Hundred officers hunt suspect after two brutal murders are linked

A man thought to have battered to death a charity worker and a pensioner in their homes was named last night by police desperate to catch him before he can strike again.

More than 100 officers are hunting for James Allen, 35, across Cleveland and North Yorkshire and have warned the public to dial 999 rather than approach the man.

The manhunt follows the discovery of the bodies of Colin Dunford, 81, in Middlesbrough on Tuesday and Julie Davison, 50, in Whitby, North Yorkshire, on Wednesday.

Mr Allen is known to police. Temporary Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang, of Cleveland Police, said: "Anyone who can carry out such callous acts needs to be caught as a matter of urgency."

One possibility being investigated is that Ms Davison, a charity worker, was killed during a botched burglary. Detectives said her attacker had inflicted "brutal head injuries". She worked as a volunteer for causes such as Mind, the British Red Cross and the British Heart Foundation shop in Whitby.

A colleague at the British Heart Foundation shop in Whitby said: "It's shocking. She was such an innocent sort of person. Whitby is such a small place that you never expect something like this to happen."

Mr Dunford, 81, was found dead at his home when he failed to appear at the Samuelsons Working Man's Club directly opposite.

Andy Mallett, from the club, said: "He had not been in last night or the night before, which was out of character for him. We went round to the house and knocked but could not get hold of him so we rang the police."