Man who strangled Yorkshire woman at his home over Christmas before going out to buy cleaning products searched internet for 'perfect murder' court hears

A killer searched the internet for "ways to commit the perfect murder"  and strangled one of his victims at his home over the Christmas period before going out to buy equipment to dump and conceal her body in a stream, a court heard.

Gary Allen, 47, is alleged to have murdered Alena Grlakova, 38, after she repeatedly turned up at his flat in Bradbury Close, in the Parkgate area of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, on Boxing Day 2018.

CCTV footage played to the jury at Sheffield Crown Court on Tuesday showed Ms Grlakova going to Allen's flat on a number of occasions on December 26, as well as an audio recording of him making chilling threats to "beat her" if she went round again.

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Ms Grlakova, 38, was last seen alive on the evening of Boxing Day 2018. Her naked body was found in a stream in Rotherham on April 8, 2019. A post-mortem revealed she had been strangled.

Alena Grlakova.
Alena Grlakova.

Allen is on trial accused of her murder and the murder of Samantha Class in Hull in October 1997.

The prosecution allege that Allen - who first met Ms Grlakova in October 2018 after she had separated from her husband and turned to drugs and sex work - murdered her in his flat late on Boxing Day night or in the early hours of December 27.

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Mr MacDonald said: "What we say is that Gary Allen, having killed Alena, and having her body in his flat, was scouting out on the internet and then buying items for use in the deposition of her body and was doing the start of a reconnaissance of a place to dump her body when he went to The Range to buy the tools and to the Old Slaugh as a place that he could use to hide her body. We know, as we say, that he bought a pair of work gloves at The Range."

Samantha Class.

The prosecution also allege that Allen left his home for two hours between 1.17am and 3.21am on December 28, when he could have deposited Ms Grlakova's body, before returning to the flat where he searched for duvets and quilts online.

Later that day he also bought cleaning products from Asda and was seen returning home again, before leaving the flat to deposit something in a bin in the street.

Ms Grlakova's dismembered body was found in the Old Slaugh by a police offer who could smell "decomposing flesh" coming from the stream, the court heard.

Mr MacDonald said: "It is the Crown’s case that all the evidence tells us that Alena was strangled, that her body was deposited, naked, in the Old Slaugh in a place where detection would be difficult, as proved to be the case. This was no accidental death."

Allen was arrested on April 10, 2019 - two days after Ms Grlakova's body was discovered.

A search of his flat was carried out and a broken mobile phone was recovered. An analysis revealed a series of images of dead females in circumstances similar to those in which Ms Grlakova's was found.

Mr MacDonald said: "A number of highly pertinent web searches had also been found on that telephone. A search had been made for ‘Ways to commit perfect murder’ which produced a web response about most common traits of serial killers. 210. A search had been made for ‘Murdered female’ which produced a response about girls attacked when sleeping. It has not been possible to date these web searches."

He said he had purchased the shovels from The Range as he was thinking of renting an allotment and that he had no recollection of events on December 27.

The court previously heard Mrs Grlakova and Ms Class both worked in the sex industry at the time of their deaths, and Mr Allen had a "strong dislike of sex workers".

Ms Class's body was found by three schoolchildren walking on the foreshore in North Ferriby, East Yorkshire, on October 26,1997.

Jurors were told Mr Allen was acquitted of Ms Class's murder in February 2000, but "significantly more evidence" had since emerged.

Closing his opening, Mr MacDonald said: "Can it be a coincidence that Gary Allen had contact with two murdered sex workers shortly before their deaths in places as far apart as Parkgate in Rotherham and in Hull so shortly before they were brutally killed? The Crown says that there is nothing coincidental about any of this."

Allen denies two counts of murder.

The trial continues.