Murdertown TV show turns spotlight on Sunderland serial killer Steven Grieveson and arson death of tragic Dean Pike

Two of Sunderland's most notorious murders will come under the microscope on TV next week.

An episode of Murdertown, on the Crime + Investigation channel, will look at the spate of killings committed by Steven Grieveson in the early 1990s and the horrific death of schoolboy Dean Pike in a bungled arson attack on his home in 2005.

Dean Pike

Dean Pike

Steven Greiveson murdered David Hanson, 15, Thomas Kelly, 18, and David Grieff, 15, during a four-month killing spree in Sunderland between 1993 and 1994, strangling his victims before setting their bodies alight.

He initially denied he was the killer but was convicted by a jury and given three life sentences after a trial in 1996.

He has since admitted killing all three.

In October 2013, the now 42-year-old was also convicted 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 1990.

Steven Grieveson

Steven Grieveson

Former fairground worker and kitchen assistant Grieveson had confessed to detectives that 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.

The court heard 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 did not give evidence during the trial but called expert evidence to claim he had a severe abnormality of mind which impaired his responsibility for killing Simon.

A former schoolmate, Alvin White, was initially charged with Simon’s murder. Although the case was eventually dropped after a problem with forensic evidence, it would be a decade before DNA advances conclusively cleared him.

The programme will also look at the murder of Dean Pike, whose killers Terry Majinusz and Neil English were convicted in May 2006

Dean's charred body was found by firefighters on the upstairs landing of the home he shared with mum Janine Dodd.

Thirty-year-old Janine, who was heavily pregnant, was dragged to safety by neighbours from her back garden after being blown from an upstairs bedroom of her home in Mordey Close, Deerness Park, Hendon.

English, 43, and Majinusz, 40, poured lighter fuel through the letter box to start the blaze – but tragically they got the wrong house.

Their aim had been to target relations of Majinusz's 18-year-old girlfriend.

He was angry because some of her family disapproved of their relationship due to the 22-year age gap.

Majinusz and English, both of Chester Road, denied murder, but were found guilty of Dean's death and guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Janine. They were cleared of attempting to murder Janine.

English already had a previous conviction for arson after he torched an ex-girlfriend's home.

Judge John Milford told them: "You have both been convicted of murder and the only sentence I can pass upon you is a sentence of life imprisonment."

Presented by Coronation Street and Happy Valley Katherine Kelly and featuring interviews with those involved with the cases, Murdertown will air on Crime + Investigation on Monday, October 29.