Colin Pitchfork: Double child killer’s parole hearing to be held in public in July

In December the Parole Board decided that Colin Pitchfork should not be released from prison. He asked for the decision to be reconsidered, so a public hearing will be held in July

Colin Pitchfork’s public parole hearing will take place in July(ENTERPRISE NEWS AND PICTURES)

Double child killer Colin Pitchfork’s next parole hearing will take place in public in July, the Parole Board has confirmed.

The 63-year-old was jailed for life for raping and strangling two 15-year-old girls, Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986. After being released and then recalled in 2021, Pitchfork was again granted parole in June, but this decision was challenged by ministers.

During a subsequent hearing in December, the Parole Board decided against releasing Pitchfork. But Pitchfork applied for the decision to be reconsidered, which was granted. The Parole Board granted an application for a public hearing in the case in the “interests of justice”, a decision published on Thursday said.

Lynda Mann was killed by Pitchfork in 1983(Collect)

The hearing is due to take place in July. Parole Board hearings typically are conducted behind closed doors, but can now, in certain circumstances, take place in public if requested, after changes in the law in a bid to remove the secrecy behind the process.

Caroline Corby, chairwoman of the Parole Board, said: “I have carefully considered Mr Pitchfork’s representations and I have concluded that the interests of justice outweigh the points raised on Mr Pitchfork’s behalf.” This follows Pitchfork’s request for the Parole Board’s previous decision to be reconsidered.

A Parole Board spokesman said in February: “The decision refusing Mr Pitchfork’s release was eligible for reconsideration under the Parole Board rules. This meant that the panel’s decision was provisional and that either Mr Pitchfork or the Secretary of State could make an application for reconsideration on the grounds that the decision not to release Mr Pitchfork had been irrational, procedurally unfair and/or there had been an error of law.

Pitchfork murdered Dawn Ashworth in 1986(Mirrorpix)

“Mr Pitchfork made an application for reconsideration in December 2023 and this was considered and granted by a reconsideration member of the Parole Board in February 2024. The reason the reconsideration application was granted was that the oral hearing panel in 2023 had a duty to take the Prison Offender Manager’s recommendation into account and to give adequate reasons for any disagreement with that recommendation.

“The reconsideration member concluded that the panel’s reasoned decision did not do so. The reconsideration member directed that Mr Pitchfork’s case must now be reheard by a fresh panel of three Parole Board members. This panel will complete its own review of Mr Pitchfork’s case, including hearing oral evidence and will decide whether he meets the legal test for release.

“The reconsideration member advised the new panel that the fact that this is a reconsideration should not in any way affect their decision. It is a complete re-hearing. Release can only be directed by the Parole Board if the new panel is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that Mr Pitchfork remain confined in prison.

“Mr Pitchfork has, and will continue to, remain in prison until this case has fully concluded.” This means Pitchfork will face another parole hearing in July to decide if he can freed from jail.


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