Serial killer Steven Grieveson guilty of Sunderland schoolboy’s murder

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A NOTORIOUS child killer, known as the Sunderland Strangler, has been convicted of murder and faces his fourth life sentence.

The serial killer murdered David Hanson, 15, Thomas Kelly, 18, and David Grieff, 15, during a four month killing spree in Sunderland between 1993 and 1994.

He denied he was the killer, who strangled his victims before setting their bodies alight, but was convicted by a jury and given three life sentences after a trial in 1996.

He has since admitted he killed all three.

The 42-year-old has now been convicted after a trial at Newcastle Crown Court of the murder of 14-year-old Simon Martin in 1990, whose body was found in a derelict house in the city a week after he went missing in May that year.

Former fairground worker and kitchen assistant Grieveson confessed to detectives last year the schoolboy was the first of his victims, but denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

After an hour’s deliberation a jury of five women and seven men found him guilty of murder.

The court heard during the trial Grieveson had claimed all four deaths were “accidents”, which happened while he was threatening his victims to keep quiet about him being bisexual.

But during the case it was revealed the killer had allegedly confessed to a woman visitor “the need to kill took him over”.

Grieveson, who was flanked by five guards throughout the trial, showed no emotion as the horrors of what he had done were revealed before the jury.

He did not give evidence from the witness box during the trial but called expert evidence to claim he had a severe abnormality of mind which impaired his responsibility for killing Simon.

Professor Derek Perkins told the court during the trial Grieveson has “psychopathic traits” to his personality which, mixed with vulnerabilities which makes for a “dangerous combination”.

The professor said: “His lack of emotion, callousness, lack of remorse are elements that would have contributed to his ability to kill, more than once.”

Grieving members of Grieveson’s victims’ families staged a daily vigil in the public gallery to hear what had happened during their sons’ final moments.

Grieveson told police after performing a sex act with Simon he killed him on a mattress in a room at Gilside House in Roker.

The killer , who first got in trouble with the police at aged 11 and had clocked up over 60 convictions before he was jailed for life, said during his confession last year: “After it was finished I got scared and I started shouting at him not to tell anyone.

“I just flipped, I flipped, just flipped for a minute I did then I started strangling him then, I don’t know, I didn’t let go.

“The next thing he was on the bed and I got scared and I think there was a rock or something and I smashed his head.”

Grieveson had kept quiet when questioned by investigators in the past.

He even kept his silence when a former schoolmate, Alvin White, was charged with Simon’s murder, although the case was eventually dropped against the innocent teen.

But during the confession he made at a Leeds police station last year Grieveson said the words many had been desperate the hear.

He said: “I needed to tell the police. It was haunting me for 20 years.

“It drove me crazy and I needed to give the family peace of mind and peace of mind for myself as well.

“I can’t move forward unless this has been said.”

Grieveson, formerly of Roker Avenue in the city, refused to discuss the details surrounding the deaths of the other three teenagers he strangled.

But the boys’ families broke down in floods of tears when letters were read to the courtroom where Grieveson begged for their forgiveness and offered to answer any questions they had.

Grieveson had burnt the three boys bodies in a bid to cover his tracks during the murder spree between November 1993 and February 1994.

He had strangled each of the victims using ligatures.