Man who raped and killed two schoolgirls can be released from prison

A man who raped and killed two schoolgirls can be released from prison, the Parole Board has said.

Colin Pitchfork was jailed for life after strangling Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, both aged 15, in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986.

He became the first man convicted of murder using DNA evidence and was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison in 1988.

Pitchfork was eventually caught after the world’s first mass screening for DNA – where 5,000 men in three villages were asked to volunteer blood or saliva samples.

He pleaded guilty to two offences of murder, two of rape, two of indecent assault, and one of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

His minimum term was cut by two years in 2009.

Although he was denied parole in 2016, and in 2018, Pitchfork was moved to an open prison three years ago.

A hearing took place in March to consider whether he was suitable for release, and the decision was published today.

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.’

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