Child killer Colin Pitchfork recalled to prison two months after release

Image: ministry of justice

Double child killer Colin Pitchfork has been recalled to prison after an arrest just two months after he was released. The Ministry of Justice has confirmed the report.  

It is understood to be a breach of his licence conditions that has brought him back into custody on Friday 19 November and now his re-release will become a matter for the parole board. Pitchfork is now in his early 60’s and was initially jailed for life after raping and strangling 15-year-olds Lunda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986.

The 30-year minimum sentence he originally received was cut by two years in 2009 and then he was moved to open prison HMP Leyhill in Gloucestershire three years ago, then released in September. The recall is understood to be due to ‘concerning behaviours spotted by his probation staff, rather than any further offences. The step is a preventative measure.

A Probation Service spokesperson said: “Protecting the public is our number one priority so when offenders breach the conditions of their release and potentially pose an increased risk, we don’t hesitate to return them to custody.”

Pitchfork was under the strictest licence conditions “ever set” with more than 40 different components. These were put in place after the large public outcry when he was released. It was in March the parole board said Colin Pitchfork was “suitable for release” although he had been denied in 2016 and 2018. 

The then Justice Secretary Robert Buckland asked the board to re-examine the decision but the Parole Board rejected the request. The government plans to overhaul the parole system, with the findings of their review expected to come out later this year. It also wants the law changed so those found guilty of killing children get life behind bars without parole.

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Written by

Claire Gordon


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