Double child killer and rapist Colin Pitchfork’s fresh bid for freedom will be heard by parole Board in September

  • Murderer Colin Pitchfork, 61, will make fresh bid for freedom this September 
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs that Justice Secretary Dominic Raab will submit his views on the case before Parole Board hearing set for later this year 
  • Mr Johnson’s comments come after concerns were raised by MP Alberto Costa 
  • Pitchfork was jailed for life in 1988 for the rape and murder of 15-year-old girls

Double child killer Colin Pitchfork is set to make a fresh bid to be released later this year, MPs have been told.  

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said Justice Secretary Dominic Raab will submit his views on the case of the 61-year-old convicted rapist and murderer before the Parole Board hearing in September.

Mr Johnson comments came after concerns were raised at Prime Minister’s Questions by South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa, who has campaigned against Pitchfork’s release. 

Colin Pitchfork, now aged 61, could be set to make a fresh bid for freedom this September 

Colin Pitchfork (pictured) was jailed for at least 30 years in 1987 after being found guilty of raping and strangling two 15-year-old girls in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986

Pitchfork was jailed for at least 30 years in 1987 after he was found guilty of raping and strangling 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986.  

He was the first person convicted of murder on DNA evidence. 

After becoming eligible for parole he was freed in September last year despite concerns from experts about the killer’s ‘capacity to manipulate and deceive’ and his failure to show remorse for the murders. 

Under the cover of darkness, the sexual predator was taken to a hostel in the south of England. 

It was revealed he had been placed near three schools and two nurseries, with pictures showing him prowling the streets as a free man. 

Just two months later he was back behind bars after probation staff raised concerns about his behaviour. 

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Costa said: ‘The convicted double child rapist and murderer Colin Pitchfork was granted parole last year by the independent Parole Board in the face of enormous opposition from whistleblowers and my South Leicestershire constituents.

‘Only two months after he was released he was recalled to prison for having breached his licence conditions. He has another Parole Board hearing scheduled for September.


Pitchfork was jailed for at least 30 years in 1987 after he was found guilty of raping and strangling 15-year-olds Lynda Mann (left) and Dawn Ashworth (right)

‘Prime Minister, you and I have communicated about this matter on numerous occasions and you’ve assured me that you would do everything in your power to deal with this situation.

‘Can you confirm before you leave office that your Government will make all the necessary submissions that it can make lawfully to the independent Parole Board to make sure that this dangerous man is kept behind bars?’

In his response, Mr Johnson said: ‘I can tell the House that the Deputy Prime Minister (Dominic Raab) will be submitting his views on the Pitchfork case to the Parole Board before his hearing.

‘There’s also a root-and-branch review of the parole system currently under way, which includes plans for greater ministerial oversight for the most serious offenders and we’ll be bringing that forward as soon as parliamentary time allows.’

How a revolutionary DNA trial helped to snare child killer Colin Pitchfork

DNA evidence – then in its early use in criminal cases – played a key role in solving the murders of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth.

It was first used in the investigation following the death of Pitchfork’s first victim – Lynda Mann.

Then 15, Lynda was grabbed, raped and murdered as she walked home from babysitting earlier that day.

DNA was used at the start of the investigation, when a sample of semen taken from her body was found to be from a person with type-A blood.

It also matched an enzyme profile of just 10 per cent of males.

Volunteers taking tests in 1987 to help police find the murderer of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth

But with few leads and no direct suspects, police left the case open.

In 1986, a second 15-year-old girl, Dawn Ashworth, left her home to visit a friend’s house.

When she did not return, a search was launched and, like Lynda, her body was found having been raped.

Police again found similar DNA, and with the murder having been carried out in a similar way, detectives realised they were looking for a double murderer.

Officers had another suspect in mind at the time, Richard Buckland – a 17-year-old with learning difficulties who had confessed to the second murder and had knowledge of the first. He would later be exonerated.

But it wasn’t until Sir Alec Jeffreys, a genetics researcher at nearby Leicester University, became involved that his innocence was proved. 

Sir Alec first developed genetic profiling along with Peter Gill and Dave Werrett.

And he used it to compare DNA samples found on both bodies.

It proved the killer was the same person – but not Buckland.

Later, police launched a DNA drive and up to 5,000 men in three villages were asked to volunteer blood or saliva samples.

However, no matches were found.

But in 1987 a bakery colleague of Pitchfork was overheard boasting how he was set to receive £200 to pose as Pitchfork and give a sample.

The conversation was reported to the police and Pitchfork was later arrested. 

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