Colin Pitchfork: Child killer Colin Pitchfork to be released from prison - Who is Colin Pitchfork? How old is he now?

The Parole Board announced today (July 13) that they have denied the UK Government’s appeal against double child murderer Colin Pitchfork’s release from prison on parole.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 12:27 pm
Colin Pitchfork released from prison after Government challenge denied: Who is Colin Pitchfork? How old is he now? (Picture: Handout/PA Wire)
Colin Pitchfork released from prison after Government challenge denied: Who is Colin Pitchfork? How old is he now? (Picture: Handout/PA Wire)

Colin Pitchfork was jailed for life in 1988 after murdering and raping two schoolgirls in Leicestershire but will now be freed from prison, according to Tuesday’s decision by the Parole Board.

The confirmation of Mr Pitchfork’s release on parole after serving just 34 years of his life sentence comes after UK Justice Secretary Robert Buckland QC asked the Parole Board to reconsider the decision.

On Tuesday the Parole Board announced the UK Government’s application had been "refused".

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A spokesman said in a statement: "The Parole Board has immense sympathy for the families of Dawn Ashworth and Lynda Mann and recognises the pain and anguish they have endured and continue to endure through the parole process.

"However, Parole Board panels are bound by law to assess whether a prisoner is safe to release.

"It has no power to alter the original sentence set down by the courts.”

They added: "Legislation dictates that a panel's decision must be solely focused on what risk a prisoner may pose on release and whether that risk can be managed in the community.

"As made clear in the reconsideration decision, release was supported by all of the Secretary of State's witnesses during Mr Pitchfork's review."

Mr Pitchfork was the first person in the world to be convicted of murder by DNA fingerprint evidence after the rape and murder of 15-year-old Lynda Mann in 1983 and Dawn Ashworth in 1986 led to a huge manhunt by Leicestershire Police.

The decision cames after multiple parole reviews were submitted by Mr Pitchfork in 2016, 2017 and 2018 - when Mr Pitchfork’s request for early release on parole was denied.

The UK Government tried to intervene in the planned release of the child murderer release following a public outcry.

Appearing on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday June 20, Mr Buckland told Nick Robinson that he would be seeking a “far-reaching” root and branch review of the Parole Board.

While acknowledging that his job demanded objectivity, Mr Buckland said he felt the case was “horrendous” and was considering using his power as Justice Secretary to appeal the Parole Board’s decision within 21 days of declaration.

“I’ve got to put emotions aside, but I am a human being like everybody else and that case was horrendous,” he said.

Who is Colin Pitchfork and how old is he now?

Colin Pitchfork was born in 1960 in Newbold Verdon in Leicestershire (he’s now aged 61), where he attended nearby schools in Desford and Market Bosworth to later become a baker working in Narborough.

In 1981 he married a social worker and moved to the Leicestershire village of Littlethorpe.

It was later revealed that prior to his marriage, Mr Pitchfork had been convicted for indecent exposure and was referred to a Narborough hospital for treatment.

What were Colin Pitchfork’s crimes?

Mr Pitchfork’s first crime of rape and murder was perpetrated against 15-year-old Lynda Mann who lived in Narborough where Mr Pitchfork worked.

Ms Mann had taken a shortcut while walking home from babysitting on the night of November 21 and raised the concern of her parents and neighbours when she did not return.

The next morning Ms Mann was found on a footpath, having been raped and strangled.

On July 31 1986, 15-year-old schoolgirl Dawn Ashworth went missing in Enderby after travelling to a friend’s house.

When she did not return home that evening, her parents reported her missing - with Police discovering her body two days later in a wooden area at nearby Ten Pound Lane.

With close resemblance of Ms Ashworth’s murder to Ms Mann, Leicestershire Police also detected the same blood type in semen samples collected from both murder scenes.

How was Colin Pitchfork convicted?

A large-scale manhunt took place in Leicestershire to track down the killer of the two schoolgirls, with Leicestershire Constabulary teaming up with the Forensic Science Service (FSS) to locate the rapist and killer.

Almost 6,000 local men were asked to provide blood or saliva samples over a six month period, but no matches with the forensic evidence collected at the two schoolgirls’ murders were found.

In 1985, genetics researcher at the University of Leicester Alec Jeffries helped to develop and pioneer DNA profiling - which became instrumental in eventually locating Colin Pitchfork.

It was later revealed that one of Mr Pitchfork’s bakery colleagues, Ian Kelly, had masqueraded as Mr Pitchfork when providing a blood sample.

Mr Pitchfork was arrested by Leicestershire Constabulary on August 1 1987 and charged in 1988 at Leicester Crown Court with the two counts of rape and murder.

Additional reporting by PA Home Affairs Correspondent Flora Thompson

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