Man convicted in first double jeopardy murder ever in our area
In a Humberside Police first, a man has today been convicted of murder, after previously being acquitted in 2000.
Gary Allen, 47, was charged once again with the murder of Samantha Class, following a cold case review in 2019 into the circumstances of her death, and has been on trial at Sheffield Crown Court for 12 weeks. He also faced charges of murder relating to the death of Alena Grlakova in Rotherham in 2018; an investigation led by South Yorkshire Police.
The body of Samantha Class was found on the banks of the Humber in October 1997 and Allen was charged with her murder in 1998. He was found after being pulled over for an unrelated driving offence. Once his fingerprints and DNA were taken, the system soon alerted us that Allen was connected to a much more serious offence.
The arrest of Allen came following over a year of painstaking investigative work to try and identify Samantha’s killer.
As part of this original enquiry, there were 6,806 people spoken to, 3,500 statements taken, 7,214 lines of enquiry followed, 1,009 officer reports and 18,000 documents produced. There was also a mass DNA screening, where approximately 2,000 men over the age of 16 had their DNA taken and checked against the profile found on Samantha.
It was a truly meticulous investigation that left no stone unturned.
Following his first trial, Gary Allen was acquitted of murder by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court in February 2000.
After the discovery of significant new evidence during several cold case reviews of the case, primarily in the form of a confession made by Allen during our undercover operation between 2010 and 2012, the acquittal was overturned at the Court of Appeal.
Today, at Sheffield Crown Court, Allen was unanimously found guilty of the murder of Samantha Class by a jury.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Christine Calvert, said today, “We are very pleased that the court has found Allen guilty today of the heinous crime of the murder of Samantha Class.
“I first want to pay my respects to the family and friends of Samantha. Samantha left behind young children when she had her life snatched from her and we should remember that they have grown up without their mother and have waited a long time to see justice done. I hope that this result can now begin the healing process properly and brings them some comfort.
“I also want to pay tribute to the dedication and fortitude of the teams here at Humberside, past and present; our partners in the Crown Prosecution Service who prosecuted this case; our colleagues in South Yorkshire Police, who we’ve worked very closely with for the past two years; the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) Serious Crime Analysis Section; NCA Major Crime Investigative Support team; national SIO advisor and many others involved who have contributed at every level to bringing Allen to justice.
“This case has been unlike any other in Humberside, in that it is our first ever double jeopardy case, but in that it is also one of the UK’s first where an undercover operation has provided the pivotal evidence to the case being reopened and retried. We are incredibly proud of all of the work that has gone into making this possible, so that Samantha’s family could finally see justice.
“It is clear how dangerous Gary Allen is, particularly to women, which is why he is now exactly where he belongs, in prison.
“Perpetrators have nowhere to hide, even after all this time. We will relentlessly pursue offenders using every proper means at our disposal, but most importantly using determination, professionalism and our duty to ensure victims and their families remain the highest priority for us.”