Tag Archives: Colin Pitchfork

Lynda Mann’s family fears that child killer Pitchfork will be released next month

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.

Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth
Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth

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.

Full Leicester Mercury item is viewable here

Local M.P. seeks assurances regarding Pitchfork release

Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth

During a debate in Parliament on Tuesday 23rd January, South Leicestershire M.P. Alberto Costa asked a Government minister for assurances that jailed double-killer Colin Pitchfork will only be released when he no longer poses a risk to the public.

Pitchfork raped and murdered schoolgirls Lynda Mann, Narborough in 1983 and Dawn Ashworth, Enderby, in 1986. Both girls were 15yrs of age.

The M.P., who was speaking in the House of Commons during a discussion of the case of John Worboys, the London cab driver who carried out a series of sexual assaults on female passengers, asked Justice Secretary David Gauke what steps he had taken to ensure the Parole Board fully takes account of public safety prior to releasing a prisoner.

The Parole Board recommended that Pitchfork, who was jailed in 1988, should move to an open prison in 2016 and cleared him for unsupervised visits in 2017.

Speaking to the Leicester Mercury 1 following the debate, Mr. Costa said his role was to ensure that decision makers are “properly scrutinised”.

Replying, the Secretary of State said the safety of the public must be the overriding objective in the mind of the Parole Board when it is considering whether to release a prisoner.

The South Leicestershire M.P., whose constituency covers Enderby and Narborough went on to tell the Mercury:

Alberto Costa M.P.
Alberto Costa M.P.

“That’s the assurance I have been given and, in the weeks and months ahead I will be pressing for as much information I can get about the reasons for his release – if he is released – and what safeguards have been put in place to prevent him ever offending again.

“We don’t know to what extent he has admitted his guilt or shown any remorse for his crimes.”

Mr Costa has previously told the Mercury that consideration should be given to overturning the existing rules which prevent the disclosure of Parole Board decisions.

Mr Costa said:

“The only way we can have that assurance is if the most important parts of the submissions to the Probation Board by or on behalf of Mr Pitchfork and which persuaded it to release him are made available.”

Safety of public is overriding concern

Secretary of State for Justice Mr David Gauke told Mr Costa:

David Gauke M.P.
David Gauke M.P.

“The safety of the public is the Parole Board’s overriding concern in considering whether a prisoner should be released.

“That will be the board’s concern when it comes to reviewing Pitchfork’s detention.

“I can confirm that the families of Pitchfork’s victims are receiving regular contacts under the probation victim contact service – specifically they have been given the opportunity to submit a victim personal statement to the Parole Board and to make representations regarding licence conditions for any upcoming parole hearing.”

Prof. Nick Hardwick
Prof. Nick Hardwick

Parole Board chairman Professor Nick Hardwick has indicated the body could take steps toward greater transparency and Lynda Mann’s sister, Rebecca Eastwood, who lives in Liverpool, backed Mr Costa’s call for key aspects Pitchfork’s “assessment” to be made public.

In 2015 Dawn Ashworth’s mother, Barbara, supported a petition calling for Pitchfork to not be released. Along with the Eastwood family, who raised the petition, she believed Pitchfork should remain in prison for the rest of his life.

1 The Leicester Mercury (This story)