Colin Pitchfork: Double child rapist and murderer to face fresh parole hearing for early release
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Double child rapist and murderer Colin Pitchfork will face a fresh parole hearing after successfully challenging a decision to keep him behind bars. Now in his early 60s, Pitchfork was jailed for life after raping and strangling 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986 respectively with a minimum term of 30 years in 1988, later reduced to 28 years.
On Monday (February 12), the Parole Board said Pitchfork applied for the decision to be reconsidered, and this has been granted. This means, he is due to face another parole hearing with a different panel of board members to decide if he can be freed from jail.
In a statement, the Parole Board said: “The decision refusing Mr Pitchfork’s release was eligible for reconsideration under the Parole Board Rules. This meant that the panel’s decision was provisional and that either Mr Pitchfork or the Secretary of State could make an application for reconsideration on the grounds that the decision not to release Mr Pitchfork had been irrational, procedurally unfair and/or there had been an error of law.
“Mr Pitchfork made an application for reconsideration in December 2023 and this was considered and granted by a reconsideration member of the Parole Board in February 2024.”
Pitchfork’s challenge was successful because the parole panel “had a duty to take the prison offender manager’s recommendation into account and to give adequate reasons for any disagreement with that recommendation” but the review concluded this had not happened.
The “complete re-hearing” will take place in due course, the Parole Board said. It added: “Release can only be directed by the Parole Board if the new panel is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that Mr Pitchfork remains confined in prison. Mr Pitchfork has, and will continue to, remain in prison until this case has fully concluded.”
Colin Pitchfork, 22 at the time of the first murder, was married with two sons and lived in Littlethorpe - the BBC reports. While his baby son was sleeping in the back of his car – he killed Lynda Mann in Narborough before driving home and putting his son in bed.
Less than a mile from where Lynda died, he raped and murdered Dawn Ashworth, of Enderby, three years on. Barbara Ashworth told the PA news agency in 2021 the decision to allow her daughter’s killer to be released was “disappointing” but “he can’t hurt me any more”.
She said then: “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.”