Arthur Hutchinson, who was raised in the town after he was born in Easington, murdered three members of the same Sheffield family on October 23, 1983, before going on the run.
While a motive has never been confirmed, it is believed he originally intended to rob their home.
After taunting police with letters and phone calls, detectives were rightly convinced that Hutchinson – who nicknamed himself The Fox – would eventually return home to try to visit his elderly mother.
Eventually he was cornered in fields near Greatham on November 5 and ordered to serve a minimum of 18 years as part of a life sentence imposed at Durham Crown Court the following year.
The divorced drifter, a former employee at Hartlepool’s Buxted chicken factory, was already a wanted man before he butchered solicitor Basil Laitner, 59, his wife Avril, 58, and their son, Richard, 28, following a family wedding at their home in Sheffield’s affluent Dore suburb.
The convicted criminal had vaulted through a toilet window to freedom at Selby Magistrates’ Court on September 28 while in custody on suspicion of theft, burglary and rape.
The Laitners’ teenage daughter, Nicola, who survived Hutchinson’s brutal rampage, gave police a description which matched him and as a result the hunt quickly turned 90 miles north to Hartlepool.
“Siege Town” was the headline on the front of the Hartlepool Mail on October 28 as we told how police had set up an incident room in town while also imposing road blocks to check vehicles and their occupants.
After Hutchinson was named as chief suspect by detectives, Hutchinson’s mother, Louise Reardon, 78, who lived in Kelso Grove, Owton Manor, urged him to give himself up.
She also revealed that he had found time to post her a birthday card in between his Selby escape and the Sheffield murders.
Speaking to the Mail on October 31, she said: “Arthur has always been such a good boy. He always remembers his mother.
"Just before he left for the last time, he brought me a big bunch of flowers.
"He was the best lad I ever had. He used to do everything for me. The shopping, the washing, the gardening.
"The only thing he wouldn’t do was take me out in my wheelchair.”
The bond between their pair would prove Hutchinson’s downfall less than a week later.
After stealing cars in Worksop and Pontefract, a tapped telephone call to his mother revealed his intentions to return home.
Mounted police and a spotter plane joined the hunt following sightings of him in fields across the Greatham and Dalton Piercy area.
Protesting his innocence after his resulting arrest – he sensationally blamed a newspaper reporter for the murders at his trial – Hutchinson eventually turned his fight towards his upgraded sentence after a jury dismissed his lies.
The grounds for his appeals? That his human rights had been breached.
This from a murderer who had deprived three innocent people of their very own rights to life.