Double child killer Colin Pitchfork sent back to prison two months after release

19 November 2021, 17:53 | Updated: 19 November 2021, 20:31

Colin Pitchfork has been sent back to prison
Colin Pitchfork has been sent back to prison. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Colin Pitchfork, the double child killer who was released from prison, has been arrested and recalled to jail.

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He was let out just two months ago, drawing public outrage.

A Probation Service spokesperson said on Friday: "Protecting the public is our number one priority so when offenders breach the conditions of their release and potentially pose an increased risk, we don't hesitate to return them to custody."

Pitchfork raped and strangled to death two 15-year-old schoolgirls – Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth – in Leicestershire in the 1980s.

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

Read more: Tory MP brands Colin Pitchfork release 'deeply regrettable'

The killer, who is now in his early 60s, was the first man to be convicted with DNA evidence. He admitted two murders, two rapes, two indecent assaults and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and was given a life sentence with a minimum of 30 years.

At the time, the judge said he doubted "if he should ever be released".

The parole board which recommended his release rejected the Government's challenge against its decision.

It followed a decision to reduce his term to 28 years in 2009, when the Court of Appeal took into account Pitchfork's "exceptional progress" in custody.

He was later moved to an open prison, HMP Leyhill, before being released in September to public fury.

Pitchfork's release was subject to strict conditions, including a requirement for him to live at a set address, wear an electronic tag and undergo lie detector tests.

He had limits on contact with children and had to disclose what vehicles he used and who he spoke to.

The Government did attempt to appeal the decision to let him out of prison but that bid failed.

It is understood Pitchfork has been sent back to a closed prison.

Barbara Ashworth, the mother of victim Dawn, said: "I'm pleased that he's been put away and women and girls are safe and protected from him now.

"It's a safer place when he's behind bars and I won't have to worry about other people being hurt by him for the time being.

"But there's always the worry that he might get out again, he seems to have a lot of people on his side who give him the benefit of the doubt.

"But for now, I have to be pleased about the news."