Killer Colin Pitchfork who raped and murdered two schoolgirls to be released from prison

Colin Pitchfork is a double murderer and rapist (Image: REX/Shutterstock)

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Colin Pitchfork, who raped and murdered two schoolgirls in the 1980s, will be released from prison after the Parole Board rejected a Government challenge against its ruling.

Pitchfork was the first murderer to be convicted using DNA evidence after he raped and killed 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in the 1980s.

On November 22 1983, Lynda Mann's body was found on a deserted footpath in Leicestershire. She had been raped and strangled by Pitchfork.

Three years later on August 2, 1986, Dawn Ashworth's body was found in a wooded area near a footpath called Ten Pound Lane in the same county. She had been beaten, savagely raped and strangled.

DNA profiling confirmed the girls had been killed by the same man.

Dawn Ashworth was raped and killed by evil Pitchfork
(Image: Mirrorpix)

In 1987, one of Pitchfork's colleagues revealed to fellow workers that he had taken a blood test while masquerading as Pitchfork who had told him he wanted to avoid being harassed by police because of prior convictions for indecent exposure.

A woman reported it to police and he was later arrested and jailed for life with a minimum term of 30 years in the first conviction using DNA evidence.

Earlier this year, the Parole Board said it was satisfied Pitchfork – who became eligible for parole in 2015 – was safe for release but the decision was challenged by the Government as the justice secretary asked for the case to be looked at again on the basis that the decision to release Pitchfork was irrational.

The Parole Board rejected the challenge and a spokesman said in a statement: "The Parole Board has immense sympathy for the families of Dawn Ashworth and Lynda Mann and recognises the pain and anguish they have endured and continue to endure through the parole process.

Lynda Mann was raped and killed by Pitchfork in the 1980s
(Image: Mirrorpix)

"However, Parole Board panels are bound by law to assess whether a prisoner is safe to release. It has no power to alter the original sentence set down by the courts.

"Legislation dictates that a panel's decision must be solely focused on what risk a prisoner may pose on release and whether that risk can be managed in the community.

"As made clear in the reconsideration decision, release was supported by all of the Secretary of State's witnesses during Mr Pitchfork's review."

Artist's file impression of Colin Pitchfork, 48, appealing the length of his sentence at the Court of Appeal in London
(Image: PA)

The Parole Board said that while making the decision on whether Pitchfork should be released it looked at the view of professional witnesses that he had the capacity to manipulate and deceive the professionals he had worked with, a security report from November 2020, relating to an allegation made by another prisoner that an incident had taken place involving him, Pitchfork's request for a smart phone, an exchange between Pitchfork and a female shop assistant while he was on release on temporary licence and whether Pitchfork showed appropriate and genuine remorse.

The Parole Board panel found that the incident reported in November 2020 should have little or no weight attached to it on the grounds that they believed the complaint to be malicious.

It also found from witnesses that the conversation Pitchfork had with a shop assistant involved him telling them he was a married man, which the panel made no finding on.

Crime Scene Police Investigation and Interviews at footpath area known locally as the Black Pad in Narborough, Leicestershire, where schoolgirl Lynda Mann aged 15 was found raped and strangled.
(Image: Mirrorpix)

The panel said that Pitchfork has made progress during his time in prison and his risk to the public has reduced. They referenced his change in attitude, accepting into responsibility and motivation not to re-offend.

In reaching his decision to release Pitchfork, HH Michael Topolski QC – who noted the original panel was “highly experienced” comprising two judges and a psychologist said: “This was and remains a case of considerable seriousness, complexity and notoriety. The terrible consequences of the brutal rapes and murders of two innocent girls will forever darken the lives of the families concerned.

“A highly experienced and expert panel comprising of two judicial and one psychologist member had in essence two questions to decide. First, did the Respondent need to remain in prison to complete any further offending work and secondly, could his risk be safely managed in the community?

“For the reasons I have given, I do not consider that the decision was irrational and accordingly, with my thanks to the parties for their submissions, the application for reconsideration is refused.”

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