A SERIAL killer was today told he will have to serve at least 35 years of a life sentence after being convicted of a fourth murder.

Steven Grieveson, 43, formerly of Sunderland, was convicted of murdering 14-year-old Simon Martin in the Roker area of the city in May, 1990.

The former fairground worker has been in jail since 1996, serving life sentences for the murders of three other boys - David Hanson and David Grieff, both 15, and Thomas Kelly, 18.

Last year he confessed in prison to strangling and bludgeoning Simon in a derelict former Masonic hall after they had performed a sex act.

He said he had killed Simon because he feared people would learn of his bisexuality. But he pleaded not guilty to his murder, blaming the crime on an abnormality of mind.

Sentencing Grieveson to life with a 35-year minimum, Mr Justice Ramsey said: “This was a horrendous attack and murder of an innocent young boy, groomed by you and lured for your sexual pleasure.”

Simon’s parents, Robert and Jean Martin, said in a statement they now had closure.

The statement said: "It has been a traumatic and life-changing experience for all the families involved.

"Now Grieveson could spend the rest of his days behind bars.

"No other family should have to lose a son and suffer the heartache we have had to endure."

The parents of Grieveson’s other victims said in a joint statement: “We hope that the outcome of this trial will help them to feel that justice has been done for Simon.

“Our sons would be grown men now. We will never forget them and they will live on in our hearts forever.”

Detective Superintendent Roger Ford welcomed the conviction and paid tribute to Simon’s family and friends.

He said: “They have borne this heavy burden with great dignity and fortitude throughout the investigation.

"This has been a long- running investigation and it is a credit to the late Detective Chief Supt Dave Wilson, and to Det Chief Insp Paul Young and his team that Simon’s murderer has been brought to justice. “