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Double child killer Colin Pitchfork’s parole hearing to be held in private

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Double child killer Colin Pitchfork’s parole hearing to be held in private

Double child killer Colin Pitchfork’s next parole hearing will no longer be held in public due to “unforeseeable developments including fresh allegations”.

The Parole Board said on Thursday that the allegations were “in respect of relatively recent conduct” and apologised for the “increased stress” on the families of the victims.

It is unclear what the allegations cited by the Parole Board refer to.

Pitchfork, 64, was jailed for life in 1988 after raping and strangling 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.

A spokesperson for the Parole Board said: “A panel of the Parole Board held a directions hearing for Colin Pitchfork on Wednesday 10 July.

“At that directions hearing the panel and both parties discussed how best to receive evidence in respect of fresh allegations in the case. This included the submission of new material to the panel which relates to risk.

“We regret that as a result of material changes in circumstances there has had to be a change of decision in relation to the nature of the hearing, which will no longer be held in public.

“It has been caused by unforeseeable developments including fresh allegations in respect of relatively recent conduct.

“A copy of the public hearing decision, made by the panel chair using their delegated authority, will be published on the Parole Board website, when available.

“We would like to apologise again for the increased stress that both the adjournment and the subsequent public hearing decision may have on the victims.

“Victim involvement is a valued part of the parole process and the victims have been invited to observe some of the private proceedings. The private oral hearing will be relisted in due course.

“Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.

“The panel will carefully examine a whole range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as understand the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.

“Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority.”

In June last year, the Parole Board found the decision to recall Pitchfork to prison was flawed and said his detention was no longer necessary for public safety. But this ruling was blocked by then-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 meant the now 64-year-old will face a fresh parole hearing, which could see him released from jail.

The hearings 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.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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