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In a quiet cul-de-sac off Beverley Road, a neighbour peered over her garden wall into the back yard of 7 May Street.

She could hardly believe her eyes, but there appeared to be a foot sticking out from under a duvet.

The woman called police, reporting what appeared to be a body in next door’s yard.

She did not know there were in fact two, and she had stumbled upon the scene of East Yorkshire’s first double murder for nearly 20 years.

He had long since fled, but Phillip Simmons, 38, one of several residents at the privately rented property, had turned 7 May Street into a house of horrors.

The burly and intimidating 16.5st thug had murdered housemate Daniel Hatfield, 52, who weighed just 6st, and his friend Matthew Higgins, 49, who was only paying him a visit.

It may never be known who was killed first, but Simmons told police it was Mr Hatfield, which would mean Mr Higgins was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For after attacking his first victim in the kitchen, and continuing the assault with a variety of weapons after dragging him into the yard, Simmons walked back into the house and found the second man standing in the kitchen.

He took a “calculated”, instant decision to kill him too, later telling police: “I thought that I had no choice, I’m gonna have to do him as well.

The two murders were almost identical, involving beating and the use of multiple weapons.

It was a grim task that befell the officer who had to remove the duvet.

But in an exclusive interview with the Mail, the officer who led the inquiry revealed that other potential victims crossed Simmons’s path, and may have been lucky to escape with their lives.

After the second killing, Simmons walked back into the house and found someone else in the kitchen, a woman who also lived there.

The killer decided to leave.

Detective Chief Inspector Tony Cockerill said she may be “simply lucky to be alive, considering the mindset of Simmons at the time, having just murdered two men who were no threat to him, one after the other.

“He’d reached a tipping point in his life where he’d committed these crimes.

“He had nothing to lose and could see where this would end up, and that was prison for the rest of his life.”

Simmons was on the run, but he was already a suspect and evidence was being quickly gathered against him.

He dumped his trainers in the bin at a “local address”, but these were recovered.

As well as retrieving forensic evidence from the scene and making inquiries locally, police continued filling in any gaps in their knowledge even after Simmons was arrested.

Det Chief Insp Cockerill said: “We spent some considerable time creating a timeline between the murders and his arrest to help us understand what had happened and where our evidential opportunities lay.”

It is thought Simmons spent just two days at large before he was arrested after a robbery at a Betfred bookmakers in Preston Road, east Hull, from which he hoped to fund his flight from justice.

Simmons, whom police describe as “a physically imposing, large man”, threatened the manager with a broken bottle, and demanded money.

Police say the manager was wise not to have challenged Simmons, handing over the £2,800 he took.

Det Chief Insp Cockerill said: “It was that decision and good fortune that he was not seriously injured, or worse, because Simmons knew what he’d done, he knew he was wanted, he had nothing to lose, and he’s an extremely violent and volatile individual.

“Simmons is capable of remarkable levels of violence.”

The officer said it is one of the worst cases he has seen.

“I’ve seen worse injuries,” he said, “but to have one after the other in such a premeditated way, which for me is an illustration and indication of where he was psychologically at the time, where he’s thinking that’s a rational decision, where a man has used horrendous levels of violence in two murders, is shocking.”

Det Chief Insp Cockerill praised relatives of the victims for the dignity they showed in court yesterday, when Simmons admitted two counts of murder and robbery.

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Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told the killer: “Phillip Simmons, you have pleaded guilty to two exceptionally serious crimes, and the crime of robbery.

“In respect of the murder convictions, there is but one sentence I shall be passing in due course, and that is a life sentence incumbent on each of the two counts.

“The only issue for determination is the minimum term that should be served in this case.

“There is an argument that I should impose a whole life term, but cogent arguments have been advanced as to why I should not take that course.

“I make it clear at this juncture I have not made any decision.

“At present I keep an open mind, but it is only right that I should indicate that I take, of course, an exceptionally serious view of such an exceptionally serious case.”

Hull Daily Mail

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VIOLENT: Mum Shauna Sirrs attacked pub landlord Craig Smith

VIOLENT: Shauna Sirrs attacked pub landlord Craig Smith

An east Hull mother who attacked a pub landlord before posting a homophobic slur about him on Facebook has been spared jail because it would be “catastrophic” for her children.

Shauna Sirrs, 23, was brandishing a glass when she attacked Craig Smith in the Wawne Ferry pub, Bransholme, after she was asked to leave.

Appearing at Hull Magistrates’ Court last month for a trial, Sirrs admitted assault but was found not guilty of sending a communication which conveyed a threatening message, contrary to the Malicious Communications Act.

At Magistrates Court today, Sirrs was handed a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

In her basis of plea, the court heard Sirrs admitted being reckless when brandishing the glass but that her intention was not to use it to hit Mr Smith who suffered a cut to his forehead but did not need hospital treatment.

In sentencing Sirrs, District Judge Fred Rutherford said: “You are the mother of two young children. Sending you away would be catastrophic for your family.

“I am sure you will not involve yourself in this type of behaviour again because you know it will mean prison.”

At last month’s hearing, Mr Smith said Sirrs and her friends were asked to leave because they were smoking in the pub and being disruptive, but Sirrs claimed it was to do with being given the wrong change after she and her group bought drinks.

She admitted injuring Mr Smith with the glass but insisted she only meant to thrown the contents of the glass at him but it slipped, leaving the victim on the floor covered in blood.

According to Mr Smith, she later uploaded the pictures of the injured Mr Smith to Facebook. Once charged with assault, Sirrs took to the social media site and called Mr Smith, who is gay, a “f*****”, the court heard.

Humberside Police were called immediately after the attack and Sirrs was later charged with assault by beating. When she received her summons to appear in court however, Sirrs took to Facebook.

In the post, she said: “Can’t believe [I] have just got this. What a f****** joke. What a grassing f***** c*** of a so-called man! He got glassed in the face, hardly a f****** beating, the lying little grass c***.

“If he wants a f****** beating, I’ll happily give him one.”

HDM ERM NEWS 13-10-16 NOT MAIL COPYRIGHT Screenshots of fb posts Shauna Sirrs put on fb.

Speaking after the last month’s hearing, Mr Smith said: “We started arguing and then all of a sudden a glass came hurling my way and it smashed me in the face. I was probably no more than 30cm away from her and it hit me just under the eye.

“I fell to the ground and was bleeding everywhere. The worst bit is she found it really funny and just started taking loads of photos.”

Mr Smith also admitted the slur on his sexuality was distressing.

He said: “It was deeply upsetting. I’ve worked in the pub industry for more than 30 years and no one has ever taken issue with my sexuality. No one has ever given a damn about my personal life and they have no reason to. It just wasn’t nice.”

As well as the suspended prison sentence, Sirrs was also ordered to pay £200 compensation.

Hull Daily Mail

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A THUG who repeatedly punched an anti-fascist protester in front of children during an EDL march in Hull city centre has walked free from court. John Claydon, 46, was caught on CCTV punching David Harding, who was part of a small group of men and women taking part in a counter-protest.

John Claydon is arrested after the assault during the EDL march in Hull.

John Claydon is arrested after the assault during the EDL march in Hull.

Yesterday, Recorder Michael Smith sentenced Claydon who has convictions for violence from 1999, 2001 and 2007 to an 18-month community order and 100 hours’ unpaid work.

HGV driver Clayon, 46, of Dronfield, Derbyshire, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Prosecutor Stephen Welch told Hull Crown Court: “On Saturday, August 17, the EDL held a march within Hull city centre. There was a heavy police presence, with some 300 people on the march, as it passed along Ferensway, past St Stephen’s shopping centre.
“At approximately 2.20pm, it became clear that there were six to eight people who were protesting against the EDL. The complainant had been holding a banner stating that Hull is multicultural.”

Mr Welch said the protesters, members of the group United Against Fascism, had been holding a “silent protest”.
CCTV captured the moment two men, identified as Claydon and Melvyn Parker, broke away from the main EDL group.

Mr Welch said: “Mr Parker grabbed the banner that Mr Harding had been holding and tried to push it away.

John Clayton restrained by police

John Clayton restrained by police

“He then pushed a female who approached him. That concluded his involvement.

“Mr Claydon then punched Mr Harding repeatedly in the face. Mr Claydon continued to punch him while Mr Harding was on the floor.

“It did not cease until he was hauled off Mr Harding by PCSOs.”

The attack happened in full view of children, said Mr Welch.

Mr Harding suffered a cut to his forehead, which required ten stitches, and two black eyes, and was off work for a week.

Following the attack, he had trouble sleeping and is psychologically scarred, said Mr Welch.

Claydon admitted having attended previous EDL meetings, where he claimed to have been attacked, physically and verbally, by anti-fascist protesters.

During an earlier hearing, Claydon had refuted the prosecution’s case that he had punched Mr Harding up to six times.

Richard Thompson, defending, said his client claimed to have heard members of the rival group shouting insults at soldiers.

Mr Welch strongly denied this suggestion.

Mr Thompson said: “Mr Claydon accepts that he allowed his emotions to get the better of him.

“The assault was over within ten seconds. This was not a sustained attack.”

Sentencing, Recorder Smith said it was a sensitive case, but told Claydon the politics of the march was “of no concern” to him.

He said: “I am sentencing you purely and simply for the act of violence in a public place.”

As part of his punishment, Claydon must complete an anger management course and pay Mr Harding – who was not present in court – £500 compensation.

Parker, 46, of Mansfield, Nottingham, was made to pay £265 costs at a hearing at Hull Magistrates’ Court on September 1.

Hull Daily Mail

A MAN repeatedly punched an anti-fascist protester in front of children during an EDL march in Hull, a court has heard.

John Claydon, 46, was pictured by the Mail being dragged away by police officers seconds after the attack.

John Claydon is arrested during the EDL march in Hull on August 17. Inset, from top, Melvyn Parker, Wayne Douglas and David Bolton

John Claydon is arrested during the EDL march in Hull on August 17. Inset, from top, Melvyn Parker, Wayne Douglas and David Bolton

He was one of four men who appeared before city magistrates yesterday in connection with trouble at the August 17 march .

Claydon, of Dronfield, Derbyshire, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Prosecutor Deborah Gibson told Hull Magistrates’ Court how Claydon had lashed out at David Harding, part of a six to eight-strong group taking part in a “silent” protest, holding placards, outside St Stephen’s shopping centre in Ferensway.

She said: “This defendant tried to grab Mr Harding’s placard, which simply stated Hull was a multicultural place, before repeatedly punching him in the face, forcing him to the floor.

“He continued to punch Mr Harding. Mr Harding was punched about six times to the face.

“The attack was only stopped when police officers dragged him off Mr Harding.”

Mr Harding was left with a cut to his face, which required ten stitches, as well as two black eyes.

Miss Gibson said Mr Harding’s mobile phone was also broken, most likely when he was forced to the ground.

She said a key aggravating feature of the attack was the fact that it was carried out in front of families on a Saturday afternoon.

“The assault was in full view of children,” said Miss Gibson.

More than 400 EDL supporters took part in the march, with all those arrested having travelled to Hull from elsewhere.

Ian Phillips, defending, said his client admits attacking Mr Harding, but denies punching him several times.

He said: “My client argues there were two punches, not the five, six or more as the Crown describes.”

Claydon was granted bail on condition he resides at his usual address and will be sentenced at Hull Crown Court on September 20.

Meanwhile, Melvyn Parker, 46, of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, admitted using threatening and abusive language against Mr Harding.

Parker also admitting possession of cocaine, a class A-controlled drug.

Miss Gibson said: “As the march proceeded along Ferensway at around 2.40pm, there was another group protesting against the EDL. No gestures were being made.”

Referring to Claydon and Parker, Miss Gibson said: “Two males broke away and approached these protesters.

“Mr Parker grabbed a banner from one of these protesters to try to stop the protest. That protester was Mr Harding.

“Mr Parker pushed, albeit lightly, a female who was with Mr Harding.

“When Mr Parker was arrested, he was found to be in possession of a small quantity of cocaine.”

Defending, Dave Robson said Parker – a dad-of-two and a struggling bricklayer – was drunk and became “caught in the political passion” of the EDL march, but regrets his actions.

Mr Robson said: “He says he was called names, including a Nazi, which upset him. He took offence to that and grabbed the placard.”

Parker was ordered to pay £265 costs.

David Bolton, 52, of Braintree, Essex, who has the letters EDL tattooed on the back of his head and a red rose on his neck, pleaded guilty to using threatening words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

The court heard staff at the Star and Garter pub in Portland Street called police at 3.25am on August 17 because they believed a group of men were carrying knives.

Bolton was searched and no weapon was found.

However, he was arrested after ignoring seven warnings from police to stop shouting obscenities at them, said Miss Gibson.

Defending, Mr Phillips, said: “He admitted that he could not keep his mouth shut.”

Wayne Douglas, 43, of Hemsworth, West Yorkshire, admitted charges of being drunk and disorderly and possession of cannabis, a class B-controlled drug.

Miss Gibson said Douglas was caught by officers urinating in the street “in full view” of passers- by.

He was subsequently searched and a small amount of the drug was found in a tin.

Both Bolton and Douglas were given 18-month conditional discharges and ordered to pay £100 in costs.

This is Hull

A 37-year-old Hull man flew to Canada to meet a teenage girl he had been grooming on the Internet, a court heard.

When Brett Moses arrived in Vancouver, he then took an 11 hour bus journey to meet the 13-year-old in Grand Forks.

He was stopped by Canadian police following concerns by the parents of one of the girl’s friends.

Moses, a security guard in Hull, has now been given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after earlier pleading guilty to sexual grooming.

Hull Crown Court heard that he first started speaking to the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, on an Internet chat room in 2004.

He claimed to be a 13-year-old called John Smith and initially spoke to the girl’s father.

It was him who introduced Moses to his daughter, having heard claims of “John” being beaten and abused by a foster father.

The correspondence continued for seven or eight months, in which time Moses was introduced online to some of the 13-year-old’s friends.

It was June 2005 when Moses travelled to Canada.

On arrival to Grand Forks, he telephoned the 13-year-old girl, but got no reply.

He then called her friend, whose parents questioned Moses and went to meet him, asking to see identification.

The prosecution said Moses claimed to have lost his ID, saying he was Brian Patterson and that John Smith was his foster son, and had been too ill to travel.

Eventually Moses confessed to the authorities, was detained and deported to the UK, where he was met by British police.

This is Hull