Advertisements

Double child killer free to make unsupervised day trips from prison

Double child killer Colin Pitchfork is to be allowed out unsupervised and alone from prison.

Pitchfork, who raped and murdered schoolgirls Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in 1983 and 1986, will be able to take unattended day trips in the “near future”.

The decision has been confirmed to the girls’ families in a letter from the Ministry of Justice.

Lynda’s sister, Rebecca Eastwood, who lives in Liverpool, said she and her family were horrified by the news.

Pitchfork raped and murdered Lynda, 15, in Leicestershire in 1983.

Three years later, he murdered Dawn Ashworth, also 15, in a similarly brutal fashion.

He was jailed in 1988 following a huge police manhunt and received a 30-year minimum term, which was cut to 28 years in 2009.

Speaking to the Leicester Mercury , Rebecca said: “When he is out on his own he will be able to speak to people and they will have no idea who he is and what he has done.

“We don’t know what he looks like now or even what part of the country he is in.

“He’s still in his 50s. He still has a lot of time ahead of him and we still think he is a danger to the public.”

In June this year, the girls’ families were told Pitchfork had been allowed out of prison under escort.

However, they have now been told that he has been cleared to progress to the next stage – leaving custody on his own.

Lynda Mann, murdered by Colin Pitchfork

Temporary day release is part of the process of assessing whether a long term prisoner is ready for eventual full-time release.

Rebecca said the family was unwavering in their belief that Pitchfork – who is not yet 60 – remains a potential danger to the public.

The exact circumstances of any day release, including the dates and locations, have not been made available to the families.

They do not even know in which prison he is being held.

However, Pitchfork is not allowed anywhere in Leicestershire or to knowingly approach any of the girls’ relatives.

Rebecca added: “It’s only a couple of months since we were told that he was being allowed out under the escort of a guard.

“The news he is to be allowed out without an escort has come as a real shock to us. It all seems to be moving so quickly.

“If it carries on like this, it’s only going to be a matter of months before he’s allowed out on his own for weeks at a time.”

Pitchfork was deemed suitable to be moved to an open prison last year following an assessment by probation officers and other specialists.

He is said to have made exceptional progress and is reportedly a model prisoner.

However, more than 20,000 people have signed an online petition, set up by Lynda’s family, to call for his release to be blocked.

A further 7,000 signed a paper version.

The letter to the families states: “The offender is now progressing through the process and is reaching the next significant stage, which will be unescorted day release.

“This has been approved and the series of unescorted releases on temporary licence will be happening in the near future.

“There will be a robust risk management plan in place.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said in June: “All offenders must meet strict criteria and pass a full risk assessment before being considered for release on temporary licence (ROTL).

“ROTL is considered for offenders towards the end of their sentence, taking into account their individual resettlement needs. It helps build and maintain family ties, which is proven to help re-offending.

“Those who fail to comply with the conditions of a ROTL can be returned to closed prisons where they may have to serve additional time.”

Pitchfork was the first person in the world to be convicted on the basis of DNA evidence.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply