Double child killer Colin Pitchfork ‘will always present a danger’, says victim’s family
Double child murderer Colin Pitchfork “will always present a danger” following the decision that he is now eligible for release, the mother of one of the victims said.
Pitchfork was jailed after raping and strangling 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986.
He became the first man convicted of murder on the basis of DNA evidence when he was jailed for life, serving a minimum of 30 years, at Leicester Crown Court in 1988.
A hearing took place in March to consider whether he was suitable for release and the decision to greenlight his parole was published on Monday.
The families of the two victims have expressed their horror at the decision.
‘He ripped my family and I apart’
Dawn’s mother Barbara Ashworth told the Daily Mail: “This news is so upsetting. There are still 15-year-old girls wandering around and this man could still have 20 years of his life to abuse them.
“He can’t hurt me any more than he has done – Pitchfork ripped my family and I apart – but he can hurt other young girls.”
Pitchfork was eventually caught after the world’s first mass screening for DNA, as 5,000 men in three villages were asked to volunteer blood or saliva samples.
He pleaded guilty to two offences of murder, two of rape, two of indecent assault and one of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Mrs Ashworth, 75, from Liskeard, Cornwall, said: “This is a man who has displayed psychopathic tendencies – a man who thought he was clever enough to outwit police at the time of the murders by dodging the mass blood testing exercise. He nearly succeeded.
“I wouldn’t put it past him to have duped the authorities into believing he was reformed and rehabilitated now. He will always be a danger.”
Pitchfork not ‘capable of being rehabilitated’
Lynda’s sister Sue Gratrick, 55, said she did not believe Pitchfork could ever be rehabilitated.
Mrs Gratrick told the Mail: “As a family we are so upset by this news. I don’t believe somebody guilty of acts such as those he did is capable of being rehabilitated.
“Every time he comes up for parole, or there is some other development such as him being granted day release, our pain is heightened once more.”
Pitchfork release subject to strict licence conditions
Pitchfork’s 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.
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’s release is subject to strict licence conditions.
He will have to live at a certain address, take part in probation supervision, wear an electronic tag, take part in polygraph – lie detector – tests and have to disclose what vehicles he uses and who he speaks to, while facing particular limits on contact with children.
Pitchfork will also be subject to a curfew, have restrictions on using technology and limitations on where he can go.
MP ‘appalled’ by decision
Conservative South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa, who raised concerns about Pitchfork’s release with the Parole Board, said he was “appalled” by the decision, adding that the killer should be “kept behind bars for life”.
Mr Costa told the PA news agency he would be lobbying the Justice Secretary Robert Buckland to appeal the decision – which remains provisional for the next 21 days.