First day of Whitby murder trial

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A man went on trial today for the murder of a Whitby woman.

James Allen (36) appeared at Newcastle Crown Court for the first day of proceedings and is accused of murdering Julie Davison who died after suffering 31 stab wounds to her neck and upper body, the court heard.

He is accused of murdering 50-year-old Julie Davison at her Church Square home in Whitby on 25 April this year and is also on trial for the murder of Colin Dunford (81), a former neighbour of Allen who was found dead at home in Middlesbrough on 23 April.

In his opening statement, Robert Smith QC, prosecuting, said additional stab wounds to Julie’s hands and left arm suggested she had attempted to defend herself from the attack.

Jurors, nine men and three women, were shown images of Julie’s body which also showed how she had been kicked and beaten in the head as she lay on the floor.

Mr Smith QC said the defendant had been able gain access to the building as the front door was left unlocked, to allow tenants access to a communal area.

Julie had spent the night before her death at the Rifle Club, where she won £25. Following this she returned home with close friend Nigel Bradder. Mr Bradder spent the night at Julie’s flat but left in the early hours of Wednesday, passing a man on the front doorstep who was smoking a cigarette.

Mr Smith QC added another witness, Christopher Sanderson, later spoke to the defendant outside Julie’s flat door, where Allen claimed a friend of his lived.

However, when Julie then opened the door, Mr Allen is reported to have said to her “I’m sorry love, I didn’t mean owt by it”.

A St John’s Ambulance volunteer, Julie Davison was discovered at home on the morning of 25 April by her sister and brother-in-law, Dawn and George Kibble, of St Andrew’s Road.

Julie had moved back to Whitby from Preston following the break-up of her marriage.

The trial continues and is expected to last up to four weeks.

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