THE family of child killer Colin Pitchfork’s first victim have blasted the justice system for releasing him, and fear he’ll strike again.
Lynda Mann, 15, was raped and murdered in November 1983 by Pitchfork, who dumped her body near a footpath, in Narborough, Leicestershire.
? Read our Colin Pitchfork live blog for the very latest updates…
Colin Pitchfork can be released, the Parole Board ruled, after being convicted of the rape and murder of two schoolgirls in the 1980sCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
Lynda Mann was just 15 when she was raped and murdered in 1983Credit: BPM Media
Investigators combing the scene near where Lynda’s body was found in Narborough, Leics., in 1983Credit: Getty
Sex-obsessed Pitchfork went on to kill Dawn Ashworth, who was also 15, in July 1986, and left her in Ten Pound Lane, also in Narborough.
He was the first person in history to be convicted on DNA evidence and was jailed for life for a minimum of 30 years, later reduced on appeal to 28 years.
But the Parole Board has deemed he is no longer a danger to the public after being turned down for release on two previous occasions.
Lynda’s family today spoke out after the Parole Board found Pitchfork, 61, – who was jailed in January 1988 – is suitable for release.
KILLER TO BE RELEASED
Her sister, Rebecca Eastwood said: “I don’t have any confidence at all in the justice system if they are prepared to let someone like him out.
“It comes down to the justice system looking at someone who has done the things this man has done and thinking ‘he’s done his time, let’s give him a chance and let him out’.
“They can’t give a 100 per cent guarantee he will not offend. Even if it’s only a small chance that he will commit more crimes, it’s not a risk worth taking.”
A hearing in March considered whether Pitchfork was suitable for release and the decision was published two days ago.
Rebecca said: “They say he has made progress and admitted the attitudes he had towards woman then and that these have been addressed now.
Dawn Ashworth was killed in similar circumstances to Lynda less than three years later
Investigators at the scene where Dawn’s body was discovered in Enderby, Leics., in 1986Credit: Getty
Colin Pitchfork on the streets of Bristol after being let out from Leyhill Prison on day release in 2017
Pitchfork arriving at court in 1987 hiding under a jumperCredit: Getty
“I understand why he has been a ‘model citizen’ while he has been going through this process – he has no other choice and he wants to be released. He’s a very clever man.
“He will be on an electronic tag and will have to take a polygraph test and they say he will be placed in a totally different area.
“We are all quite widely spread out as a family, so there’s always a concern he could end up near one of us.
“Whether he’s being monitored by a tag or they are checking his phone or making him take polygraph tests, we say it’s still far too much of a risk.”
Whether he’s being monitored by a tag or they are checking his phone or making him take polygraph tests, we say it’s still far too much of a risk
Lynda’s sister, Rebecca Eastwood
Rebecca said the family intends to exercise its right to ask for the decision to be reconsidered.
An application must be made within 21days of today’s decision.
Lynda’s sister Sue Gratrick said the only sentence Pitchfork should have received is “a bullet to the head” and said the Parole Board’s decision was putting the family through hell.
She told The Sun last night: “He should not be getting out. But what more is there to say? They are going to let him out.
“They would not let a serial killer out but they are letting him out.”
Sue blazed: “What he wants is a bullet to the head. But that’s not going to happen so there is nothing we can do about it.”
Dawn’s uncle Philip Musson, 67, from Newark, Nottinghamshire, added: “We are totally opposed to the notion of killers – let alone child killers – having parole.
“A life sentence ought to mean life because a life is something that wasn’t afforded to Dawn as a result of the actions of this man.”
Pitchfork will have 35 conditions attached to his release – which include electronic tagging, lie detector tests and he must provide details of any vehicle he owns.
Colin Pitchfork was believed to have given a blood sample – but it turned out he’d got a friend to give one pretending to be himCredit: PA
Pitchfork was the first criminal to be brought to justice thanks to DNA technology pioneered by Dr Alec Jeffreys at the University of Leicester.
Almost 5,000 men living or working near the scenes of his crimes were required to give blood samples which were then tested against DNA samples taken from the girls.
Pitchfork attempted to evade capture by persuading a work colleague to take the test for him.
It was only when this colleague was overheard talking about the deception in a pub weeks later and the police alerted that Pitchfork was arrested.
Announcing the decision, a Parole Board spokesman said: “Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.
“Members read and digest hundreds of pages of evidence and reports in the lead up to an oral hearing.
“Evidence from witnesses including probation officers, psychiatrists and psychologists, officials supervising the offender in prison as well as victim personal statements are then given at the hearing.
“The prisoner and witnesses are then questioned at length during the hearing which often lasts a full day or more.”
The Parole Board said it was satisfied that Mr Pitchfork (pictured here on day release in 2017) was suitable for release
Dawn Ashworth’s funeral in 1986 at Enderby Parish Church, LeicestershireCredit: Mirrorpix