A MAN who brutally killed two people in their own homes has today been convicted of their double murder.

James Allen showed no emotion when he was sentenced to at least 37 years in prison for savagely attacking Colin Dunford and Julie Davison during a three day killing spree.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Allen broke almost every bone in Colin Dunford’s face when he unleashed a sustained violent assault on the 81-year-old in his Middlesbrough home.

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Mr Dunford’s facial injuries were so severe that the pensioner’s would have probably have died rapidly because his airway was blocked and death was almost inevitable.

Three days later the 36-year-old hacked and slashed Julie Davison’s throat when he stabbed her 31 times to the head and neck.

Friends and family were confronted with horrific scenes when they discovered the bodies in April this year.

After three-and-a-half hours of deliberation the jury of nine men and three women today  returned a unanimous verdict on two charges of murder.

Allen remained silent when the verdict was read out however, cries of "yes, yes" came from a packed public gallery, while Ms Davison’s sister Dawn Kibble could be seen comforting the 50-year-old’s son.

Sentencing Allen, Mr Justice Openshaw described how the defendant was trusted by the pensioner and used his friendship to gain access to his home on Leven Street, Middlesbrough.

He said: “It is obvious the he must have gone round with the intention of robbing him, once inside the house the defendant attacked him. There was no evidence that any weapon was used, he must have firstly knocked him to the ground with a punch and then he repeatedly kicked and stamped on him.”

The court heard that Allen had numerous previous convictions, including an eight-year sentence for grievous bodily harm with intent and five years concurrent for burglary.

He had also been sentenced to 11 months in a young offenders’ institution for affray, 12 months for two offences of assault, and 18 months for possession of an offensive weapon.

Mr Openshaw said: “He has shown not the slightest bit of remorse or regret. These were murders of quite exceptional brutality and savagery.

“Both victims were innocent and murdered in their own homes during the course of a robbery.”

Allen was warned he would not be eligible for parole until he had served 37 years.

After regular outbursts during the trial, Allen left the court without saying a word after the sentence was given.

A statement from Dawn and George Kibble - Julie’s sister and brother-in-law - on behalf of Julie’s family, was read out following the trial.

They said: “Julie meant the world to us and we are still struggling to come to terms with what happened to her on that awful day.

“On hearing the evidence of how Julie died, we consider this was an act carried out in a way that was cruel, wicked and so totally unnecessary. It causes the family great pain and anguish thinking of what Julie went through in the moments leading to her death.”

Detective Superintendent Peter McPhillips, of Cleveland Police’s Murder Investigation Team, said: “Throughout the investigation, during his interviews and even in the court setting, Allen has acted with arrogant disregard for his victims and for the legal process; he has yet to show any remorse and he has made no attempt to account for his terrible actions when he murdered Colin and Julie.”

North Yorkshire Police’s Senior Investigating Officer, Temporary Detective Superintendent Steve Smith, added: “Myself and the investigation team are satisfied that a very dangerous man has been taken off the streets where he cannot cause any more harm to the public, albeit in the most dreadful of circumstances.

“Julie Davison was a caring and selfless person who devoted her time to helping others. Her life was needlessly taken in horrific circumstances by Allen who has shown no remorse whatsoever.”