A killer who sparked a national manhunt after taking the life of a much-loved Sunderland woman has been convicted of murder.

Alexander Carr appeared at Newcastle Crown Court today (Friday) where he pleaded guilty to murdering Michelle Hanson.

The 33-year-old became the prime suspect in the case after he was the last person to be seen with the mother-of-three at her flat on Brady Street in Pallion on December 1 last year.

The Northern Echo: Michelle Hanson Michelle Hanson (Image: Contributor)

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When Michelle’s family tragically found her deceased inside her address they immediately called police, and a murder investigation was launched.

Investigating officers found a number of discarded knives as well as forensic evidence pointing to Carr at the scene.

Extensive enquiries were carried out to trace Carr, who was actively evading arrest, and on December 6, his image was circulated as part of a wanted appeal, with the public asked for their assistance to help locate him.

Following a 18-day manhunt, officers travelled to London, and with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police Service, followed up a report of a possible sighting, which led them to a tent pitched on a railway embankment near Upper Holloway Train Station.

When officers swooped in, they found Carr inside the tent in possession of a hunting knife.

He was swiftly detained and taken into custody and later charged with Michelle’s murder.

And today, Carr, of Wilfred Street, Sunderland appeared in court where he pleaded guilty to murdering Michelle.  

He is due to be sentenced on June 16 at the same court and has been remanded in custody.

The Northern Echo: Alexander Carr Alexander Carr (Image: NORTHUMBRIA POLICE)

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Speaking after Carr’s conviction, senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Graeme Barr of Northumbria Police, said: “Firstly I would like to praise the bravery and strength shown by Michelle’s family throughout these proceedings.

“Not only have they had to come to terms with the tragic loss of their mam and grandmother, but they also played a role in helping us to locate Carr by issuing an appeal for information.

“His despicable actions speak volumes. Carr murdered Michelle and then fled down south and went into hiding so he could not be held accountable. That arrogance and lack of remorse has been difficult for Michelle’s family to come to terms with, and we are thankful he is now behind bars, facing a life sentence for his actions.

“We know nothing can bring Michelle back but we hope today can serve as the first step towards the closure her family deserve. No one should have to lose a loved one in such horrific circumstances and as a Force, we are committed to tackling all types of violence, and ensuring perpetrators are brought to justice.”