Double child killer and rapist Colin Pitchfork will not be released from prison

Pitchfork was jailed for life for raping and murdering Leicestershire schoolgirls, Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, who were both 15, in 1983 and 1986. Credit: ITV News Central

Double child murderer and rapist, Colin Pitchfork, will not be released from prison.

A decision made in June this year could have lead to his release - but the Parole Board has ruled that he will stay behind bars following an appeal from politicians, including local MP Alberto Costa.

Pitchfork was jailed for life for raping and murdering Leicestershire schoolgirls, Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, who were both 15, in 1983 and 1986.

He was the first murderer to be convicted using DNA evidence and was jailed for a minimum of 30 years in 1988. This was later reduced to 28 years for good behaviour.

Pitchfork, 63, was released in 2021 but returned to prison after approaching "several" young women while out on walks.

Although no offences were committed or reported, the approaches were a breach of the licence conditions given to him on his initial release from prison in September of that year.

The conditions were the strictest to have ever been issued and therefore he was under much closer supervision than other offenders.

In June 2023, the Parole Board again decided to release him but this decision was challenged by the government's justice secretary.

Dawn Ashworth and Lynda Mann, who were both 15, were raped and strangled by Pitchfork in 1983 and 1986. Credit: Leicestershire Police

Concerns over the June decision led to Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, making what is known as an "application for reconsideration" on 5 July.

Later that month the Parole Board announced it had granted the request after finding the decision had been "irrational."

Alberto Costa, the MP for South Leicestershire, had appealed to Justice Secretary earlier this year to apply for the for the Parole Board to reconsider its decision to release Pitchfork.

Mr Costa said: "I am pleased with the Parole Board's new decision and I am grateful to Alex Chalk MP, Justice Secretary, for listening to me and the people of South Leicestershire and applying to have this case reconsidered.

"This is welcome news for my constituents and the families of Dawn and Lynda whosesuffering will ultimately always outweigh Pitchfork’s punishment. "Since I was first elected in 2015, I have been working with my team to see that Pitchfork remains in prison because I have no interest in gambling on the safety of women and girls in South Leicestershire so a convicted murderer and rapist can live in the community. "A man capable of committing such horrific crimes, now only in his early 60s, has no place in the community where he remains a clear risk and I will continue to make that case.

"Under today’s laws Colin Pitchfork’s crimes would likely see him spend his entire natural life in prison and today’s decision is another step closer to that reality."

A statement from the Parole Board stated that they had refused Pitchfork's released after a hearing - and also refused to recommend a move to an open prison.

They added that their decisions "are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community."

Their decision is based on "a huge range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as explore the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims."

The statement added that Pitchfork will be eligible for another review "in due course" with the date of the next review yet to be decided.

Who is Colin Pitchfork?

Double child murderer Colin Pitchfork was sentenced to 30 years behind bars for raping and killing two 15-year-old girls in the 1980s.

Pitchfork, now 63, was the first person in the world to be arrested and convicted using DNA evidence.

He was jailed for life in 1988 for raping and murdering Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, both 15, in Leicestershire.

He grew up in Newbold Verdon, Leicestershire, before marrying a social worker and moving to Littlethorpe.

Pitchfork worked as an apprentice baker, and continued his job at Hampshires Bakery until his arrest for the murders.

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