Colin Pitchfork: Minister considers intervening over decision to release child killer

Double murderer’s release was approved by parole board earlier in June

Catherine Wylie,Sam Blewett
Monday 21 June 2021 01:13
<p>Colin Pitchfork was jailed for life after strangling 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986</p>

Colin Pitchfork was jailed for life after strangling 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986

The Justice Secretary is considering intervening over the decision to approve the release of child killer Colin Pitchfork.

The double murderer was jailed for life after strangling 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986.

Pitchfork, then in his 20s, became the first man convicted of murder on the basis of DNA evidence and was jailed for life at Leicester Crown Court in 1988, sentenced to serve a minimum of 30 years.

A hearing took place in March to consider whether he was suitable for release and the decision to greenlight his parole was published earlier this month.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told Sky’s Trevor Phillips On Sunday: “The decision was made by the Parole Board in early June, I have 21 days to consider whether or not I ask them for a formal reconsideration.

“I’m working my way through that very carefully, I’m taking advice on the matter and I’ll make an announcement within that 21-day period as soon as possible.”

He told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One: “(I’ve) got to put emotions aside, but I am a human being like everybody else, and that case was horrendous.”

Mr Buckland said that regardless of the decision in the Pitchfork case, he intends to “go further with a root and branch review” of the Parole Board.

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.

Press Association