough terrace home, then three days later stabbed Julie Davison, 50, to death 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 has a history of violent crime, was convicted of murdering his vulnerable victims following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

He attacked Mr Dunford while lying low at a friend's house after being accused of a serious crime in April. He died from serious head injuries. The next night friends from the club over the road grew worried after Mr Dunford failed to turn up for his usual two pints, 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 from serious head and neck injuries.

Investigators linked the two killings and a major manhunt was launched. The manhunt drew national publicity and ended on April 29, when Blackpool-born Allen was spotted by an off-duty officer and was arrested.

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