Police have appealed for anyone with relatives and friends who may have come into contact with the double murder suspect James Allen to check on them.
Detectives made the appeal after Allen, 36, was arrested early on Sunday after being spotted by an off-duty officer on his way to work in Leeds. He is being held on suspicion of murder in connection with the deaths of Colin Dunford, 81, in Middlesbrough and Julie Davison, 50, in Whitby.
Speaking at Cleveland police headquarters, temporary Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang said there was no information that Allen was suspected of committing other offences.
But, as police retrace Allen’s route from Middlesbrough through Whitby and Scarborough to Leeds, Lang added: “Please check on people, friends, relatives and let’s make sure everybody is OK.
“In this inquiry we’re investigating two deaths. Without a doubt, this is a dangerous man so I think it’s prudent to ensure everybody’s safe and well,” he told a press conference.
Cleveland police and North Yorkshire police had issued an urgent national appeal to find Allen following the murders.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom, of West Yorkshire police, said: “An off-duty officer travelling to work this morning saw a man fitting the description of James Allen on Crown Point Road in Leeds.
“They called for colleagues in support who arrived quickly and an arrest was made.”
A murder investigation was launched after Dunford’s body was found at his terraced house in Middlesbrough on Monday last week. He had last been seen alive at around 5pm on Sunday, and a postmortem showed he had suffered serious head injures as a result of a significant assault. There was no sign of forced entry at the house.
Davison, who lived alone, was found dead by her sister at her rented flat in Whitby on Wednesday. She had also suffered serious head injuries, police said.
Allen, originally from Blackpool, is believed to have lived next door to Dunford about a year ago but is not thought to have known Davison.
Police linked the two deaths on Thursday, and three forces joined the hunt for Allen, with more than 100 detectives working on the case after sightings of the suspect were reported in Leeds on Friday.
Lang praised the officer who spotted Allen for an “excellent piece of police work”.
Describing Sunday morning’s arrest, he said: “Just after seven o’clock this morning in Leeds an off-duty police officer saw a man. His suspicions were raised around this man, he took up observations, maintained observations, called for assistance. That assistance arrived and, after a short foot chase, that man was arrested.”
He issued a further appeal for anyone with information about the route taken by Allen. A mountain bike used by Allen at the beginning of the week was found on Thursday in Scarborough. It was not known how he had travelled to Leeds. “It’s important we fill those gaps,” Lang said.
“We continue to appeal for sightings on what has been a journey, a journey that started on Monday 23 April in Middlesbrough, on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, Whitby and Scarborough, Thursday and Friday in Leeds, culminating in this morning’s arrest.”
Allen will be questioned in West Yorkshire.