Humberside Police

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.”

Concerned people in Grimsby flagged up newly appeared tyre tracks thought to have been from moped riders or as a result of anti-social behaviour, but police found there was no cause for alarm.

The tyre tracks appeared in the St James Square area, prompting Humberside Police to complete what they described as a proactive and thorough investigation with support from the local authority and CCTV footage.

It was determined that the tyre marks were from a council street cleaning vehicle, but police said they will take reports of this nature seriously.

Chief Inspector Paul French said: “We understand the impact anti-social behaviour can have on our communities and why they were concerned that these marks in a newly regenerated outdoor space could have been from the minority that abuse areas like this.

“Thankfully on this occasion, that was not the case, but we hope that the action taken by our officers demonstrates the level of seriousness we take reports of this nature.

“Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and with the help of our partner agencies, we work tirelessly together to take action.

“We hope people are enjoying this space, but we want this to serve as a warning to those intending on behaving anti-socially that we are being proactive in our approach and you can expect to be challenged and dealt with accordingly.

A spokesperson for North East Lincolnshire Council said: “After checking CCTV footage from the area, we can confirm that the marks were not made by moped riders or anyone else behaving anti-socially. There was never any suggestion from us that this was the case.

“This is newly laid paving in a high-footfall area and over time marks will build up on its surface from things like footwear, leaves and other vegetation, and dirt and grime from the roads.

“It’s to be expected, but it stands out here because it’s new.

“In this instance, the tyre marks were made by one of our street cleansing vehicles on its morning rounds cleaning up the town centre. The tyre marks have since faded and we will not use this vehicle in the area unless it is absolutely necessary.”

A 46-year-old man from Scunthorpe has been jailed after rummaging through the contents of a house during an attempted burglary.

Stephen Cleary, of Frances Street in Scunthorpe, forcibly gained entry into a property on Pemberton Drive in New Waltham.

After leaving the premises he was spotted by eagle-eyed officers and arrested.

He appeared at Grimsby Crown Court on June 4 and was sentenced to 15 months in prison for attempted dwelling burglary and possession of a bladed article.

Humberside Police said they work hard to prevent burglary and bring offenders to justice to make their communities safer. The force has also issued advised on how to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of burglary.

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