Parole Board asked to reconsider Pitchfork release – BBC News

Caption,

Colin Pitchfork jailed for life for raping and strangling two 15 year old girls, Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth

The Lord Chancellor has asked the Parole Board to reconsider its decision to allow child killer Colin Pitchfork to be released from prison.

Pitchfork was jailed for life for raping and strangling two teenage girls in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986.

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of Justice Alex Chalk said it was “absolutely important” for dangerous offenders to be kept behind bars.

He said there were cases where it was argued the council’s decision was irrational.

Pitchfork became the first murderer to be convicted using DNA evidence.

He was jailed for a minimum of 30 years in 1988 for the murders of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth.

This was later reduced to 28 years for good behavior.

Caption,

Dawn Ashworth and Lynda Mann were raped and killed by Pitchfork

The 63-year-old was released from prison in 2021 but was arrested and sent back to prison two months later.

In a statement on Monday, Mr Chalk said: “My thoughts remain with the families of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, whose lives were forever changed by Colin Pitchfork’s heinous crime.

“My number one priority is the protection of the public and after careful assessment I have asked the Parole Board to reconsider their decision to release him.

“It is imperative that every lawful step is taken to keep dangerous offenders behind bars.”

His intervention came after the Conservative MP for South Leicestershire Alberto Costa called for the parole decision to be challenged.

Mr Costa said: “I am very grateful to the secretary of justice for listening to me and my constituents by challenging the parole board decision which was very disappointing.

“Like many people, I am shocked by the recent decision.

“The Parole Board now has a further opportunity to get this decision right and to ensure that Colin Pitchfork remains in the prison where he is.”

After the decision was announced last month, a spokesman for the Parole Board said: “The review of parole is carried out thoroughly and with great care. Protecting the public is our number one priority, but our only focus in law is risk, not punishment, and must be based on evidence.

“This case qualifies for reconsideration if any party considers the decision to be irrational or unfair.”

Colin Pitchfork: Two brutal murders

  • Colin Pitchfork, 22 years old at the time of the first murder, is married with two sons. He was a baker who grew up in rural Leicestershire and lived in Littlethorpe
  • In November 1983 he left his infant son sleeping in the back of his car and raped and strangled 15 year old Lynda Mann in Narborough. He then went home and put his son to bed
  • Three years later, less than a mile from the place of Lynda’s death, he raped and killed Dawn Ashworth, also 15 years old, from Enderby. The pathologist who examined her body described it as a “brutal sexual assault”.
  • The police investigation initially led to the wrong person, a 17-year-old local youth who falsely confessed to one of the murders. After an unprecedented mass examination of 5,000 men using the pioneering “DNA profiling” technology, Pitchfork was finally caught. At first, Pitchfork evades justice by persuading a colleague to take the exam for him
  • He pleaded guilty to both murders in September 1987 and was sentenced to life in prison in January 1988. The judge said the killings were “grossly sadistic” and he doubted Pitchfork would ever be acquitted.
  • In 2009, his 30-year living allowance was reduced by two years for “extraordinary progress” – a decision harshly criticized by the victims’ families.
  • He was transferred to an undisclosed open prison at some point before January 8, 2017, after his release request.

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