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Double murderer Colin Pitchfork recommended for move to open prison

A killer who became the first man convicted of murder on the basis of DNA evidence should be moved to an open prison - but not released, the Parole Board has concluded.

Colin Pitchfork was jailed for life after killing two schoolgirls in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986.

Pitchfork was handed a 30-year minimum term when sentenced at Leicester Crown Court in 1988, after pleading guilty to two offences of murder, two of rape, two of indecent assault and one of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The minimum term was cut by two years in 2009.

It emerged last week that the case had been referred to the Parole Board to review his suitability for release.

A spokeswoman for the Parole Board said on Friday: " We can confirm that a three-member panel of the Parole Board has not directed the release of Colin Pitchfork but has recommended to the Ministry of Justice that he is suitable for a move to open conditions.

"It is up to the Ministry of Justice whether or not to accept this recommendation. We are unable to comment further on the details of this case."

Pitchfork's first victim was 15-year-old Lynda Mann, of Narborough, who was murdered in 1983. Dawn Ashworth, also 15, from Enderby, was killed in 1986. Both girls were raped and strangled.

After the world's first mass screening for DNA - where 5,000 men in three villages were asked to volunteer blood or saliva samples - he was eventually caught.

The lord chief justice at the time said after he was jailed that "from the point of view of the safety of the public I doubt if he should ever be released".

Speaking at the time Pitchfork's minimum term was reduced from 30 years to 28, Lord Judge said Pitchfork's progress since he was first incarcerated "goes far beyond general good behaviour and positive response to his custodial sentence, but reflects very creditable assistance to disabled individuals outside the prison system".

A petition saying Pitchfork should never be released was backed by nearly 20,000 people.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: "The Parole Board has decided not to release this offender.

"It has recommended a move to open conditions and we seek to respond to Parole Board recommendations within 28 days."


From Belfast Telegraph