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Middlesbrough man denies double murder
A SUSPECTED double murderer is accused of inflicting severe head injuries and stabbing one of his victims more than 30 times, a court heard.
James Arthur Allen denies killing Colin Dunford and Julie Davison in their own homes in April this year.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how retired steelworker Mr Dunford was found dead by friends in his terraced home in Leven Street, Middlesbrough, in April this year.
The 81-year-old was discovered with horrific head injuries after friends became concerned about his whereabouts.
Three days later, charity worker Julie Davison, 50, of Whitby, was found dead in her flat on April 25.
The court heard she had sustained 31 knife wounds as well as fractures to her head and neck from being stamped on and kicked about the head.
Robert Smith, prosecuting, said: “Colin Dunford was attacked and killed in his home in Middlesbrough on April 22.
“Three days later on the morning of April 25 Julie Davison was attacked and killed in her flat in Whitby
“The two of them had no connection with each other and nothing to suggest they knew each other.
“It is, however, the prosecution case that they were each murdered by the same man despite the distance between their homes.
“The motive in each was robbery. They were brutally attacked and their homes ransacked and the person responsible intended nothing less than their deaths.
“After each one of them had been murdered, the person responsible left the home of each of them, locking the door behind him using the victim's keys.”
Jurors heard how Mr Dunford lived alone and was a man of routine, with friends saying they could set their watches by him.
Mr Smith said the pensioner was found on his back with severe injuries to his head and face after friends, who regularly drank with him in Samuelson's Working men's Club, became concerned about his welfare after he hadn’t been seen for two nights running.
He said: “Mr Dunford’s pockets had been turned out, someone had searched his pockets and ransacked his home.
“Mr Dunford died as a result of blunt force injuries to his head and face, they had caused multiple injuries to face and head.”
The jurors heard his injuries caused him to bleed heavily and there were foot prints around the house in his blood.
Mr Smith told how the Allen had also been captured on CCTV trying to withdraw £200 from one of Mr Dunford’s bank accounts.
A mobile phone belonging to Mr Dunford was used to make calls to friends and acquaintances of Allen in the days before and after his body was discovered.
While documents relating to Mr Dunford’s bank accounts were discovered by police during a search of a house where Allen had been staying in the run up to the death of the pensioner.
It was also revealed in the prosecution’s opening speech that Allen had lived next door to Mr Dunford for 12 months the year before his death.
Speaking of the second victim, Mr Smith described Ms Davison as “physically vulnerable” as she suffered from a degenerative condition and epilepsy.
Jurors were told that the 50-year-old died from stab wounds to her neck which severed an artery.
Mr Smith said there was a large quantity of blood and she suffered 31 stab wounds.
He said there were also many stab wounds to her hands as a result of trying to defend herself.
The court heard that Allen had been seen in the communal hallway of the block of flats where the second victim lived by other residents.
Mr Smith said CCTV footage showed Allen wearing clothes identical to items that had gone missing from Ms Davison’s flat.
He was also seen riding around Whitby with a laptop and bag that was the same as one stolen during the robbery.
The court heard how Allen was eventually arrested after abandoning his bike near Scarborough and catching a bus to Leeds.
Allen, of Lothian Road, Middlesbrough, pleaded not guilty to two charges of murder.
The trial is expected to last for at least three weeks.