Double killer escapes from open prison for second time as police launch manhunt

27 May 2022, 15:04

Darren Pilkington (left) killed his girlfriend Carly Fairhurst in 2006.
Darren Pilkington (left) killed his girlfriend Carly Fairhurst in 2006. Picture: PA/The Carly Fund

By Sophie Barnett

A notorious double killer has escaped from an open prison for a second time and is being hunted by police.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Darren Pilkington, 39, was jailed for the manslaughter of his 19-year-old girlfriend Carly Fairhurst in 2006, having previously served time for killing Paul Akister in a pub brawl in 2001.

Pilkington has been released four times over the past decade, but has been recalled to jail on each occasion after breaking his release terms and going on drink and drug binges.

He has been moved between high security and low security institutions on several occasions.

Last year, he was arrested for a sixth time after fleeing a bail hostel and being found in Wigan, where he is banned from visiting.

Trevor Fairhurst, the father of his second victim, Carly, said he has absconded again after going missing from a category D institution on Wednesday, reports Wigan Today.

Category D prisons have minimal security and allow eligible prisoners to spend most of their day away from the prison on licence to carry out work, education or for other resettlement purposes.

Read more: Half-term holiday chaos as mass queues form at airports and two hour waits for ferries

Darren Pilkington has escaped from prison a second time.
Darren Pilkington has escaped from prison a second time. Picture: PA

Mr Fairhurst said: "Apparently he had applied to the governor to go on escorted day release and it would then be up to the governor as to whether he would be granted a temporary licence.

"But then he did a runner before he got an answer.

"We don’t know where he is in the country. He could be heading this way – he has before."

A Prison Service spokesperson told the Mirror they are working with the police to "urgently recapture the offender".

“While absconds have halved since 2010, the Deputy Prime Minister has introduced greater scrutiny of Parole Board recommendations on open prison moves," the spokesperson said.

“Those who abscond face tough consequences, including being returned to closed prison conditions and serving additional time behind bars.”

Read more: Man who stabbed landlords to death over Covid lockdown fears jailed for 33 years

Carly Fairhurst was killed in 2006.
Carly Fairhurst was killed in 2006. Picture: The Carly Fund

Pilkington killed Carley in 2006 after pushing her down a flight of stairs.

He was convicted of manslaughter after leaving her to suffer all night with her injuries which she never recovered from.

He was given an indeterminate sentence and served 10 years in jail before he was released on parole in November 2016.

In November 2000, Pilkington and his elder brother Andrew killed 30-year-old Paul Akister outside a pub in Wigan, by punching him to the ground and kicking him repeatedly.

Pilkington was convicted of the manslaughter of Mr Akister in October 2001 and sentenced to four years in a Young Offenders' Institution.