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A.K.A.: "The Sunderland Strangler"
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Murdered the boys in order to conceal his homosexuality - Set on fire the bodies
Number of victims: 4
Date of murder: 1993 - 1994
Date of arrest: March 11, 1994
Date of birth: 1970
Victim profile: Thomas Kelly, 18 / David Hanson, 15 / David Grieff, 15 / Simon Martin, 14
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to three life sentences (minimum 35 years) on February 28, 1996

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Steven John Grieveson (born 1970) is an English serial killer who was convicted on 28 February 1996 of the murders of three teenage boys in the city of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear from 1993 to 1994.

It was ascertained at his trial that Grieveson murdered the boys in order to conceal his homosexuality. He was subsequently ordered to serve at least 35 years for the three murders.

Murders and trial

On 26 November 1993 Grieveson murdered 18-year-old Thomas Kelly in an abandoned allotment shed in Fulwell, Sunderland. 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 near Fulwell in Sunderland.

Following an extensive investigation, Grieveson was arrested for the murders on 11 March 1994 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.

Other possible murders

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

In June 2004, Grieveson wrote a letter to the Victim Liaison Services admitting murdering his three victims, but did not admit to the murder of Simon Martin and was not charged with the murder.

On 22 November 2012 however, Grieveson was charged with the murder of Simon Martin, and on 11 February 2013, he admitted being responsible for his death, but denied murder. He was convicted of Simon Martin's murder on 24 October 2013 following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.


Serial killer who strangled three teenage boys before burning their bodies is convicted of killing a fourth

  • Steven Grieveson, 42, was convicted of murder at Newcastle Crown Court

  • He strangled Simon Martin, 14, in 1990 after sexually abusing him

  • Gireveson had already been found guilty of three other murders

  • But the fourth was a mystery until Grieveson confessed to it last year

  • He has been sentenced to at least 35 years in prison

By Kieran Corcoran -

October 24, 2013

A serial killer who strangled three teenage boys in the nineties has been convicted of the murder of a fourth.

Steven Grieveson, 42, was already serving three life sentences when he confessed to killing 14-year-old Simon Martin in 1990.

He told officers that he had lured the boy to an abandoned building after playing football with him.

Grieveson, a former fairground worker and kitchen assistant, then confessed to sexually abusing Simon, before strangling him and bludgeoning his face with a rock.

He denied murder at Newcastle Crown Court, claiming he had diminished responsibility because he had mental problems.

But after a nine-day trial the jury today found him guilty, and he was sentenced to at least 35 years in jail.

The notorious killer had previously been found guilty of killing three other teenagers - Thomas Kelly, 18, David Hanson, 15 and David Grieff, also 15, between 1993 and 1994.

He strangled all three of them and burned their bodies to hide the evidence.

But the murder of Simon in May 1990 had remained a mystery for years after his remains were found in the abandoned house a week after he was murdered.

Grieveson did not give evidence during the trial, but the court heard it reported that he claimed all four deaths were accidents.

He said he killed them unintentionally while he was threatening his victims to ensure they did not tell anybody that he was bisexual.

Grieveson told police last year that after performing a sex act with Simon he killed him on a mattress in a room at Gillside House in Roker, Sunderland.

He said: ‘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 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 in.

'It was haunting me for 20 years. I have self-harmed because of it. 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 had kept quiet when investigators questioned him in the past, and said nothing when a former schoolmate was charged with the murder. The case against the innocent man was eventually dropped.

Simon, who lived in Sunderland with his parents Robert and Jean, was last seen alive on May 18 1990 when he went to play out with friends at 5pm.

The court heard he was told to be home for his tea by 6pm.

But prosecutor William Lowe told jurors: ‘He never came home.’

Simon was reported missing that night and his body was found by two children playing in the disused house a week later.

He had died as a result of brain injury, with compression of the neck a contributing factor.

The court also heard that Grieveson had told a woman who visited him in jail that 'the need to kill took him over' when he murdered the boys.

The woman, who told detectives she was writing a book about the killings, was said to have given gifts and money to the killer in order to 'manipulate' him.

Grieveson, who was flanked by five guards throughout the trial, showed no emotion as his crimes were described to the jury.

He called on expert evidence in an attempt to show he had a severe mental condition that led to him 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.

It was on 26 November 1993 Thomas Kelly’s body was found burning in an allotment shed behind Monkwearmouth Hospital.

On 8 February 1994 David Hanson’s charred remains were found in a derelict house in Roker.

And on 25 February 1994 David Grieff’s body was found in an allotment shed at the rear of Monkwearmouth Hospital.

Grieveson was sentenced for the fourth murder this afternoon, after the court was adjourned, though he decided not to be in court for the sentencing.

Mr Justice Ramsey said: ‘You are a sexual predator. You will murder young boys or men who do not comply with your wishes for sexual gratification.

'Precisely what happened is known only to you. There is powerful evidence you strangled him as part of a sexual act then gratuitously smashed his skull.

‘I hope the family of Simon Martin can now feel there has been some closure of this case, justice has been done and they can now move on with their life.’

Speaking outside of court, Simon's father Robert Martin gave a statement to reports on behalf of his family.

He thanked the police and investigators who brought the case to justice, and said: 'It has been traumatic and life changing for all the families.

‘Now, Grieveson will spend the rest of his days behind bars.

‘No other family should suffer the heartache we have had to go through and I am sure the families behind me agree.

‘Our sons were taken away from us by a cruel man whose despicable actions cost four boys their lives.

‘These were innocent boys whose actions led in no way to their devastating and tragic deaths.’



Serial killer who strangled three teenage boys before burning their bodies 'confessed to killing a fourth boy after being haunted by the crime for 23 years'

  • Steven Grieveson, now 42, was convicted in 1996 of murdering Thomas Kelly, 18, David Hanson and David Grieff, both 15.

  • Jury at Newcastle Crown Court heard he confessed to killing Simon Martin, 14, after the two 'performed a sex act' in an interview with police last year

  • Man, who was 19 at the time, said the crime had 'haunted' him

  • Grieveson, formerly of Sutherland, admits killing the boy, but denies murder - claiming diminished responsibility for his actions

By Lizzie Edmonds -

October 14, 2013

A serial killer convicted of murdering three teenagers in 1996 confessed to police he had also killed a 14-year-old boy 23 years ago after the two 'performed a sex act', a court heard today.

Steven Grieveson, 42, admitted to police in an interview last year that he killed schoolboy Simon Martin in 1990, a jury at Newcastle Crown Court was told.

He also told police the crime had 'haunted' him for years.

Grieveson denies murdering the schoolboy at a derelict house in Sunderland and is claiming diminished responsibility for his actions.

The man was convicted in 1996 of murdering Thomas Kelly, 18, David Hanson and David Grieff, both 15. They had been strangled and their bodies burned.

The jury were told that in January last year Grieveson confessed in a police interview that he had gone to Gilside House, Roker, with Simon after they played football together in May 1990.

Then 19-and-a-half, Grieveson said he and the 14-year-old 'performed a sex act'.

In the interview, he said: 'After I was finished I got scared, I started shouting at him not to tell anyone.

'I just flipped for a minute and I started strangling him. I didn’t let go and the next thing, he was on the bed.

'I think there was a rock or something and I smashed his head in.'

Grieveson, formerly from Sunderland, later told police he had pleaded with his victim not to tell anyone about their sexual contact.

'He was saying he wouldn’t tell but for some reason I didn’t believe him,' he said.

William Lowe QC, prosecuting, told the jury Grieveson took the boy’s trousers and bottoms, throwing his footwear into the sea and binning the clothes.the court heard.

The court heard how Grieveson told police why he was confessing to killing the teenager.

He said: 'I needed to tell police, it has haunted us for 20 years.

'I have self-harmed because of it. It has driven me crazy and I need to give the family peace of mind, myself as well. I cannot move forward unless this is said.'

Mr Lowe, prosecuting, added: 'For whatever reason he strangled with his bare hands and with a ligature this 14-year-old boy and then smashed his skull.

'We said he did that with an intention to kill and that he is guilty of murder.'

The prosecution claimed the violence Grieveson used on Simon, and then on his three later victims, may have been to keep them quiet after sex, or to force them into engaging in homosexual acts.

On the evening of May 18, 1990 when he was murdered, Simon had been playing with friends at a local park and his mother Jean had asked him to be home for 6pm in time for his tea, Mr Lowe said.

The police were called at 8pm when he had not returned, and his father, a former soldier, and older brother went out looking for him.

His body was found on May 26 by two boys who were playing in the derelict house.

Simon, who was 5ft2 and around eight stone, was naked from the waist down and lying on a mattress. Blood was splattered on the walls and he had suffered a serious head injury.

Semen linked to Grieveson by DNA testing in 2000 was found on the boy’s body.

Bruising to his neck was also discovered, indicating he had been strangled.

Grieveson, who worked at a local fairground, had been seen walking from the park with his victim.

Three days after the body was discovered, the killer told police they had walked to a newsagents, and when he went inside the shop, Simon waited outside. By the time Grieveson left, his friend had disappeared, he claimed.

In his confession 22 years later, Grieveson told police he was a glue-sniffer and afraid of people finding out he was bisexual, Mr Lowe said.

The jury was told the defence will put forward expert witnesses who will give evidence to say the defendant 'by reason of an abnormality of mind' was unable to exercise self-control, Mr Lowe said.

'The prosecution do not accept that for one minute,' the barrister said.

He added: 'Steven Grieveson had the ability to choose whether to kill him or let him go.

'He chose to kill him and he is guilty of murder and nothing less.'

Grieveson, was convicted of killing David Hanson, 15, David Grieff, 15, and Thomas Kelly, 18 in 1996.

On November 26 1993 Thomas Kelly’s body was found burning in an allotment shed behind Monkwearmouth Hospital.On F

ebruary 8 1994 David Hanson’s charred remains were found in a derelict house in Roker.

And on February 25 1994 David Grieff’s body was found in an allotment shed at the rear of Monkwearmouth Hospital.



Triple murderer admits his guilt

June 25, 2004

A killer has admitted his guilt eight years after he was convicted of the murder of three teenage boys.

Steven Grieveson, of Roker Avenue, Sunderland, was given three life sentences in 1996 for the murders.

The then 25-year-old strangled and then burned the bodies of Thomas Kelly, 18, David Hanson and David Grieff, both 15, between 1993 and 1994.

During his six-week trial he maintained his innocence but the victims' families have now been told he has confessed.

The families were told of the confession in a letter from the Northumbria Victim Liaison Service.

'Physically sick'

David Hanson's mother Sheila said the admission did not change her opinion of her son's killer.

She said: "I was absolutely gutted. It came out of the blue. We weren't expecting anything. I just felt physically sick at the time.

"We will never ever forgive him. If that's what he is after, forgiveness off anybody by doing this he is totally wrong."

Grieveson was told he would serve a minimum of 35 years before being eligible for parole.

David Hanson's father John said: "We are just wondering why has he done it.

"We could understand if it was at the end of his sentence so he could get released, but why so early in the sentence? He has only served nearly a quarter of his sentence.

"He is not doing it for us or to clear his conscience or anything like that, no way, he is not that sort of person."



Gay serial killer is given three life sentences

February 29, 1996

Gay serial killer Steven Grieveson was jailed for life last night after being found guilty of murdering three youths who he strangled and then set on fire.

The public gallery at Leeds Crown Court erupted as the jury's forewoman delivered the verdicts after more than four hours of deliberation.

Sentencing Grieveson to three life sentences, Mr Justice Holland described him as "plain evil". The judge said he would recommend to the Home Secretary that his successors think "long and hard" as to whether Grieveson was still a risk to the public before releasing him.

Despite an earlier request for people in the gallery to remain calm, there were cheers and sobs of relief.

The jury decided that 25-year-old unemployed Grieveson was responsible for the series of deaths at Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, in circumstances so bizarre, that more than seven months went by before police launched a murder hunt.

Grieveson, formerly of Roker Avenue, Sunderland, had denied the murders of Thomas Kelly, 18, and David Hanson, and David Grieff, both 15, over a three month period.

The bodies of Kelly and Grieff, both from Sunderland, were found in burnt out huts on allotments in the city's Monkwearmouth area on 26 November 1993, and 25 February 1994, respectively.

Firemen discovered the body of Hanson, also from Sunderland, when they tackled a blaze started inside an empty house on the city's seafront on 8 February 1994.

After the verdicts Mr John Milford QC, prosecuting, raised the fact Grieveson was also charged with the attempted murder of a 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in the Hendon district of Sunderland, in August 1991.

He said that in view of the verdicts there would be "no profit" in trying that case. It would be left on file.

When the trial opened on 29 January, Mr Milford said Grieveson was a homosexual who was either "unable or unwilling to accept his sexuality", and that he killed the youths for two reasons. One was "to prevent them from revealing that he had demonstrated his sexual preference to them". The other was "simply because he enjoyed killing them and firing their bodies".

The jury heard Grieveson was interviewed by police after each of the killings, but it was not until seven months later that Northumbria police launched the investigation which led to him being charged. This was because initial post-mortem examinations did not indicate the causes of death and it took two of the country's most eminent pathologists to establish all three youths were strangled.

Outside court, Detective Superintendent Dave Wilson, who led the murder inquiry, said: "Grieveson is a very dangerous man who should not be released. He would have gone on to kill again."

The victims' parents, Tommy and Judy Kelly, John and Sheila Hanson, and Janet Grieff and Ray Gilston, were trembling with emotion. Mr Kelly said: "It is a great relief this monster is off the streets so no other family will have to go through what we faced.


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