Local media is reporting that double child killer, Colin Pitchfork, will be permanently released from prison following a parole hearing next month, the family of his first victim fears.
A report in the Leicester Mercury says that Pitchfork, who was jailed in 1988 for raping and murdering 15yr old Leicestershire schoolgirls Lynda Mann from Narborough and Dawn Ashworth from Enderby, in 1983 and 1986, will go before a behind-closed-doors parole board scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 24.
The board will assess whether it would be safe to release the 56-year-old.
Its ruling will be made public, but no details of the grounds for its decision will be released. Also, it will consider written statements from the families.
Lynda’s sister, Rebecca Eastwood, said her family believes the killer will be cleared for full release as he has made an unknown number of unescorted trips out of custody, including one in Bristol city centre, in the past few months.
This week, the family – who have collected approximately 40,000 signatures on petitions against his release – learned for the first time he has been allowed out overnight on his own.
Rebecca said: “He was allowed out in Bristol city centre without any kind of escort late last year and, we were told this week, he’s been out overnight on his own as well since then.
“So, by the look of it, they have already made their minds up about him.
“I think the decision is pretty much made and he is going to be released after the parole hearing at the end of May.
“We’re told the hearing is on May 24 and then it could be anything up to two weeks before a decision is made.
“We really do think we’ve reached the point where he will be freed.
“As far as we know, he’s going to have a new identity, a new start in life.
“We are still living with the loss and the consequences of what he did to Lynda and Dawn and still believe it is not safe to release this man.”
Last summer, the Ministry of Justice told the girls’ families that Pitchfork had been allowed to leave custody under the close supervision of Prison Service personnel.
A short time later, the ministry notified them that he was deemed ready for unescorted days out.
Pitchfork raped and murdered Lynda in November 1983, leaving her body near the Black Pad footpath, in Narborough.