Savage double murderer jailed for 37 years

Double murderer James Allen has been jailed for life for the horrific killings of a pensioner and a disabled woman carried out while he was on bail for an alleged sex attack.

Both Colin Dunford, 81, beaten and stamped to death in his home in Leven Street, Middlesbrough, on April 22 and Julie Davison, 50, slashed and stabbed with a knife in her flat in Church Square, Whitby three days later, were targeted so he could rob them.

Ordering Allen to serve a minimum of 37 years behind bars, less the time spent on remand, Mr Justice Openshaw said yesterday the killings were committed with “quite exceptional brutality and savagery”.

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He added: “The public rightly expect such wickedness as this to be punished severely.”

Allen, 36, originally from Blackpool, was unanimously convicted of both murders by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court following a trial which lasted nearly three weeks.

Although he was repeatedly excluded from the courtroom for abusing witnesses, police officers and lawyers, he showed little emotion at the verdicts.

He sat with his arms folded in the dock and merely shook his head as the judge told him he would only be released after 37 years when the Parole Board is satisfied he is no longer a risk to the public.

Mr Justice Openshaw said Allen had some significant previous convictions including an eight-year sentence in 2004 at Winchester Crown Court for wounding with intent when a householder was stabbed.

His first victim in April was a former neighbour. Allen had done some odd jobs for Colin Dunford in the past and the pensioner trusted him.

Once inside Allen attacked his defenceless victim, probably knocking him to the floor with a punch, then repeatedly kicking and stamping on him, and wrapping a scarf around his face to serve as a gag.

The judge said Allen searched the property and stole the pensioner’s bank card, a jar of coins and his phone.

The following day he cycled to Whitby, then to Scarborough before returning to Whitby looking for drugs and, when his money ran out, another victim.

He ended up at the flats where Ms Davison lived because, by chance, there was a small-time dealer living on the top floor.

Mother-of-one Ms Davison was disturbed by Allen and others and came out to remonstrate, causing the others to leave.

The judge said: “Quite what happened next is known only to the defendant. He must have in some way wormed his way into her flat and once inside produced a knife which he had already had with him then slashed and cut her face many times causing terrible injuries.”

He severed her carotid artery and windpipe and kicked or stamped on her face leaving a distictive mark.

Allen stole around £250, her laptop and a gold St Christopher which he sold, and left wearing her black Regatta jacket and white shoes before disposing of his own bloodstained clothes.

As a manhunt was launched, Allen ended up in Leeds where he was arrested days later, having been recognised by a policeman driving to work.

The judge said Allen had shown not the slightest regret or remorse for the deaths of a “well-loved lady” and Mr Dunford, whom though he had no relatives, would be sorely missed by his friends.

After the case Julie’s sister, Dawn Kibble, added her thanks to Temporary Sergeant Benjamin Ryder for recognising Allen and other officers involved in the case.

“Julie meant the world to us and we are still struggling to come to terms with what happened to her on that awful day,” she said.

Kind-hearted sister: Page 5.