Parole Board meets to decide if notorious child killer Colin Pitchfork can be freed from jail after he raped and murdered two 15-year-old schoolgirls in 1980s
- Schoolgirl killer Colin Pitchfork could be released early from after parole hearing
- He was jailed for life after raping and strangling Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth
- Conservative MP Alberto Costa said decision is due to be made public on April 7
One of the UK’s most notorious killers, who raped and strangled two schoolgirls, could be freed from jail.
The Parole Board has met to decide whether Colin Pitchfork is eligible for early release.
He was jailed for life after strangling 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986.
Colin Pitchfork was jailed for life for the killing of 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in the 1980s
He became the first man convicted of murder on the basis of DNA evidence and was given a 30-year minimum term when sentenced at Leicester Crown Court in 1988.
He was eventually caught after the world’s first mass screening for DNA – where 5,000 men in three villages were asked to volunteer blood or saliva samples.
Pitchfork pleaded guilty to two offences of murder, two of rape, two of indecent assault and one of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
His minimum term was cut by two years in 2009.
Although he was denied parole in 2016 and in 2018, Pitchfork was moved to an open prison three years ago.
It is understood a decision on the latest Parole Board review could take up to 14 days to be made due to the complexity of the case.
A Parole Board spokesman said: ‘The panel will carefully examine a whole range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.’
Conservative MP for South Leicestershire Alberto Costa spoke to the Parole Board about the case.
He said: ‘While these crimes took place over 30 years ago, the heinous and abhorrent nature of Lynda and Dawn’s tragic murders continue to live long in the memory of residents in South Leicestershire.
‘Many are still deeply worried about the prospect of Pitchfork ever being released back into normal society.
‘If he had committed these heinous crimes today, it is highly unlikely he would ever be released.’
The hearing was supposed to be made last November but was postponed.
Now the decision is due to be made public on April 7, Mr Costa said.
Both of the girls’ families have said on a number of occasions they still believe Pitchfork is a danger to the community.
Picture of Lynda Mann, 15, who was raped and murdered by Colin Pitchfork in November 1983
Picture of Dawn Ashworth who was also murdered when she was 15 in July 1986. Both of the girls’ families have said on a number of occasions they still believe Pitchfork is a danger to the community
The killings sparked the largest manhunt in the history of Leicestershire Police.
More than 5,000 local men were asked to volunteer blood or saliva in a bid to match samples taken from the crime scenes.
None were found until in 1987, a bakery colleague was overheard boasting he had been given £200 for giving a sample while posing as Pitchfork.
After this was reported to the police, Pitchfork was arrested a month later.
Pitchfork pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of Lynda and Dawn in 1988.
Pitchfork changed his name to David Thorpe in jail and four years ago he was let out of HMP Leyhill in Gloucestershire to go shopping alone.
A source told The Mirror: ‘He really thinks he’ll be out by the summer because he’s completed all the courses successfully and he was also allowed out in the local community before lockdown.
‘The trips from prison went without any hitch.’