One of Britain’s most evil child killers Colin Pitchfork will learn next month if he will be released from jail
A man who raped and killed two schoolgirls in the 1980s is suitable for release from prison after serving 33 years of his life sentence, 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.
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.’
Pitchfork – the first person ever to be snared by DNA evidence – was jailed for life in 1988.
He admitted two counts of murder, two counts of rape, two of indecent assault and one of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
His minimum term of imprisonment was set at 30 years, later reduced to 28 years in 2009 on appeal.
Pitchfork, known to police as a serial flasher, attacked his victims and dumped their bodies on dark, secluded footpaths located yards apart in Narborough.
Pitchfork – the first person ever to be snared by DNA evidence – was jailed for life in 1988 for raping and murdering 15-year-old Leicestershire schoolgirls Lynda Mann (left) and Dawn Ashworth (right) in 1983 and 1986
Pitchfork raped and strangled Lynda after dropping his wife off at an evening class and while his baby son slept in the back of his car.
Three years later he raped and murdered Dawn in a similar attack.
The killer was the first criminal to be caught by the revolutionary DNA profiling process pioneered by Sir Alec Jeffreys at the University of Leicester.
Pitchfork’s case was most recently refused by the Parole Board in 2018. Since then, he has been kept in an open prison.
Volunteers taking tests in 1987 to help police find the murderer of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth
In accordance with the law the Parole Board must review cases every two years.
South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa, who raised concerns about Pitchfork’s release with the Parole Board, said releasing the double killer would be ‘dangerous’.
The Conservative MP told the BBC: ‘I, like many of my South Leicestershire constituents, are appalled at this decision that the Parole Board has made.
‘Even though some 30 years have passed this isn’t the sort of crime that one can ever forget.
‘My constituents remember the victims, people who went to school with these victims, and they look to me as the member of Parliament to do everything I can to inform the state that it would be immoral, wrong and frankly dangerous to release this disgraceful murderer of two children.’
He accused the Parole Board of ‘playing politics’ and said he would be lobbying the Justice Secretary.
‘The Parole Board has received criticism before in the past – let’s not forget only three years ago the John Worboys fiasco that the Parole Board went through when they tried to release that repugnant individual,’ Mr Costa said.
‘The Parole Board back then had the opportunity of hearing Pitchfork but because of representations that I made to the then secretary of state for justice, they acted politically as a Parole Board and chose to delay listening to having a hearing for Colin Pitchfork, so the Parole Board aren’t short of playing politics in this as well.’
Ahead of his December hearing, MP for South Leicestershire, Alberto Costa had raised concerns to Chief Executive of the Parole Board for England and Wales Martin Jones.
He said he met Mr Jones to reiterate the grave concerns of his constituents about Pitchfork’s potential release.
Speaking in November last year, Mr Costa said: ‘I am of course hugely concerned at the prospect of convicted child-killer Colin Pitchfork being released on parole.
‘His abhorrent crimes cast a shadow over parts of South Leicestershire for many years, and while the tragic of murders of Lynda and Dawn were some decades ago, they continue to live long in the memory of many of my constituents.
‘I have consistently raised the issue of public safety with successive justice ministers, and with Pitchfork’s hearing now due on the horizon I was pleased to make further representations to the Chief Executive of the Parole Board for England and Wales’.
Speaking in November last year, Chief Executive of the Parole Board for England and Wales Martin Jones said the decision was up to the independent parole board.
Tips to Find Low Priced Luxury Holiday Package Deals Fast