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20 November 2012, 18:13
A robber who killed twice while on the run was jailed for at least 37 years after he was convicted of two counts of murder.
36 year old James Allen attacked 81-year-old Colin Dunford in his Middlesbrough terrace home, then three days later stabbed 50 year old Julie Davison to death at her flat in Whitby, North Yorkshire.
The Judge, Mr Justice Openshaw described the killings as 'murders of quite exceptional brutality and savagery'.
The double killing sparked a huge manhunt which ended in Leeds when an off-duty police officer spotted him. Allen, who has a history of violent crime, was convicted of murdering his vulnerable victims following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.
Mr Justice Openshaw told Allen he wouldn't be eligible for parole until he had served at least 37 years.
Allen attacked Mr Dunford while lying low at a friend's house after being accused of a serious crime in April.
He died from serious head injuries.
He ransacked the pensioner's home, eventually trying but failing to use Mr Dunford's bank card at a local cash machine.
The jury in the trial were played a frantic 999 call made by friends of Mr Dunford who found him dead in his home.
The next night friends from the club over the road grew worried after Mr Dunford failed to turn up for his usual two pints, and they found him dead in his home in Leven Street.
By then, Allen had disposed of his bloody clothes and cycled 30 miles to Whitby and then on to Scarborough, North Yorkshire, where he sold a stolen gold ring.
A day later he was back in Whitby and was seen hanging around the communal hallway of the Edwardian terrace home, which was divided into flats, where Ms Davison lived.