A “despicable” man with a deep-seated hatred of women has been found guilty of two murders, 21 years after he was cleared of one of the killings.
Gary Allen will be sentenced next week for murdering mother-of-three Samantha Class in Hull in 1997, and mother-of-four Alena Grlakova in Rotherham in 2018.
Police forces around the UK will now be asked to check unsolved cases to make sure 47-year-old Allen, who has professed a hatred for women, and sex workers in particular, has not committed any further offences.
Allen had been cleared of the murder of Ms Class in 2000, but this acquittal was overturned in 2019 after “compelling” new evidence was personally presented to Appeal Court judges by Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill QC.
Mr Hill said: “Frankly, it’s hard to find any other word for him than evil.”
A jury at Sheffield Crown Court heard harrowing details of how the body of 29-year-old Ms Class, who was working in the sex industry, was found by children on the banks of the Humber in October 1997.
Prosecutors said she had been “brutally murdered” as she had been stamped on, strangled with a ligature and run over with a car.
Ms Grlakova’s body was found naked in a stream in Rotherham in April 2019, four months after she was last seen, on Boxing Day 2018. She had been strangled.
She was from Slovakia and moved to the UK in 2008 but, after becoming estranged from her husband and starting work in the sex industry, she met Allen at a bus stop.
They saw each other on a number of occasions and, on Boxing Day 2018, Ms Grlakova turned up at Allen’s flat and he angrily told her to leave.
In what police called a “chilling” recording that Allen made of their conversation, he told Ms Grlakova that if she came back again, he would “beat the living shit out of her”.
The court heard how Allen attacked two sex workers in 2000 in Plymouth, just weeks after he was acquitted of Ms Class’s murder.
After he was jailed for those attacks, he told a probation officer about his dislike of sex workers and women in general, saying: “I like to frighten them. I like to cause pain. I like to make them cry. I like blood. I like to hurt them. I enjoy it. It makes me feel good.”
In 2010, Humberside Police launched an elaborate undercover operation to assess the danger posed by Allen.
He told one of the undercover officers how a sex worker had got angry with him “so I strangled her and dumped her in the Humber”.
The jury was told this was the “clearest possible admission” to his killing of Ms Class.
Ms Class left three children, Sophia, Aiden and Lewis.
Speaking outside court on Thursday, Sophia Class said: “For the people who suffered after my mum’s death, and most importantly for her, we finally have justice after 24 years.”
She said: “For those who knew my mum, she was a million beautiful things.
“She imprinted on everyone’s heart who met her.
“Because of Gary Allen, my mum violently and brutally lost her whole life and our lives were turned upside down
“Our family unit was broken into pieces, and so many memories as a family taken away in one night.”
In a statement issued on behalf of all of Alena Grlakova’s friends and family, her husband, Viliam Grlak, said: “The verdict will not reduce the pain and suffering that we have had to endure since Alena was so cruelly taken from us but it does give us the justice that we hoped to achieve.”
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Oughton, who led the investigation for South Yorkshire Police, said Allen was a “despicable, violent man”.
Mr Oughton said: “I think Gary Allen’s a very dangerous individual and I think he would have gone on to attack other people if he had not been convicted today.”
Detective Chief Inspector Christine Calvert, who led the Humberside Police inquiry, said: “It is clear how dangerous Gary Allen is, particularly to women, which is why he is now exactly where he belongs, in prison.”
Allen denied killing either of the women but was found guilty of two counts of murder on Thursday after two days of deliberation by a jury which had heard eight weeks of evidence.
The judge, Mr Justice Goose, will sentence Allen on Wednesday.