Colin Pitchfork: Child killer to be released from prison after Govt challenge rejected

13 July 2021, 11:15 | Updated: 13 July 2021, 12:21

Colin Pitchfork was convicted of the murder and rape of two 15-year-old girls.
Colin Pitchfork was convicted of the murder and rape of two 15-year-old girls. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

Colin Pitchfork, who raped and murdered two schoolgirls in the 1980s, will be released from prison after the Parole Board rejected a government challenge against its ruling.

Pitchfork, now 61, was jailed for life after raping and strangling 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986.

He was the first man to be convicted of murder on the basis of DNA evidence in 1988 after admitting two murders, two rapes, two indecent assaults and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Read more: 'So upsetting': Victim's mother speaks out against Colin Pitchfork prison release

Read more: Caller condemns Parole Board for 'taking a chance' by releasing Colin Pitchfork

Pitchfork was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 30 years. Sentencing him, judge Lord Lane said: "From the point of view of the safety of the public I doubt if he should ever be released."

However, the minimum term was reduced to 28 years in 2009 by the Court of Appeal to take into account the "exceptional progress" Pitchfork had made in custody.

Pitchfork should remain jailed for good, according to Lisa Squire's

Appeals for release were denied by the Parole Board in 2016 and 2018, but following a hearing in March the Parole Board ruled he was "suitable for release".

Last month Justice Secretary Robert Buckland asked the board, which is independent of the government, to re-examine the decision under the so-called reconsideration mechanism.

Mr Buckland told LBC in late June: "I've looked at this carefully, have taken the fullest advice and have decided in these circumstances to refer the matter back to the Parole Board for their reconsideration."

But on Tuesday the board announced the application had been "refused" based on the risk Pitchfork poses to society after 33 years in prison.

Read more: Justice Secretary hopes Parole Board will 'swiftly' reconsider Colin Pitchfork release

Justice Sec asks parole board to review Colin Pitchfork release

A spokesperson for the board said in a statement: "The Parole Board has immense sympathy for the families of Dawn Ashworth and Lynda Mann and recognises the pain and anguish they have endured and continue to endure through the parole process.

"However, Parole Board panels are bound by law to assess whether a prisoner is safe to release. It has no power to alter the original sentence set down by the courts. Legislation dictates that a panel's decision must be solely focused on what risk a prisoner may pose on release and whether that risk can be managed in the community.

"As made clear in the reconsideration decision, release was supported by all of the Secretary of State's witnesses during Mr Pitchfork's review."

Read more: Matthew Wright in furious row with caller over Colin Pitchfork release

Pitchfork's release is subject to strict licence conditions. He will have to live at a certain address, take part in probation supervision, wear an electronic tag, take part in polygraph - lie detector - tests and have to disclose what vehicles he uses and who he speaks to, while facing particular limits on contact with children.

Pitchfork will also be subject to a curfew, have restrictions on using technology and limitations on where he can go.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

The Israeli Iron Dome air defence system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran

Israel hails ‘success’ in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack

Rishi Sunak confirmed a number of Iranian drones attacking Israel were shot down by RAF jets.

RAF jets shot down ‘a number’ of Iranian drones attacking Israel, Rishi Sunak says

A demonstrator waves Iranian and Palestinian flags during an anti-Israeli gathering at the Felestin (Palestine) Square in Tehran, Iran

What is the fallout from Iran’s attack on Israel?

Disability advocate Charlotte Anderson advises people on how to apply for PIP.

YouTuber who fills out PIP applications for £650 each says she has ‘only ever lost one claim in six years’

Planning documents show the owners of the pub want to rebuild it in a new location.

Owners of Crooked House agree to rebuild ‘Britain’s wonkiest pub’ - providing it's in a new location

Joe Biden has reaffirmed the US's commitment to defending Israel's security.

Biden reaffirms ‘ironclad support' of Israel as he plans G7 meeting to coordinate ‘diplomatic response to Iran attack’

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

‘Together we will win’: Netanyahu vows to fight off attacks from Iran after over 300 drones and missiles fired at Israel

Israeli's military have fought off a massive Iranian drone and missile attack - downing more than 200 weapons launched by the hostile state with the help of ace RAF pilots.

Israel fights off massive Iran attack - downing over 200 missiles and drones with help of RAF

Plans have been drawn up for an evacuation of Brits from the Middle East. Defence Secretary Grant Shapps (l) and protesters outside the British Embassy in Tehran (r)

Brits living in the Middle East could be rescued by the Royal Marines in 'Dunkirk-style' evacuation

The knifeman who killed six people in a rampage at a Sydney shopping centre has been named as 40-year-old Joel Cauchi (left)

Pictured: Sydney knifeman, 40, who killed six people before being shot dead by brave policewoman

Iranian drones and missiles have arrived in Israel with explosions in the skies - as officials warn of a "significant response" to the massive attack.

Explosions in skies and sirens across Jerusalem amid Iranian attack - as Israel warns of 'significant response'

USS Bataan which is heading to the Eastern Mediterranean (main) and Joe Biden (r)

US sends amphibious warship and 2,500 Marines into the Eastern Mediterranean after Iran attacks Israel

US and UK forces are helping defend Israel from Iranian drones and missiles after a massive attack was launched.

British and American jets 'shoot down Iranian drones' as Rishi Sunak slams Iran for 'reckless' attack against Israel

President Biden is holding an emergency national security meeting as the US prepares its response to Iran's drone and missile attack on Israel.

President Biden holds high-stakes emergency meeting as Iran launches full-scale attack on Israel

Iron Dome Rocket Interceptions of Hamas Rockets- Southern Israel- Night Attack On Ashdod City

Israel closes airspace as it braces for Iranian drone attack

Iranian attack drones are 'en route to Israel', according to an Israeli Defence Force spokesperson.

Iran launches massive drone and missile attack on Israel as war in Middle East escalates