As Schoolgirls’ Killer Colin Pitchfork Released, Who Else Could Be Freed Under UK Legal Loophole?
11:47 GMT 02.09.2021 (Updated: 15:15 GMT 28.05.2023)
In 1988 Colin Pitchfork was jailed for life for the raping and murdering two schoolgirls in Leicestershire. Pitchfork, 61, is being released this week and he will not be the last dangerous inmate to be freed.
Social media is aghast with news that Colin Pitchfork is being freed from an English prison after the Parole Board ruled he was no longer a threat to society.
Pitchfork was in his 20s when he raped and strangled Lynda Mann, 15, in 1983 and three years later struck again, killing another schoolgirl Dawn Ashworth.
Pitchfork - who was the first murderer to be identified and convicted on the basis of DNA evidence - was jailed for life and the then Lord Chief Justice, Lord Lane, said: “From the point of view of the safety of the public I doubt if he should ever be released.”
But in 1988 the then Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd, set a minimum tariff of 30 years, which was reduced on appeal to 28 years.
Pitchfork has been applying for parole since 2016 but it was only this year that the authorities deemed him no longer a risk to the public.
The decision to release him has been greeted with dismay with many people on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
But one Twitter user, Marc de Berner, tweeted: “I wouldn't know if he was living next-door. Neither would I care. Mr Pitchfork has served his sentence and been assessed as safe for release. That's the Law.”
Pitchfork is not among the list of prisoners who were given a whole life tariff. That list includes serial killers Peter Tobin, Steve Wright, Peter Moore and Rose West.
But there are other inmates in British prisons who were not given whole life terms and could be due for an equally controversial release in the near future.
They include the so-called “Angel of Death”, Beverley Allitt, 52, a nurse who murdered four young children and attempted to kill three others while working at a hospital in Lincolnshire.
She was jailed for life in 1993 and was given a minimum term of 30 years, meaning she will be eligible for parole in 2023.
Kayley Asher, who survived, told The Sun
newspaper she was terrified Allitt would "get her” when she is released.
Her father Alan told his local newspaper
: "If we were to ever find out Allitt has got parole we would be looking over our shoulders all the time. We would have to protect Kayley.”
Another case which will arouse controversy is David Mulcahy
, who was jailed for life in 2000 for a series of rapes and murders committed near railway stations in and around London.
While his friend and accomplice John Duffy was given a whole life tariff, Mulcahy was ordered to serve a minimum of 24 years and could be due for parole in 2024.
In 2001 Allan Grimson
, then 42, was jailed for life for murdering two fellow sailors. Grimson, a petty officer in the Royal Navy, was a predatory homosexual who targeted young men.
Judge Peter Cresswell described him as a "serial killer in nature if not by number."
Grimson, who has a personality disorder, was jailed for a minimum of 22 years and could be due for parole in 2023.
Also up for parole soon is Alun Kyte
, who was jailed for life in 2000 for the murder of prostitutes Samo Paull and Tracey Turner.
At the time it was suggested Kyte, a lorry driver, may have killed a number of other prostitutes. Several tabloids labelled this unidentified serial killer the Midlands Ripper.
Kyte was given a minimum tariff of 25 years, meaning he will be eligible for parole in 2025.