Double murder accused taunts trial prosecution over evidence

A man accused of double murder told a jury he would admit to one of the killings “right now” if the prosecution could show any crucial evidence against him.

James Allen, 36, denies murdering Colin Dunford, 81, at his home in Leven Street, Middlesbrough, in April, and Julie Davison, 50, at her flat in Church Square, Whitby, just days later.

Cross-examined by Robert Smith, QC, prosecuting, Allen told Newcastle Crown Court: “There’s no substantial concrete evidence that shows I killed anybody.”

He said the trial had been going two and a half weeks but the prosecution had not proved he had been in Mr Dunford’s home or that anybody had seen him in Leven Street on the night the Crown says Mr Dunford was killed.

“You can’t show them anything can you?” he challenged Mr Smith. “I know I’m a gobby horrible bastard, they know that” (he pointed to the jury), “but they also know you can’t prove I’ve been in that house and killed anybody.

“Tell the jury one substantial piece of evidence that proves I killed Colin Dunford, if you show them one crucial piece of evidence then I’ll admit it.

“I will admit it right now if you can prove I was there but you can’t can you because I wasn’t f*****g there, however you try and twist things.”

When Mr Smith asked him if he had told a witness on the night of Sunday April 22 he was going to see his mother, Allen said his mother was dead and warned counsel not to mention her again or he would see his “dark side” and would “hoy this binder at you” indicating the evidence file in front of him.

Asked about his possession of Mr Dunford’s mobile phone when he was arrested, Allen said he had told police straight away the pensioner had lent it to him days before his death and repeatedly said the same in evidence, adding “I’m not going to keep answering this.”

The trial judge, Mr Justice Oldfield told Allen if Mr Smith was asking “fair” questions he needed to answer them or the jury might draw adverse inferences.

Allen denied he was seen with a jar of coins from Mr Dunford’s home and said no DNA had been found to link him to Mr Dunford’s murder or to that of Ms Davison, who was stabbed to death.

“In this day and age with the technology available to you, the best scientists working for you and you can’t find DNA in two brutal murders. I feel sorry for you, I do, because those knuckleheads in the police have presented you with this case, it’s a joke and you have got the short straw.”

Allen denied he was in need of money when he was in Whitby but said he had planned to rob bed and breakfast premises.

He told the jury: “I’m from Blackpool; hotels are one of the premises I rob all my life.”

When Mr Smith said for his sake he would not ask more about such robberies, Allen replied: “No bring it on, bring it on, then you will look even more stupid.”

Allen said he’d had no intention of paying for accommodation in Whitby on the night of April 24, not because he had no money, but because he did not want to.

He told Mr Smith he kept going that night to the block of flats where Julie Davison lived hoping to get drugs.

He added: “I’m not going to make myself out to be some kind of saint. I’ve been to jail on several occasions.”

Mr Smith asked him why, if he had “stacks of money”, he sold a St Christopher medal which the Crown claims was similar to one stolen from Ms Davison.

Allen said he knew he was facing jail on a rape allegation and did not want to take anything valuable in there.

He told the jury all he wanted was the painkiller Subutex: “You pay £2 for them and you can get £30 or £40 a piece for them in jail.”

The trial continues.