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

8 June 2021, 17:02

By Sam Sholli

This Shelagh Fogarty caller has expressed his frustration at the fact double-murderer Colin Pitchfork can be released from prison.

The Parole Board has ruled that Pitchfork can be released from prison after 33 years.

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

Pitchfork, then in his 20s, 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.

His minimum term was cut by two years in 2009 and he was moved to an open prison three years ago, following numerous attempts to get an early parole hearing which were rejected.

Daniel in Sheffield told Shelagh he believed that "some crimes are beyond the pale".

He said: "The reason I've rung is these people on the Parole Board. Would they let him babysit their children?"

READ MORE: 'Life should mean life': Libby Squire's mother gives take on Pitchfork release

"Would they let him live in a house near their daughters' schools? Or would they like him living next door to them?

"And I would say the answer is no."

He later added: "The people who have made this decision will probably never come into contact with him.

"But some poor family out there now may well [come into contact with him]...You cannot take a chance with a mind like that."

The Government is said to be seeking legal advice over the decision but it is understood Ministry of Justice (MoJ) officials did not oppose the release because it was felt the risk Pitchfork posed had sufficiently reduced and the restrictions he would be subjected to were suitable.

The Parole Board document said: "The Secretary of State's representative was party to the proceedings and also asked questions of witnesses.

"Potential grounds for contesting the decision include whether it is felt the process was flawed or that key information was not considered."

A Parole Board spokesman said: "Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority."

An MoJ spokesman said: "We understand this will be an extremely upsetting decision for the families of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth and our heartfelt sympathies remain with them.

"If Colin Pitchfork is released, he will be closely supervised by the probation service for the rest of his life and can be brought back to prison if he breaks the strict conditions he will be subject to."

READ MORE: 'Life should mean life': Libby Squire's mother gives take on Pitchfork release

READ MORE: 'So upsetting': Victim's mother speaks out against Colin Pitchfork prison release