June 17, 2021 12.15 pm This story is over 13 months old

Landmark conviction: Double murderer describes female victims as ‘easy targets’ to undercover officer

He was acquitted over 20 years ago but has now been found guilty

A 47-year-old man has finally been convicted of killing two female sex workers 21 years apart, after admitting his crimes to an undercover police officer.

Gary Allen, 47, was first charged with the murder of Samantha Class, 29, in 1998, months after her beaten body was found by three schoolchildren on the banks of the Humber Estuary in October 1997.

He was found after being pulled over for an unrelated driving offence and once his DNA sample was taken, police were alerted to a connection to the much more serious offence of murder.

As part of the agonisingly long investigation, Humberside Police officers spoke to 6,806 people, took 3,500 statements and followed 7,214 lines of enquiry.

The investigation was meticulous, but following his first trial at Sheffield Crown Court, Allen was acquitted of murder by a jury in February 2000.

The work did not stop there. An undercover police operation between 2010 and 2012 led to Allen being caught on tape confessing to Samantha’s murder.

When this evidence was brought to light, it resulted in the acquittal being overturned at the Court of Appeal.

Allen then faced trial again, facing a further murder charge following the death of Alena Grlakova, 38, in 2018.

Alena’s naked body had been found in a stream in Rotherham in April 2019, and she had been “casual acquaintances” with Gary Allen, who paid her for sex.

Samantha Class (left) and Alena Grlakova (right) were murdered 21 years apart. | Photos: Humberside & South Yorkshire Police

Allen categorically denied both charges, but was unanimously found guilty at Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday, following a 12-week trial.

The court had previously heard that Gary Allen had a deep-rooted hatred for sex workers, calling them “scum” and the “lowest of the low”.

His negative attitude towards women also found him telling a probation officer that women are ‘easy targets’ due to being ‘physically weaker’ than men.

It is the first case of double jeopardy murder in the history of the Humberside Police force.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Christine Calvert, said today, “We are very pleased that the court has found Allen guilty today of the heinous crime of the murder of Samantha Class.

“This case has been unlike any other in Humberside, in that it is our first ever double jeopardy case, but in that it is also one of the UK’s first where an undercover operation has provided the pivotal evidence to the case being reopened and retried. We are incredibly proud of all of the work that has gone into making this possible, so that Samantha’s family could finally see justice.

“It is clear how dangerous Gary Allen is, particularly to women, which is why he is now exactly where he belongs, in prison.

“Perpetrators have nowhere to hide, even after all this time. We will relentlessly pursue offenders using every proper means at our disposal, but most importantly using determination, professionalism and our duty to ensure victims and their families remain the highest priority for us.”