THE killer of a Whitby woman smirked as he returned to the dock to hear the verdict of his trial at Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday.
James Allen had attempted to disrupt proceedings at every opportunity, but remained silent as the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict in just over three hours.
Sentencing Allen to two 37-year life sentences, Judge Justice Openshaw said that “a very dangerous man has been brought to justice”, but added that her family must now come to terms with Church Square resident Julie Davison’s death.
He said: “Plainly they all loved her dearly.
“This was a terrible murder and they will feel their loss the rest of their lives.”
In a trial that lasted just over three weeks, the court heard how Allen “brutally” murdered 50-year-old Ms Davison at home on 25 April.
A volunteer at St John Ambulance, Ms Davison was found murdered at home by her sister and brother-in-law, Dawn and George Kibble, of St Andrew’s Road.
She died after suffering 31 stab wounds to her head and neck in a vicious attack.
Allen then stamped on her head repeatedly, before ransacking her flat and taking a number of items.
Allen was also found guilty of killing 81-year-old Middlesbrough resident Colin Dunford, a former next door neighbour who had grown to trust Allen after he completed a number of small DIY jobs around his house.
Showing “not the slightest regret or remorse for his actions”, according to Justice Openshaw, Allen continued to deny the charges during the proceedings, and verbally abused anyone who attempted to give evidence he disputed.
Of medium height and muscular build, the balding Allen was removed from the dock on multiple occasions for disrupting the prosecution as they submitted evidence.
He accused witnesses of inventing their evidence, and even threatened to show the prosecution barrister, Robert Smith QC, his “dark side” while spitting expletive-laden insults in his direction.
Born in Blackpool, where he claimed to have learned many skills that aided his career as a criminal, Allen painted a picture of a hardened offender who took “great pleasure” in deceiving the police.
He came to Whitby, which he said reminded him of his home town, for some “enjoyment and peace” as he was aware the police were intending to arrest him on suspicion of rape and serious assault.
As a member of the “criminal fraternity”, Allen said that he had committed hundreds of robberies, including “earning” some money in Whitby at the arcades in Pier Road, the day before he killed Ms Davison.
While in Whitby, Allen also visited other locations in the town, including The George Hotel, Bits’N’Pizzas and the Blencathra Guest House.
However, the jury were unconvinced by Allen’s claims that an unknown man, referred to only as Scott, had given him items belonging to Ms Davison as part of a trade for the mountain bike which Allen had used to cycle from Middlesbrough to Whitby.
Allen also claimed that his reason for visiting the Church Square property was to purchase Subutex, a strong painkiller which Allen described as his “medication”.
Those he spoke to in Whitby had directed him to a drug dealer, known as ‘J’, who lived in the same block of flats where Julie was living.
While in the building Allen became aware of the vulnerable Ms Davison, who suffered from epilepsy and a painful degenerative disease, and decided to rob her and take her life.
Allen was sentenced to two life sentences, with Justice Openshaw stating that he will not be eligible for parole for 37 years.