A VIOLENT man with a history of domestic abuse has been jailed for 32 years and 233 days for murdering two women in separate frenzied knife attacks – one in front of his three children.

The Northern Echo:

Alan Bennett (pictured above) pleaded guilty at Teesside Crown Court this morning and was sentenced at noon.

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The 34-year-old was a violent man with a history of mental health problems, violence and domestic abuse but the 'frenzied' murder of two women within minutes rocked Redcar.

The Northern Echo:

VICTIMS: Lynne Freeman and Jodie Betteridge

In the hours leading up to the fatal attacks, he had spent the day drinking with his partner, Lynne Freeman, becoming increasingly agitated and volatile, Teesside Crown Court heard.

His behaviour became more threatening and intimidatory throughout the day with witnesses recalling him pushing Ms Freeman to the ground in Redcar town centre.

One bus passenger hearing him say "Oi you. Why aren’t you giving me attention? I’ll get your attention when you’re home.”

Bennett acted on his threats within minutes of arriving at Ms Freeman's home, on Mapleton Crescent, when he grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed her while she was sitting on the sofa.

She suffered four stab wounds to her neck and one to her chest.

Andrew Robertson QC, prosecuting, said: "There was no witnesses but a neighbour heard banging and the noises of an assault."

She was found on the floor in a pool of blood and paramedics tried to resuscitate her but it was clear she was already dead.

After the attack on Ms Freeman, Bennett called police.

But in the brief period between his call at 8.45pm on Wednesday, March 23, and Cleveland Police's arrival at the bloody scene in Redcar, he had also unleashed his fury on his former partner, Jodie Betteridge.

Mr Robertson told the court that the pathology of Bennett's attack on Jodie Betteridge 'makes chilling reading'.

In front of the pair's three young children, the 30-year-old suffered 132 “sharp force injuries” including 30 to the head, 49 to the torso, some with “severe force”, with two fatal stab wounds.

She had numerous defensive wounds to her hands and arms as she desperately tried to fend him off outside her home on Byland Close.

Mr Roberston said a witness saw Bennett straddling his former partner like a "crazed maniac" repeatedly stabbing her with such force that he snapped the end of the blade.

Despite desperate attempts to give the young mother first aid, her life ebbed away on the grass while her traumatised children, aged four, six and nine, looked on in horror.

Bennett was arrested at the scene after he was found hiding in bushes just yards away from Green Gate Primary School.

Eye witnesses at the time recalled seeing one of the children running around the grass, screaming for help while covered in her mother's blood.

Following his arrest, Bennett told officers “I have done what had to be done.”

The court heard Bennett had previous convictions for having blades in 2001 and 2002, a four-year jail term for causing grievous bodily harm with intent with a bottle in a pub in 2002, and battery in 2012.

Tim Roberts QC, defending, said Bennett had a “chronic history of mental illness” and “an incapacity to control himself”.

Bennett was treated for depression and mood swings since 2000 and was diagnosed with an “emotionally unstable personality disorder” in 2008.

In 2013 it was said he had a “mixed personality disorder with paranoid tendencies” and was “prone to impulsive behaviour”.

Bennett was arrested at the scene after he was found hiding in bushes just yards away from Green Gate Primary School.

The following morning, the first bunch of flowers to be laid at the scene by the school, read: “Rest in peace Jodie. Our thoughts are with your beautiful children. All our love, the staff and children at Green Gates.”

The Northern Echo:

TRIBUTE: Flowers left by staff and children at Green Gate Primary School

The court heard how the murderer had written a letter saying he still loves the two women he brutally stabbed to death.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said the letter was "full of self-pity" and that he had made a "monumental mistake".

But the judge said: "You are a violent individual, you are a man with a quick temper, a man who always expects to get his own way. That becomes worse when you are in drink. There was no mistake about it, it was quite deliberate by you."

Sentencing Bennett to a minimum of 32 years and 233 days to the two charges of murder, he added: "There was nothing impulsive about your actions then. You knew precisely what you were about. You had nothing in your mind other than to kill her. Both victims were vulnerable. Both victims had reason to trust you.”

Bennett, who pleaded guilty to both charges, reacted with no emotion as he was taken from the court.

The Northern Echo:

POLICE: An officer stands outside of one the murder scenes in Mapleton Crescent, Redcar

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Sergeant Peter Carr said: "Without doubt Bennett acted in cold blood as he attacked both Lynne and Jodie - one his partner at the time, the other the mother of his three children. His phone call to police as he walked away from the fatal attack on Lynne Freeman is particularly chilling and detached.

“Emergency services arrived to a scene of unprecedented horror in Byland Close where Bennett had attacked Jodie Betteridge on an open grassed area in full view of her neighbours and her young children. Sadly Jodie’s life could not be saved and she too was pronounced deceased that evening.

“This was undoubtedly a traumatic and horrifying incident for all involved – the emergency services, residents living near the scenes of both incidents and Jodie’s children.

“Throughout the investigation Bennett refused to take responsibility for his terrible actions and he never gave his reasons or an explanation for what he did.”

As a result of the double murder an investigation has been launched, Cllr Alec Brown, chairman of Redcar and Cleveland Community Safety Partnership, said: “We have considered information relating to the case and have advised the Home Office that we will be conducting a Domestic Homicide Review.

"We are currently in the process of appointing an Independent Chair and we will be publishing the review within six months in line with Home Office guidance.”