Child killer Colin Pitchfork walks in park near young families

Convicted double child killer Colin Pitchfork is spotted walking in park near young families after he was freed by Parole Board

  • Predator, 61, given life sentence in 1988 for rape and murder of two teen girls
  • He killed Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in the mid-1980s
  • On Sep 1, he was granted parole and secretly driven to a hostel on south coast
  • Pitchfork was the first man convicted of murder on the basis of DNA evidence

Convicted double child killer Colin Pitchfork has been spotted going for a stroll in a park near young families.

The 61-year-old predator was handed a life sentence in 1988 for the rape and murder of two 15-year-old girls.

However, he was granted parole this September and secretly driven from prison to a hostel on the south coast. 

Photographed here on October 14, he was seen wearing jeans, a shirt, light green fleece and a cap. 

Just a day earlier, the murderer was pictured wearing a high-vis helmet and a rucksack as he cycled from his hostel in Portsmouth – just 200 yards from a school – to possibly the same park.

Pitchfork strangled and raped Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986 respectively – but was freed after the Parole Board rejected the Government and his devastated victims’ families’ legal challenge.

Convicted double child killer Colin Pitchfork has been spotted going for a stroll in a park near young families. The 61-year-old predator was handed a life sentence in 1988 for the rape and murder of two 15-year-old girls

Pitchfork was granted parole this September and secretly driven from prison to a hostel on the south coast. (He is seen in the above pictures on October 14)

Pitchfork raped and strangled Lynda Mann (right) in Narborough, Leicestershire, in November 1983 and raped and murdered Dawn Ashworth (left) three years later in the nearby village of Enderby

In a clear indication of the threat he still poses, he will be subject to some of the strictest licence conditions ever set.

The killer will wear an electronic tag so he can be monitored at all times, banned from going near the relatives of his victims and face restrictions on using the internet by himself.

He may also face spot lie detector tests to see whether he has broken any conditions.

Pitchfork became the first man convicted of murder on the basis of DNA evidence in 1988 as he admitted two murders, two rapes, two indecent assaults and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

His 30-year minimum term was cut by two years in 2009, he was moved to an open prison three years ago and released on September 1.

Pitchfork, who at the time was a baker and known to police as a serial flasher, attacked his victims and dumped their bodies on dark, secluded footpaths in Leicestershire.

The child killer (above) was also spotted on October 13 in a high-vis helmet and rucksack as he cycled from his hostel in Portsmouth to possibly the same park. He has been placed in a hostel just 200 yards from a school

He raped and strangled Lynda in Narborough after dropping his wife off at an evening class and while his baby son slept in the back of his car.

Three years later, he raped and murdered Dawn in a similar attack in nearby Enderby. 

Colin Pitchfork as he looked in 1988 when he became the first murderer convicted and jailed using DNA evidence. He was given a 30-year minimum sentence

The killer was the first criminal to be caught by the revolutionary DNA profiling process pioneered by Sir Alec Jeffreys at the University of Leicester.

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

No matches were found. 

But in 1987 a bakery colleague of Pitchfork – who had been there as an apprentice and had expressed a desire to set up his own cake-making business – was overheard boasting how he was set to receive £200 to pose as Pitchfork and give a sample.

The conversation was reported to the police and Pitchfork was later arrested.

He was jailed for life in 1988.  

His minimum term of imprisonment was set at 30 years, later reduced to 28 years in 2009 on appeal.

A spokesperson said that there will be 35 separate conditions Pitchfork will have to abide by including tagging, polygraph testing, extensive exclusion zones, bans on contact with children, victims, as well as restrictions on electronic devices and vehicles. 

How a revolutionary DNA trial helped to snare child killer Colin Pitchfork

DNA evidence – then in its early use in criminal cases – played a key role in solving the murders of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth.

It was first used in the investigation following the death of Pitchfork’s first victim – Lynda Mann.

Then 15, Lynda was grabbed, raped and murdered as she walked home from babysitting earlier that day.

DNA was used at the start of the investigation, when a sample of semen taken from her body was found to be from a person with type-A blood.

It also matched an enzyme profile of just 10 per cent of males.

Volunteers taking tests in 1987 to help police find the murderer of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth

But with few leads and no direct suspects, police left the case open.

In 1986, a second 15-year-old girl, Dawn Ashworth, left her home to visit a friend’s house.

When she did not return, a search was launched and, like Lynda, her body was found having been raped.

Police again found similar DNA, and with the murder having been carried out in a similar way, detectives realised they were looking for a double murderer.

Officers had another suspect in mind at the time, Richard Buckland – a 17-year-old with learning difficulties who had confessed to the second murder and had knowledge of the first. He would later be exonerated.

But it wasn’t until Sir Alec Jeffreys, a genetics researcher at nearby Leicester University, became involved that his innocence was proved. 

Sir Alec first developed genetic profiling along with Peter Gill and Dave Werrett.

And he used it to compare DNA samples found on both bodies.

It proved the killer was the same person – but not Buckland.

Later, police launched a DNA drive and up to 5,000 men in three villages were asked to volunteer blood or saliva samples.

However, no matches were found.

But in 1987 a bakery colleague of Pitchfork was overheard boasting how he was set to receive £200 to pose as Pitchfork and give a sample.

The conversation was reported to the police and Pitchfork was later arrested. 

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