SERIAL killer Steven Grieveson wrote letters of apology to the families of three teenagers he murdered, a court heard.
The killer strangled David Hanson, 15, Thomas Kelly, 18, and David Grieff, 15, and then set their bodies on fire to cover his tracks during a four-month killing spree in Sunderland, in 1993 and 1994.
The now 42-year-old was convicted of three charges of murder during a trial at Leeds Crown Court in 1996.
Grieveson, also known as Field, is now on trial at Newcastle Crown Court accused of murdering 14-year-old Simon Martin in Sunderland, in 1990.
The killer has admitted he is responsible for the schoolboy’s death, but denies murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
During the trial yesterday jurors were told of three letters Grieveson had written to the families of the three boys he murdered.
The letters, in which Grieveson begs for forgiveness, offers to take his own life and speaks of the love one of his victims felt for his family, were intercepted at HMP Frankland in October last year.
The first, written to the family of David Hanson, said: “Dear Mr and Mrs Hanson, I know you said you did not want to hear from me or see me again.
“I know the pain you are going through with having your son taken away from you at that age.
“I am truly sorry for taking David away from you.
“Please find it in your hearts to forgive me.”
Each letter was signed Steven Field.
The court heard that Grieveson, formerly of Roker Avenue, Sunderland, broke two decades of silence about his involvement in the death of Simon Martin to “help” himself.
The jury heard he claimed to have opened his heart during a meeting with detectives last year, when he finally admitted he was responsible for the three deaths, but refused to give details on what exactly he did to his victims.
The court heard that, during the confession, the killer also gave a detailed description of what he did to Simon Martin, but insisted he did not mean for the youngster to die.
He said: “I just wanted to threaten him, but it got out of hand.”
Grieveson said he “lost himself for a couple of seconds” during the attack and said he “freaked out” when he realised what he had done.
He told detectives: “I felt bad. I felt bad for him and myself. I didn’t mean to kill him.”
The court heard Grieveson, who first got into trouble with the police when he was 11, and has been arrested for offences including burglary, possession of drugs and driving while disqualified, has been grilled by detectives about his involvement in Simon’s death over the years, but has always kept his silence.
It was in January last year, during an interview at a police station in Leeds, which was held at his request, that he confessed to killing the schoolboy.
Asked why he had kept quiet for so long, he said he could not “move forward” without revealing what happened.
* The case continues.