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10:36pm UK, Friday April 27, 2012
A double murder suspect who is being sought by police knew one of his alleged victims, it has been confirmed.
Cleveland Police said James Allen lived next door to Colin Dunford in Middlesbrough.
The 35-year-old suspect is being urgently sought by police following the separate murders of Mr Dunford, 81, and 50-year-old Julie Davison in Whitby, North Yorkshire.
Police Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang also confirmed Allen was on court bail for an offence, which was not disclosed.
He confirmed Allen had contact with the probation services and was being investigated for other alleged offences, which he would also not disclose.
He said Allen, who is thought to have been travelling on a black mountain bike, had previous convictions for violence and was a known drug user.
Police want to talk to James Allen over two murders
The detective said there had been a number of reported sightings in Middlesbrough, Scarborough and Whitby, and described Allen’s possible state of mind as “confused and chaotic”.
Sky sources have said Allen was seen at a hotel in Scarborough on Tuesday night – the day before the Whitby murder.
Chief Supt Lang urged the suspect to give himself up, saying: “James Allen stop now. Do the right thing. Consider the consequences.”
He added: “You have inflicted terrible injuries and death on two families – stop and hand yourself in.”
Police have surrounded a number of locations during the manhunt for Allen, and have warned members of the public to be careful.
A photograph by a Sky News viewer of police activity in Middlesbrough
Chief Supt Lang said: “People should take common sense precautions, safety first. Lock their doors, lock their windows and check who’s knocking on your door.
“Clearly this is a man who is a dangerous man but we are putting absolutely everything into finding him, tracking him down and bringing him to justice.
“There’s a massive police operation in place here. Over 100 detectives, two forces, not an inch between these two forces, absolutely working in partnership with one goal and that is to find James Allen and arrest him.
“I would appeal to general members of the public. If you’ve got an elderly neighbour then look out for them, reassure them. Be public spirited, be community spirited and help them.”
(L-R) Julie Davison and Colin Dunford