Colin Pitchfork: Justice Secretary to intervene in decision to free double child-killer

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has said he will intervene with the decision to free Colin Pitchfork Credit: ITV News/PA

The Justice Secretary has asked the Parole Board to rethink its decision to free double child killer Colin Pitchfork from prison.

Pitchfork was jailed for life after strangling Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986, when they were just 15-years-old.

After a hearing in March, the Parole Board said he was "suitable for release", despite being denied parole in 2016 and again in 2018.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said on Friday that Robert Buckland would formally ask the board, which is independent of government, to re-examine the decision.

In a statement on Monday (28 June) the Parole Board confirmed a request has now been submitted.

Colin Pitchfork raped and murdered two schoolgirls. Credit: BPM Media

A spokesman said: "An application under the reconsideration mechanism has been received from the Secretary of State for Justice for the case of Colin Pitchfork and will now be considered."

The case is expected to be assigned to a senior judge immediately for consideration, with families of victims being invited to give their views.

The process should not take more than three weeks, and if accepted, then a review and fresh hearing will take place.

Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth were just 15-years-old when they were strangled to death by Pitchfork. Credit: Police handout

Pitchfork was in his 20s at the time of the attacks.

He became the first man convicted of murder on the basis of DNA evidence and was jailed for life at Leicester Crown Court in 1988. He was sentenced to serve a minimum of 30 years.

After he was jailed, the Lord Chief Justice said: "From the point of view of the safety of the public I doubt if he should ever be released".

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.

Pitchfork was moved to an open prison three years ago and began to be allowed out on day release.