Colin Pitchfork release is ‘very big risk’ to children says victim’s uncle

Pitchfork’s release ‘shows total disregard for the value of the lives of Lynda Mann and my niece’, says victim’s uncle

Holly Bancroft
Wednesday 01 September 2021 19:34 BST

The uncle of one of the girls killed by rapist Colin Pitchfork has said his release is a “very big risk” to children.

Pitchfork, who was released from prison on Wednesday, was jailed in 1988 for raping and murdering 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire.

Dawn’s uncle, Philip Musson, told ITV News that Pitchfork’s crimes deserved a “life-tariff”.

He added that Pitchfork’s release “shows total disregard for the value of the lives of Lynda Mann and my niece”.

The Parole Board concluded in June that it would be safe to release Pitchfork from prison. The MoJ said the 61-year-old would remain under supervisions for the rest of his life.

At the time, the decision was attacked by several MPs and the victims’ family members but a subsequent judge-led review rejected the application to halt his release.

Pitchfork, the first murderer ever to be convicted using DNA evidence, raped and strangled Lynda Mann in Narborough in November 1993 and killed Dawn Ashworth three years later.

His 30-year minimum term was cut by two years in 2009 and he was moved to an open prison HMP Leyhill in Gloucestershire three years ago.

Uncle of Pitchfork’s victim Dawn, Philip Musson, speaking about his release, said: “It’s an eventuality we as a family were dreading.

“I take the view that there are some crimes, fortunately not very many, but some crimes that are so notorious - as this was - and (that) so traumatised the community at the time, and some crimes that are just not ‘parole-able’ that really do deserve a life-tariff.

“And the murder and rape of children is one such crime.”

Dawn’s mother, Barbara Ashworth, has said previously that Pitchfork should be kept behind bars for life.

“I don’t think he should be breathing the same air as us,” she said.

She described the decision to allow Pitchfork to be released as “disappointing” but added that “he can’t hurt me any more.”

She said: “I’ve had 33 years of it and it’s all been said and as far as I’m concerned he’s going to be out in amongst the public, so it speaks for itself.”

Mr Musson added that he “derives no pleasure from his incarceration” but said: “His release, as far as I’m concerned, shows total disregard for the value of the lives of Lynda Mann and my niece.

“And also I think it’s taking a very big risk with the children and the families of the community where he’s to be relocated because it’s an experiment as to whether or not he’s safe to be a member of the public again.

“Risk assessments is not an exact science and there are many examples where people have got it wrong in the past.”

He added: “The authorities that have upheld this decision to release him are subjecting those children in the community where he is to be released to an experiment as to whether or not he’s safe to be.

“I only hope they’ve got it right.”

South Leicestershire Conservative MP Alberto Costa said he was “extremely saddened and deeply disappointed” that the child murderer had been released from jail. He warned: “In my view, Pitchfork still presents a very real danger to the public.”

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