MURDERER Mark Spalding is believed to have killed before, the Echo can reveal today.
The 45-year-old, today facing life behind bars for the murder of Washington man Andrew Lucas, was reportedly convicted in Dubai back in 1987 for the manslaughter of an Indian security guard.
Just 19 at the time, reports say Spalding was sentenced to 10 years for beating the nightwatchman to death. The prosecution had sought the death penalty against him.
However, at court yesterday, Spalding denied the 26-year-old conviction, claiming he had only been jailed for burglary.
Judge John Milford QC adjourned the case to find out the exact nature of the conviction.
The judge said: “If it is the case, as the crown allege, that the conviction in Dubai was for manslaughter, or the Dubai equivalent thereof, then that would clearly be an aggravating feature.
“He says it was burglary, the press reports, which I have seen, say it was manslaughter.”
Yesterday, Spalding was found guilty of stabbing Andrew to death in a stairway of a block of flats in Washington last November over a stolen mobile phone.
The knife wound in Andrew’s leg severed a major artery, which led to enormous blood loss.
Tragic Andrew’s girlfriend Vanessa Gibson heard the 20-year-old shouting “no don’t, no don’t” as he was being attacked.
She then came face to face with Spalding, who had Andrew’s blood on his hands, and he told her “I’ve given him a good hiding.”
Jurors heard during the trial that Andrew had stolen Spalding’s mobile phone about 20 minutes before the deadly attack.
Spalding, 45, of Kestrel Close, Washington, was found guilty of murder by a jury.
He had originally denied he was the killer, and tried to blame his pal Paul Mallin, saying he saw his friend punching Andrew, then realised there was blood.
Mallin had blamed Spalding for the attack, which proved to be the true version of events.
Spalding later pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the fifth day of the trial, but continued to deny murder.
Jurors found him guilty and found Mallin, 35, of Dunstanburgh Close, Washington, not guilty of both murder and manslaughter.
Born in Jarrow before moving to Washington, Spalding was arrested in Dubai on June 16, 1986, following the death of the 32-year-old security guard.
Then just 19, he had moved to live with his parents in the United Arab Emirates. During the trial, he was accused of using an iron bar to batter the guard before running him over with a car when he was refused entry to a housing compound in the Chicago Beach complex, on the outskirts of Dubai, where he wanted to see a girlfriend.
Spalding pleaded not guilty to the allegations and a trial began on September 22, 1986.
The case lasted until June 1987, when newspapers – including the Echo – reported him as being sentenced to 10 years in prison.
At the time, the case attracted international attention, and pressure group Amnesty, which aims to prevent ill treatment of prisoners abroad, had pledged to do all they could to ensure Spalding wasn’t given the death penalty.
During the trial, he was jailed for eight years on unrelated charges including burglary, damaging property and escaping from police custody.
He was sentenced after being found guilty of unlawfully entering nine rooms at two hotels in the Gulf emirate.
Later, he was caught trying to sell the goods he had taken, before escaping from police custody when the killing of the night watchman occurred.
Spalding received five years on one breaking and entering charge, and two years on another, plus one year for theft and two months for escaping police custody, as well as a month for damage to property.