THE trial of double murder suspect James Allen took a unexpected turn this morning when he dispensed with the services of barrister.

The jury at Newcastle Crown Court was told Mr Allen no longer wanted to be represented by John Bromley-Davenport QC at the start of the seventh day of his trial.

The 36-year-old, of Lothian Road, Middlesbrough, will be represented by experienced junior counsel Rod Hunt for the remainder of the trial.

Mr Allen denies murdering Julie Davison in Whitby in April last year and Colin Dunford in Middlesbrough three days earlier.

The first witness of the day, Stuart Alderson told the jury that Mr Allen had been in Cash Generators store in Scarborough to sell a ring on April 24 and returned the following day to sell a St Christopher necklace.

He said he later recognised the defendant after seeing a picture of him in a national newspaper and called the police.

Charlotte Bell, who works at Pine Valley and Wilderness Store in Whitby, told the court how she had served a woman resembled Julie Davison on April 19.

She said she sold her a Regatta waterproof jacket and some waterproof trousers which Ms Davison said she wanted to use the following weekend when she was volunteering for St John's Ambulance in Dalby Forest, near Scarborough.

A police search of her Church Square flat failed to recover the waterproof jacket or a Toshiba laptop.

The trial continues.