Steven John Grieveson (born 14 December 1970)[citation needed] is a British serial killer known as the Sunderland Strangler, who murdered four teenage boys in a series of killings committed between 1990 and 1994 in Sunderland, England.[1] Convicted of three counts of murder at Leeds Crown Court,[2] Grieveson was handed three life sentences on 28 February 1996,[3] with a recommendation that he serve a minimum of 35 years before the Home Secretary considers his eligibility for release.[4]

Steven Grieveson
Steven John Grieveson

(1970-12-14) 14 December 1970 (age 53)
Other namesThe Sunderland strangler
Criminal penaltyFour life sentences
(min. 35 years)
Span of crimes
26 May 1990 – 25 February 1994
Date apprehended
11 March 1994
Imprisoned atHMP Full Sutton

In October 2013, Grieveson was convicted of the 1990 murder of 14-year-old Simon Martin at Newcastle Crown Court, and handed a fourth life sentence.[5] He is incarcerated at HMP Full Sutton maximum security prison in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England.

Grieveson became known as the Sunderland Strangler due to the city in which he committed his murders, and his preferred murder method of ligature strangulation.[6]

Murders and trial edit

On 26 November 1993, Grieveson murdered 18-year-old Thomas Kelly[7] in an abandoned allotment shed in Fulwell, Sunderland. His body was set on fire. On 4 February 1994, he murdered 15-year-old David Hanson in Roker Terrace, before finally murdering 15-year-old David Grieff on 25 February 1994 in an abandoned Fulwell allotment just 50 yards from where he had killed Thomas Kelly three months earlier.[8] All three victims were pupils or former pupils of Monkwearmouth Academy, and suspicion among both law enforcement and the staff and fellow pupils at this school was that all three victims had known their killer—who may have been a present or former student of Monkwearmouth Academy himself. Grieveson was a pupil primarily at Hylton Red House School.[9]

Grieveson was initially arrested on 11 March, charged with an attempted burglary at the Roker Terrace household where the charred body of David Hanson had previously been found.[7] Following an extensive investigation, Grieveson was charged with the three murders in November 1995,[10] and faced a six-week trial in 1996 where he was handed three life sentences for murder. He was ordered to serve a minimum of 35 years in prison.

"You murdered Thomas Kelly after finding an efficient and effective way to kill him and conceal the evidence, by setting fire to his body ... and so far from being appalled at what you had done, when the opportunity arose to repeat the experience, you did it again. It could well be that one reason—perhaps the only reason—was that you liked killing. By that stage you were plainly evil, and even more plainly dangerous. Mercifully, you were soon in custody and the killings stopped."

Mr Justice Holland pronouncing sentence upon Steven Grieveson. 28 February 1996.[11]

It was ascertained at this first trial, held at Leeds Crown Court, that Grieveson murdered the three boys in order to conceal evidence of his homosexuality.[12] When asked their personal feelings towards Steven Grieveson following his conviction, the father of Thomas Kelly stated: "[It is] a great relief this monster is off the streets so no other family will have to go through what we faced."[13]

Fourth murder conviction edit

In November 2000, Grieveson, serving his three life sentences at Full Sutton Prison, was arrested and questioned over the May 1990 murder of 14-year-old Simon Martin, who was murdered in Gilside House, Roker.[14]

In June 2004, Grieveson wrote a letter to the Victim Liaison Services in which he admitted murdering the three victims killed in 1993 and 1994, but in which he omitted his culpability in the murder of Simon Martin. As such, he was not charged with Martin's murder at the time.[15] On 22 November 2012, however, Grieveson was charged with the murder of Simon Martin, and on 11 February 2013, he admitted being responsible for Martin's death, but denied that this particular murder had been premeditated.[16] He was convicted of Simon Martin's murder on 24 October 2013 following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.[5]

Discounted link to other murder edit

On 20 February 2014, Grieveson was also arrested on suspicion of the 1992 murder of a seven-year-old girl named Nikki Allan, who had been found stabbed to death in a disused warehouse in October 1992.[17] Two years after her death a neighbour, who had confessed to the killing, was acquitted after police were found to have used "oppressive methods" in their questioning.[18] Although Allan was female and had been stabbed to death, the extensive blunt force trauma injuries inflicted to her head had been similar to those Grieveson had inflicted on Simon Martin in 1990.[19] Grieveson was questioned as to his potential involvement, although detectives later stated he was to face no further current action in relation to their ongoing enquiries into Allan's murder.[20]

In 2017, police announced they had isolated a complete DNA profile of Allan's murderer from previous samples, leading to the re-arrest in 2019 of a previous suspect (not Grieveson).[21][18]

In May 2023, 55-year-old David Boyd was found guilty of Allan's murder. Boyd was a convicted child molester; his partner in the early 1990s had been Allan's babysitter.[22]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Gay serial killer is given three life sentences – Independent, The (London) – Find Articles at".
  2. ^ Nicholson, David (5 November 1983). "Nilsen given 25-year sentence". The Times. No. 61682. London. p. 1.
  3. ^ Master Detective December 1996 p. 5
  4. ^ Nicholson, David (5 November 1983). "The lonely murderer who preyed on young drifters". The Times. No. 61682. London. p. 3.
  5. ^ a b "Serial killer Steven Grieveson guilty of Simon Martin murder". BBC News. BBC. 24 October 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  6. ^ Master Detective December 1996 p. 8
  7. ^ a b "School struggles to make sense of boys' murders: Jonathan Foster". 5 October 1994. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  8. ^ "'We're sorry', police tell murder victims' parents". BBC News. 9 December 1997.
  9. ^ "Killer did not target school, head says". 6 October 1994. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  10. ^ Goodwin, Christopher; Hattenstone, Simon (28 October 2011). "My child, the murderer". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  11. ^ Triple Horror in Sunderland. Master Detective. December 1996 issue. p. 9. ISSN 0262-4141
  12. ^ "Secret gay 'killed and burned three boys' – Independent, The (London) – Find Articles at".
  13. ^ "Gay Serial Killer is Given Three Life Sentences". The Independent. 29 February 1996. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Simon Martin Death: Triple Killer Steven Grieveson Denies Fourth Murder". The Independent. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  15. ^ "Triple murderer admits his guilt". BBC News. 25 June 2004.
  16. ^ "Internal Server Error - BBC News". BBC News. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  17. ^ "Murdered girl seen begging outside pub before attack". 10 October 1992. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  18. ^ a b "Nikki Allan murder: Man re-arrested over seven-year-old's death". BBC News. 3 May 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  19. ^ Doughty, Sophie (6 October 2017). "Nikki Allan Timeline of Events: How Brutal Child Killing Sparked 25 Year Fight for Justice". Chronicle Live. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  20. ^ Thompson, Craig (6 March 2016). "Nikki Allan murder: Could a 12-year-old babysitter hold the key to Sunderland schoolgirl's death?". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  21. ^ "Nikki Allan murder: DNA clue in girl's 1992 killing inquiry". BBC News. 6 October 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  22. ^ "Nikki Allan Murder: David Boyd Guilty of Killing Sunderland Girl". BBC News. 12 May 2023. Retrieved 12 May 2023.

Cited works and further reading edit

  • Baker, Jeanette (1996). Triple Horror in Sunderland. Master Detective. December 1996 issue. ISSN 0262-4141
  • Hall, Steve; Winlow, Simon (2012). New Directions in Criminological Theory. Routledge. pp. 230–231. ISBN 978-1-843-92913-0

External links edit