COLIN Pitchfork is a notorious double murderer – sentenced to 30 years in 1988 for raping and killing two 15-year-old girls in Leicestershire.
But, during July 2021, it was confirmed that he would be released from prison and may even get a new identity. Here we explain the key details.
Why is Colin Pitchfork being released from prison?
Colin Pitchfork is being released from prison after the parole board deemed that the double murderer was no longer a threat to the public. .
Pitchfork, now 61, was the first person in the world to be arrested and convicted using DNA evidence – later pleading guilty to raping and murdering Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, both 15, in Leicestershire.
His was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 30 years in 1988, but this was reduced on appeal to 28 years in 2009.
In 2018, two years after his sentence concluded, Pitchfork was denied parole and was told he will be eligible for further review within two years.
Despite pleas from the victim’s family that he should never be released, a hearing took place in March 2021 to consider whether he was suitable for release.
And on June 7, 2021, the decision from the Parole Board ruling Pitchfork was suitable for release, was published.
The decision was ratified on July 13, 2021.
Will Colin Pitchfork receive a new identity when he is released?
During his time in prison, Pitchfork changed his name to Thorpe as he assumes a modified if not new identity.
The killer will have 35 conditions attached to his release including electronic tagging, lie detector tests and he must provide details of any vehicle he owns.
He must not visit the area where his crimes were committed, but will be unsupervised from now on.
A document detailing the Parole Board decision said: "After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the evidence presented at the hearing, the panel was satisfied that Mr Pitchfork was suitable for release."
Which prison is Colin Pitchfork in now?
Colin Pitchfork is believed to be redising at HMP Leyhill, an open prison in Gloucestershire.
By all accounts, he has been described by staff there as a "model" prisoner, earning unsupervised days out for his good behaviour.
In 2017, The Sun reported how Pitchfork was allowed out to roam Bristol city centre alone for six hours.
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson confirmed that he was being allowed “night settlement.”
The alleged purpose of the un-monitored days out of the Gloucester prison was so the convict could look for a future job and home.
What did the Parole Board say about its decision?
Following the decision to release Pitchfork a Parole Board spokesman said in a statement: "The Parole Board has immense sympathy for the families of Dawn Ashworth and Lynda Mann and recognises the pain and anguish they have endured and continue to endure through the parole process.
"However, Parole Board panels are bound by law to assess whether a prisoner is safe to release. It has no power to alter the original sentence set down by the courts. Legislation dictates that a panel's decision must be solely focused on what risk a prisoner may pose on release and whether that risk can be managed in the community.
"As made clear in the reconsideration decision, release was supported by all of the Secretary of State's witnesses during Mr Pitchfork's review."
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