South Leicestershire MP, Alberto Costa, has asked the Minister for Crime & Policing for assurances that information relating to the convicted child-killer Colin Pitchfork was not among the police data lost following the accidental deletion of 400,000 records last week.
Speaking in the Ministerial Statement on the update on the Police National Computer data loss in the House of Commons today (18th January), Mr Costa asked Policing Minister Kit Malthouse MP to confirm that records relating to Colin Pitchfork were not included in those lost and asked for the Minister’s reassurances on public safety should Pitchfork be released following his next Parole hearing.
Pitchfork, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1988 for the rape and murder of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in 1983 and 1986 respectively, was the first person to be convicted using DNA fingerprinting, pioneered by Sir Alec Jeffreys at the University of Leicester.
Pitchfork’s case was most recently refused by the Parole Board in 2018 and since then he has been staying in an open prison. His latest parole hearing was due to take place in November last year but was then postponed, it has since been rescheduled for March later this year.
Mr Costa said, “I was pleased to receive assurances from the Policing Minister that Pitchfork’s files were unlikely to be included in those police records accidentally deleted last week.
“The majority of the records in question relate to those who were arrested and then subsequently released, so it would appear unlikely that anything pertaining to Pitchfork would be included here, but I am grateful that the Minister will be writing to me to confirm this accordingly”.
Mr Costa added, “Pitchfork was due for his latest parole hearing in November last year, though this was rescheduled at the very last moment and is currently slated for March this year. With the safety of my constituents at the forefront of my mind, and a desire to ensure that the Parole Board have all the necessary information needed to make their judgement in this case, it was important to ensure that none of this information was included in the human error that accidentally erased police records last week.
“I will of course continue pressing Pitchfork’s case at every opportunity between now and March in order to ensure that the safety of my constituents and others remains the paramount concern in relation to the decision for his parole”.