First-ever killer convicted via DNA to be released in UK

The Parole Board said the 61-year-old was no longer a danger to the public after being turned down for release on two previous occasions.

Samples of blood collected for testing
A double child killer who was the first murderer ever to be convicted using DNA evidence can be released, the United Kingdom Parole Board has confirmed. File photo: Cottonbro from Pexels

PRETORIA, June 7 (ANA) – A double child killer who was the first murderer ever to be convicted using DNA evidence can be released, the BBC quoted the United Kingdom Parole Board as saying on Monday.

The British broadcaster reported that Colin Pitchfork, 61, was jailed for life for raping and murdering two 15-year-olds, Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, in Leicestershire in the 1980s.

The Parole Board said it was satisfied that Pitchfork was suitable for release, which is subject to conditions, the BBC wrote.

“We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board has directed the release of Colin Pitchfork following an oral hearing.

“Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority,’’ a Parole Board spokesperson was quoted as saying.

The decision is provisional for 21 days, he added.

The Independent UK reported that 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.

Although he was denied parole in 2016 and in 2018, Pitchfork was moved to an open prison three years ago, the British online newspaper wrote.

The Sun UK said Pitchfork has ditched his notorious name and now calls himself David Thorpe.

He raped and strangled Lynda Mann in November 1983. Three years later, Pitchfork, who worked as a baker, struck again, raping and killing Dawn Ashworth in almost identical circumstances, the British tabloid newspaper said in its report.

It said South Leicestershire Member of Parliament Alberto Costa announced he would write to the Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland, to ensure both he and the Parole Board were aware of local concerns about the case.

“Colin Pitchfork’s heinous crimes quite understandably live long in the memory of many of my constituents and his case is still of considerable concern to residents in South Leicestershire.

“The safety and well-being of my constituents is, of course, paramount importance, so I want to ensure that the Parole Board are fully aware of Pitchfork’s crimes and his character before any decisions are made,’’ Costa was quoted as saying.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher

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