Relatives have paid tribute to two women killed by the same man, after he was convicted of the two murders more than 20 years apart.
Gary Allen murdered both Samantha Class and Alena Grlakova, a jury decided. Class was killed in Hull in 1997, and Grlakova in Rotherham in 2018.
Class was a mother of three. Her daughter Sophia said outside court on Thursday: “Samantha was a daughter, sister, aunt, and a mum. A very loving mum. Sammy to her friends. Caring, gentle and strong. For those who knew my mum, she was a million beautiful things.”
Lei ha aggiunto: “For the people who suffered after my mum’s death, and most importantly for her, we finally have justice after 24 anni."
She said her mother “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.”
She said that, while Allen would serve a sentence, the pain she and her family would continue to suffer would be worse. “I can never have my mother back, I have got to live with that and there will always be a break in my heart, but at least for us all there are no more questions.”
In a statement on behalf of all of Alena Grlakova’s friends and family, her husband, Viliam Grlak, disse: “The conviction for murder today is welcomed by family and friends of Alena both in the UK and Slovakia.
“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.” Grlakova had four children.
The judge, Mr Justice Goose, told 47-year-old Allen to prepare himself for an inevitable life sentence and said he would pass sentence next Wednesday. The jury at Sheffield crown court deliberated for two days before finding Allen guilty of the two murders.
He had been cleared of the murder of Class at a trial in 2000 but the court of appeal overturned that in 2019 after new evidence was presented – including the murder of Grlakova. Just months after his acquittal 21 anni fa, Allen attacked two sex workers separately in Plymouth.
Police forces around the UK will now be asked to check unsolved cases to make sure Allen – who has professed a deep-seated hatred for women, and sex workers in particular – has not committed any further offences.
Durante un 2002 interview with probation officers, Allen detailed his misogyny, telling an officer he liked to cause pain.
Prosecutor Alistair MacDonald said Humberside police launched an undercover operation in 2010 to assess the threat posed by Allen. An officer, referred to as “Ian”, befriended the murderer, who went on to tell him about an encounter with a sex worker who got angry with him “so I strangled her and dumped her in the Humber”.
Class’s body was found by children on the banks of the river in North Ferriby. The 29-year-old was a sex worker at the time of her death. The body of 38-year-old Grlakova was found in a stream in Rotherham. The court heard she was at “something of a low point in her life” at the time of her death and had also started to work in the sex industry.