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Double child killer Colin Pitchfork to face public parole hearing

The hearing is due to take place in July.

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Colin Pitchfork

Double child killer Colin Pitchfork’s latest parole bid to be freed from jail will take place in public in July.

The Parole Board granted an application for a public hearing in the case in the “interests of justice”, a decision published on Thursday said.

The reviews are typically 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.”

Pitchfork was jailed for life in 1988 after raping and strangling two 15-year-old girls, Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986.

Then aged 27, he became the first man to be convicted in the UK using DNA profiling and was handed a minimum jail term of 30 years, later reduced to 28 years.

Pitchfork was initially released from prison in September 2021 but was back behind bars two months later after breaching his licence conditions when he approached a lone woman while litter-picking.

In June last year, the Parole Board found the decision to recall him to prison was flawed and said his detention was no longer necessary for public safety. But this ruling was blocked by Justice Secretary Alex Chalk as he called for the decision to release Pitchfork to be reviewed.

Although Pitchfork lost his latest bid for freedom in December, earlier this year he successfully challenged the ruling to keep him behind bars.

It means the now 64-year-old will face a fresh parole hearing, which could see him released from jail.

According to a document outlining the decision to have Pitchfork’s case heard in public, the Parole Board said he had changed his name by deed poll a number of times since his conviction due to an apparent “desire to protect his identity given the public reaction to his offences and his potential release”.

The name he is currently using has not been disclosed.

Conservative MP for South Leicestershire Alberto Costa, who has campaigned to keep Pitchfork behind bars, was among those to make representations for the hearing to take place in public and said it was vital as the “public need to have confidence in the parole system”.

Mr Chalk also supported calls for the case to be heard in public.

But Pitchfork argued against it, amid suggestions from his lawyers it could affect his ability to give evidence.

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