Killer Colin Pitchfork to be released from prison after challenge fails

The child killer and rapist Colin Pitchfork is to be freed from prison after the Parole Board rejected calls from the government to reconsider the controversial decision.

今 61, the double murderer was jailed in 1988 after raping and strangling 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 そして 1986.

Pitchfork became the first man convicted of murder on the basis of DNA evidence in 1988 after admitting two murders, two rapes, two indecent assaults and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

In early June the Parole Board ruled that Pitchfork could be released on licence, saying his behaviour in custody had been “positive and had included extensive efforts to help others”.

先月, the justice secretary, Robert Buckland, formally asked the Parole Board to reconsider the move on the grounds that there was an arguable case that the decision was “irrational”.

But on Tuesday the Parole Board confirmed it had rejected the reconsideration request and Pitchfork’s release would proceed.

A spokesperson 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.

"しかしながら, 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. 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.”

The threshold for a Parole Board decision to be reconsidered is the same as that required for a judicial review: that the decision was irrational or the process by which the decision was reached was flawed.

Under the conditions of his release, Pitchfork would have to live at a designated address, wear an electronic tag, complete lie detector tests and disclose what vehicles he uses and to whom he speaks, with particular limits on contact with children.

The families of the victims have criticised the board’s decision. “There are some crimes so horrendous that a reprieve is not appropriate. It is an affront to natural justice,” Dawn’s uncle, Philip Musson, previously said. “He took their lives in a way which is an absolute torment to those who cared and loved these girls.”

Pitchfork was caught after the world’s first mass screening for DNA, いつ 5,000 men in three villages were asked to volunteer blood or saliva samples, although he initially evaded justice by getting a colleague to take the test for him.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of murder, two of rape, two of indecent assault and one of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The lord chief justice at the time, Lord Lane, 前記: “From the point of view of the safety of the public, I doubt if he should ever be released.”

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