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Armed raids in Middlesbrough as manhunt goes on
ARMED officers searched properties across Middlesbrough as the bid to track down suspected double murderer James Allen intensified.
With no confirmed sightings of him since Monday afternoon, officers raided his home address in Lothian Road, as well as a home in Delarden Road in a bid to flush out the man suspected of battering to death Colin Dunford and Julie Davison.
Yesterday, it emerged that Allen lived next door to 81- year-old Mr Dunford’s Leven Street home last year.
The pensioner was found dead at this home at 10.50pm on Monday.
A post-mortem examination revealed he suffered serious head injuries as a result of a significant assault.
And on Wednesday, the body of 50-year-old Julie Davison was discovered at a flat in Church Square, Whitby. She had also suffered head injuries.
Detectives believe Allen may have taken the train to Whitby, but police are not ruling out the possibility that he cycled there.
Temporary Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang said: “Clearly this is a dangerous man and we are putting every effort into finding him, tracking him down and bringing him to justice – James Allen is a dangerous man and there is no getting away from it.”
The suspect, who has a history of violence and has previously served a prison sentence, was wanted for questioning following an incident at the weekend at his home address.
The detective leading the hunt said that Allen was not spoken to at the weekend, but confirmed that he was on court bail at the time of the alleged offence and the murders he is suspected of.
The officer would not confirm the exact details of the offence Allen is suspected of committing over the weekend, but did say that it was of a serious nature.
In a direct appeal to Allen, Temp Det Chief Sup Lang said: “He is clearly in a confused state of mind and living a chaotic life, but this man needs to stop and needs to stop now.
“James Allen should do the right thing – consider the consequences.
“You have inflicted terrible injury and death on two families.
Stop and hand yourself in.”
Officers are desperate to trace a mountain bike which was reportedly seen outside both homes on the day of the murders.
The detective added: “We are trying to establish the whereabouts of a black pedal bike with suspension that we believe Allen had with him.
“The bike was seen outside Julie Davison’s home in Whitby and also outside Colin Dunford’s home in Middlesbrough at the time of the murders.
“We are keen to trace that bike.”
Yesterday, neighbours spoke of their shock after armed officers searched Allen’s home in Lothian Road.
Neighbour Adeel Baig, who last saw the wanted man on Sunday afternoon when he was getting into a taxi, said: “I was really shocked when I was shown the photograph of the man police are hunting for these murders because I recognised him straight away as James Allen.
“I never expected it because he was always really polite and quietly spoken.
“I saw him on Sunday afternoon when he got into a taxi outside his house and haven’t seen him since.”
Regulars in Samuelsons Working Man’s Club, where Mr Dunford drank, spoke of their disbelief at what had happened.
Paul Stevenson, 43, said: “Colin was a proper gentleman – not a wrong word about anyone.
It makes my blood boil.
“The man lived to 81 years and ended his life like this through some scumbag. It is really, really sad.”
Elsewhere in the Middlesbrough area, officers searched a house in Delarden Road, Pallister Park, as shocked neighbours looked on.
“I was really shocked when I saw all the police with guns in the street,” said one woman, who did not want to be named.
“I can’t remember ever seeing anyone at the house who looks like the man the police are looking for.”
A man taken away from the house by police was later released after being questioned.
Margaret Mason, 64, a grandmother-of-three knew Allen when he lived in Leven Street.
She said: “The grandchildren used to get on with him.
“He used to stand outside his home and say hello to them whenever they went by.
“I was shocked when I found out – he looked so different in the picture, his face was so drawn.
“It is terrifying to think he was in my house. I lock the door now because I’m nervous and I live alone.
“I think it’s a tragedy and it’s so frightening for these old people.”