Ministry of Justice to challenge decision to release double child killer

Ministry of Justice to challenge decision to release double child killer
Killer was first man convicted of murder on basis of DNA evidence in 1988

The Ministry of Justice has said it will challenge a decision to allow the release of Colin Pitchfork, who raped and murdered two schoolgirls in the 1980s.

Pitchfork was jailed for life after strangling 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986, but was ruled “suitable for release” following a Parole Board hearing in March.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the MoJ said: “Our heartfelt sympathies remain with the families of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth.

“After a careful review, the Lord Chancellor will ask the Parole Board to reconsider its decision.”

Pitchfork, who was in his 20s at the time of the attacks, became the first man convicted of murder on the basis of DNA evidence and was jailed for life at Leicester Crown Court in 1988.

He was sentenced to serve a minimum of 30 years.

Pitchfork pleaded guilty to two offences of murder, two of rape, two of indecent assault and one of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

His minimum term was cut by two years in 2009.

Artist’s file impression of Colin Pitchfork, 48, appealing the length of his sentence at the Court of Appeal in London on 20 June 2021

The families of Pitchfork’s two victims expressed their horror at the Parole Board decision earlier this month.

Dawn’s uncle Philip Musson told the BBC the family had always lived in “fear” of the decision – but that they were still “in a sort of shock”.

While her mother Barbara Ashworth said she believed he would “always be a danger”.

Lynda’s sister Sue Gratrick, 55, said she did not believe Pitchfork could ever be rehabilitated.

Additional reporting by Press Association