SERIAL killer Steven Grieveson refused to appear in court yesterday to receive a fourth life sentence for murder.
The 42-year-old – already serving three life sentences imposed in 1996 for the murders of David Hanson, 15, Thomas Kelly, 18 and David Grieff, 15, in Sunderland in 1993 and 1994 – was yesterday convicted of the murder of schoolboy Simon Martin, whose body was found a week after he vanished from his home in 1990.
Mr Justice Ramsey adjourned the hearing after the guilty verdict was delivered and Grieveson, who showed no emotion throughout the trial, declined to come back into court.
His barrister Robert Smith QC said: “The defendant has expressed a wish not to be present for the process of sentence.”
Members of his four victims’ families were in court when the verdict and sentence was passed and some applauded after Grieveson was told he must serve a further 35 years before he can even apply for parole.
The judge addressed his sentencing remarks directly to Grieveson, although he was not in the dock to hear what was said.
Mr Justice Ramsay said: “You are a sexual predator. You will murder young boys or men who do not comply with your wishes for sexual gratification.”
Grieveson had confessed to detectives last year he killed Simon after sexually abusing the boy in an abandoned house in Sunderland.
He had denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility, which the jury rejected. Grieveson had claimed during his confession he had strangled Simon to keep him quiet about what had happened.
The judge said: “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.”
Justice Ramsey said: “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.”
Simon’s father, Robert, was in court to see his son’s killer convicted. A statement from him, which was read to the court, said: “Nothing in life prepares you for the loss of a teenage son, especially under the circumstances I lost Simon.
“My family have had over 20 years to come to terms with Simon’s murder and it has not been easy.”
After the hearing, he 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 their lives. These were innocent boys whose actions led in no way to their devastating and tragic deaths.”