4:58pm Thursday 26th April 2012
By Jennifer Bell
A MAN being hunted in connection with the murder of a North Yorkshire woman is also being sought over the murder of a pensioner.
The body of Julie Davison, 50, was found by her sister at her flat on Church Square in the West Cliff area of Whitby yesterday at about 12.40pm. She had suffered serious head injuries.
Police urgently want to trace James Allen, 35, in connection with this incident and the murder of 81-year-old Colin Dunford.
Mr Dunford was found dead at this home on Leven Street in Middlesbrough at 10.50pm on Monday. A post mortem revealed he too had suffered serious head injuries as a result of an assault in his home.
North Yorkshire Police are leading a murder investigation with Cleveland Police and have more than 100 officers involved in the operation.
Allen is known to police and they are advising anyone who comes into contact with him, not to approach him but to call police immediately.
He is described as five foot seven ins tall, with a bald head and tattoos on both arms.
Ms Davison, who was originally from Whitby, lived in Lancashire until returning to the seaside town last year.
She spent Tuesday evening with her family, but they discovered her body the next afternoon and paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene. She had one grown-up son.
Officers said they are looking for a man seen on Church Square, where Ms Davison lived in a ground floor flat. He had a dark coloured mountain bike with him and was seen at 6:30am on Wednesday morning.
He is described as white, about 5ft 9ins to 6ft tall. He is thought to be aged in his late 20s to 40s, of slim build and with an unkempt appearance. He was wearing a baseball cap.
Chief Inspector Kerrin Smith, leading North Yorkshire Police’s investigation, said: “This was a brutal murder of a woman who lived on her own.
“The motive behind this is unknown at the moment so we are exploring all possibilities. There is no sign of a break-in.”
Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the murder of Mr Dunford.
Temporary Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang, head of crime operations for Cleveland Police, said: “We now believe the Middlesbrough murder is linked to the murder that took place in Whitby yesterday.
“Two brutal murders in the victims’ own homes. Anyone who can carry out such callous acts needs to be caught as a matter of urgency.”
Officers in North Yorkshire are carrying out door-to-door inquiries and patrols have been increased in the Whitby area in a bid to reassure residents.
Any witnesses or anyone with information that could assist the murder enquiry is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police as a matter of urgency on 101, select option 1 and quote Operation Bulb. Alternatively call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
In particular officers would like to speak to anyone who was in the Church Square area between 6am and 7am yesterday.
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