Double child killer Colin Pitchfork released from prison

Double child killer Colin Pitchfork was released from prison after failed attempts to keep him behind bars any longer.

Now in his early 60s, Pitchfork was jailed for life after raping and strangling Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, 15, in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986.

He was eventually arrested after the world’s first mass DNA screening – where 5,000 men in three villages were asked to provide blood or saliva samples – and admitted to two murders, two rapes, two bombings. modesty and a plot to pervert the course of justice.

Pitchfork became the first man convicted of murder based on DNA evidence in 1988.

His 30-year minimum sentence was reduced to two years in 2009, he was transferred to HMP Leyhill open prison in Gloucestershire three years ago, and he was released on Wednesday.

Dawn Ashworth was one of the young victims of Pitchfork (Topham / PA)

Dawn’s mother, Barbara Ashworth, said Pitchfork should have been kept behind bars for life, saying his crimes had reduced his life to an “existence” and adding: “I don’t think he should breathe the same look like us. “

Speaking to the PA News Agency, she said, “I can never forget it.

“I go back every day with people talking about their daughters and grandchildren. As I say, it’s with you on a daily basis, what you took and everything she could have achieved.

“I just think it should never have been allowed, he should never walk the streets again… he should have been locked up for life without parole as far as I’m concerned.”

“It’s an existence, it’s not a life. I’m not living a life, it’s just going from day to day.

“Something like that pulls the rug out from under you and you don’t realize how shattered your life can be when you just take it all off yourself. “

Following a hearing in March, the Parole Board ruled that Pitchfork was “fit for release”, although this was denied in 2016 and 2018.

The Andrew Marr Show
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said he was disappointed with the parole board’s decision but respected it (Dominic Lipinski / PA)

In June, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland asked the council, which is independent of government, to reconsider the decision under the so-called reconsideration mechanism.

But the parole board dismissed the government’s challenge to its decision the following month, announcing that the request for reconsideration of the decision had been denied.

Mr Buckland expressed disappointment but said he respected the decision.

South Leicestershire Tory MP Alberto Costa, who campaigned against the liberation, said he was “extremely saddened and deeply disappointed” by the news, warning: “In my opinion, Pitchfork still poses a very real danger for the public “.

Pitchfork is now subject to more than 40 license conditions, which the Department of Justice (MoJ) described as among the most stringent “ever set.” Typically, there are seven standard conditions for offenders leaving prison, but Pitchfork will need to meet 36 other requirements.

Safeguard Minister Victoria Atkins told LBC that there was a “very strict control regime” on offenders leaving prison, when asked if she was happy with Pitchfork’s release plan and if it was confident in the safeguard measures that will be put in place. .

Pitchfork will be on the sex offender registry and will have to live at a designated address, be supervised by probation, wear an electronic tag, participate in polygraph tests – lie detector – and will have to disclose which vehicles he uses and who he talks to. while being confronted with particular limits in terms of contact with children.

He will be under a curfew, have restrictions on the use of technology, and face limitations on where he can go.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said the department’s “heartfelt sympathies” remain with the families, adding: “Public safety is our top priority, which is why it is subject to some of the most severe licensing requirements. strict never set and will remain under surveillance for the rest of its life.

“If he breaks these conditions, he risks immediate return to prison. “

The government plans to overhaul the parole system, with a review expected later this year. He also sought to change the law so that child killers are sentenced to life behind bars without parole.

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