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Double Child Killer Colin Pitchfork Can Be Freed From Jail

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Double Child Killer Colin Pitchfork Can Be Freed From Jail

A man who raped and killed two schoolgirls can be freed from prison, the Parole Board has said.

Colin Pitchfork was jailed for life after strangling 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986.

A hearing took place in March to consider whether he was suitable for release and the decision was published on Monday (7 June).

Schoolgirl Dawn Ashworth. Credit: PA
Schoolgirl Dawn Ashworth. Credit: PA
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Pitchfork became the first man convicted of murder on the basis of DNA evidence and was jailed for life at Leicester Crown Court in 1988. He was sentenced to serve a minimum of 30 years.

He was eventually caught after the world's first mass screening for DNA, as 5,000 men in three villages were asked to volunteer blood or saliva samples.

Pitchfork pleaded guilty to two offences of murder, two of rape, two of indecent assault and one of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. His minimum term was cut by two years in 2009.

Although he was denied parole in 2016 and in 2018, Pitchfork was moved to an open prison in 2017.

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Colin Pitchfork. Credit: PA
Colin Pitchfork. Credit: PA

A document detailing the Parole Board decision said: "After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the evidence presented at the hearing, the panel was satisfied that Mr Pitchfork was suitable for release."

Back in November, his case was raised during a Westminster Hall debate, where Conservative MP Alberto Costa (South Leicestershire) said the Parole Board must have all resources necessary to arrive at a correct judgment.

He explained: "While these crimes were committed over three decades ago, I should like to inform the House that the murders of Lynda and Dawn continue to live long in the memory of my constituents.

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"I regularly hear from those who still live in the villages of Narborough and Enderby who have fond memories of growing up with these two young women and who will never forget their tragic and untimely deaths."

Mr Costa added: "The brutal and callous nature of Pitchfork's crimes raise questions as to whether such an individual should ever be released from prison and whether such a person can ever be truly rehabilitated.

"There is little doubt among professionals, my constituents in South Leicestershire and my own personal opinion that had Pitchfork not been caught, he would have taken yet another young life.

"That Pitchfork wilfully deceived the authorities during their investigations and that he continued to exercise his freedom and live his life when his victims could not are a further indictment on this individual's character."

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Justice Minister Lucy Frazer. Credit: PA
Justice Minister Lucy Frazer. Credit: PA

After asking for Justice Minister Lucy Frazer to ensure that the parole system has the necessary resources, she said: "The Parole Board fulfils a significant role, a fundamental role, in protecting the public from harm and in providing a fair way to consider the release of those held in our prisons on indeterminate sentences and in some cases on determinate sentences as well.

"The expertise of the Parole Board members is to thoroughly assess the risk and to take effective decisions and that expertise is clear, with public protection absolutely at the heart of every case."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: UK News, News, UK

Rebecca Shepherd
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