RELATIVES of Sunderland serial killer Steven Grieveson’s victims today paid tribute after the death of the detective who brought him to justice.
Former Sunderland Detective Chief Superintendent David Wilson (right) died after a brave battle with cancer.
During his 30 year career with Northumbria Police, Mr Wilson, 63, headed more than 30 murder investigations, putting a string of criminals behind bars, including serial killer Grieveson and multiple Wearside rapist Kevin Lakeman.
He also played an instrumental role in the investigation into the murder of seven-year-old Nikki Allan, Wearside prostitute Julie Perigo and Southwick schoolboy Simon Martin while heading up Sunderland CID.
Today relatives of victims killed by Sunderland strangler Grieveson paid tribute to the outstanding detective.
Mr Wilson stepped up to the case after police initially dismissed claims that the three teen deaths were linked.
But after probing forensic investigators, he was able to make the link and went on to secure a conviction.
In 1996, Grievson was ordered to serve three life sentences after being found guilty of murdering Thomas Kelly, 18, David Hanson, 15, and David Grieff, 15, between November 1993 and February 1994.
Thomas’s mum Judy, of Monkwearmouth, today said: “He was fantastic and without him we don’t know if the case would have been solved.
“We had a lot of contact with him over the years and he always made sure he kept us up-to-date with everything.
“All of the families had a lot of respect for him. He was well liked and really well respected, it’s a real shame.”
David Hanson’s mum Sheila, also of Monkwearmouth, added: “He was a real gentleman, was lovely and was really good at his job.
“He played a major role in the investigation and all the way through he was very attentive.
“He would always come down to the house and tell us things himself – it made all the difference.
“I was very, very sad when I found out he had died. I would like to pass on my condolences to his family.”
Nikki Allan’s mum Sharon has also paid tribute to Mr Wilson, who she said gave her huge support after her daughter’s murder.
She said: “I can remember him well. He was honest and truthful to us throughout and was very down to earth.
“My thoughts are with his family now.”
Former head of Sunderland police, Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Dave Pryer, added: “David served as a police officer with Northumbria Police from 1971 until he retired as Detective Chief Superintendent in the crime department in March 2001.
“I had the pleasure to work alongside David and knew he was a well-respected police officer who will be sadly missed.”