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How I met Middlesbrough 'double murderer' in Scarborough pub
A MAN wanted in connection with a brutal double murder apologised for bumping into someone in a pub only hours after the body of the second victim was discovered.
More than 100 police officers are hunting for James Allen after the deaths of Colin Dunford, 81, in Middlesbrough, on Monday, and Julie Davison, 50, of Whitby, on Wednesday.
Yesterday, armed police raided houses in the Pallister Park area of Middlesbrough, but at the same time the search for the 35-year-old spread farther afield to Scarborough after it was confirmed he stayed at the Allerton Croft Hotel, in West Square, on Wednesday night.
His appearance in the town was backed up by a drinker who last night spoke to The Northern Echo on condition of anonymity.
However, the description of the person who killed Mr Dunford and Mrs Davison in such a horrific manner is a world away from the man he shook hands with in the Lord Rosebery Pub, on Westborough, at 4.15pm on Wednesday afternoon, just over three hours after Miss Davison’s body was discovered by her sister.
“I went in for a quiet drink.
I always meet a mate of mine in there,” said the man, who is in his 60s. “This lad walked past another lad that was with us and bumped into him. Previously, he had asked him to look after his beer.
“When he bumped into him, the other guy reacted. The bloke walked over to table to sit down, then went back to him to have a word with him.
I tried to calm it down. Bloody hell, I’m in my 60s, I don’t want any aggravation. One thing led to another and it was a bit of a heated debate.”
He said the man who had been bumped into then left the pub.
“He, that Allen bloke, came over then and apologised,” he said. “He seemed so amenable. He was fine. He apologised and said, ‘I am sorry about that’, and eventually he went. He was with another guy, there was two of them. I got the impression he was in his company, but that’s conjecture.”
The man later left the pub and it was only when he turned on his computer that he realised who he had been drinking with.
“I went on Facebook and I saw his picture,” he said. “I thought, ‘that’s that bloody bloke, that’s him’.
“It was shock and disbelief to be honest. Scarborough is a small community and you don’t expect things of that ilk to come into your area.”
The man said he immediately phoned the police and it is believed that is what led the investigation to escalate.
The man said that, thinking back, there was nothing in Allen’s manner that made him believe that the drug user with a history of violence was wanted for such terrible crimes.
“No way,” he said. “When the chap that I was talking to kicked off with him because he bumped into him, he was more aggressive than (Allen) was. He was quite softly spoken, you wouldn’t have imagined it. There was nothing underlying.
“When the other guy went, the three of us on that table all shook his hand.”
Asked about the black mountain bike that Allen is thought to be riding and that was spotted at both murder scenes, the man said he hadn’t given it a thought at the time, but now remembers one in the pub foyer.
“I went in at 3.35pm and there was a pushbike in the entrance,” he said. “Half-anhour or so later the pushbike had gone.”
With Allen still on the run last night, the man leading the investigation, Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang, of Cleveland Police, made a personal appeal to him to give himself up.
“James Allen, stop now,” he said. “Do the right thing. Consider the consequences.
“You have inflicted terrible injuries and death on two families.
Stop and hand yourself in.”