James Allen was convicted and sentenced for a double murder on 20th November. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a tariff of 37 years. We don’t have the sentencing remarks to go on, so this summary is based on the news reports.
The first victim was Colin Dunford, an 81 year old man who knew Mr Allen. It seems that whilst he was on bail for an unspecified offence of violence, Mr Allen battered Mr Dunford to death after having gagged him. It seems that the motive for the attack was robbery.
A few days later he attacked Julie Davison in her own home. Again, the motive appear to be robbery. The murder was brutal – Ms Davison was stabbed 31 times as well as being stamped on.
We do not have full details of Mr Allen’s previous convictions, but it appears that they were numerous.
The starting point for the sentence is 30 years, both because the murders were for gain and that there were two of them. The sentence was increased presumably because of the presence of those two factors as well as the brutal nature of the violence, the fact that Mr Allen was on bail and he had previous matters for violence.
When the full sentencing remarks are made public it will be interesting to see whether consideration was given for a ‘whole life’ tariff given the brutality of the murders.
This was two extremely brutal and senseless crimes and Mr Allen was convicted after a trial. The uplift of 7 years from 30 is certainly within the range of likely sentences.
Mr Allen is currently 36. By the time he could be considered for release he will be 73. In practice, hardly anyone gets out ‘on tariff’. With a sentence of this length, he will only be released in practice when he is in his 70s or later when, due to old age, he is unable to cause any harm. This is, in practice, a whole life sentence.