Mum of Colin Pitchfork victim says ‘he shouldn’t breathe our air’ as killer freed

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The mum of one of evil Colin Pitchfork’s victims has broken her silence after his release – and said “life should have meant life”.

The double killer was allowed to walk free on Wednesday after 33 years in prison.

He was jailed in 1988 for brutally raping and murdering Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, both 15, in Leicestershire.

Pitchfork, now aged in his 60s, was handed life with a 30-year minimum for his grim crimes, a sentence which was then cut in 2009.

He was later moved to HMP Leyhill in Gloucestershire, an open prison, before the Parole Board deemed him eligible for release.

The fate of Pitchfork – the first murderer to be caught using DNA – has caused anger across the UK, due to the nature of his crimes.

And, speaking to LeicestershireLive, after his release, Dawn’s mum Barbara Ashworth, 75, revealed her disgust at the decision.

She said: “Well it was on the books that he was going to be released, but I don’t think he should be breathing the same air as us.

“It goes without saying that life should have meant life in his case, because he said he was guilty of the offences, the murders of both the girls… and he did a lot more besides.”

Asked if she was surprised Pitchfork had become eligible for release, Ms Ashworth said: “Yes, I think so. They did say that if it had been done today he wouldn’t have been let out.

“But that doesn’t excuse anything. I don’t have my daughter back or any of the hopes and dreams that she had in her life.

“She was my only daughter and you live your life through them and their future – but that was taken away.”

South Leicestershire MP, Alberto Costa, said he is “extremely saddened and disappointed” at the convicted killer’s release.

Mr Costa, who represents the South Leicestershire constituency where Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth were brutally raped and murdered in 1983 and 1986 respectively, led a campaign to oppose Pitchfork’s release.

He said: “I am extremely saddened and deeply disappointed that the convicted child rapist and killer Colin Pitchfork has today been released from prison.

“Since I was first elected MP for South Leicestershire, where Pitchfork’s heinous crimes took place, I have worked tirelessly on behalf of my constituents and countless others to oppose his release.

“While I respect the Parole Board’s decision to reject the Government’s challenge against his release, I do not agree with it. In my view, Pitchfork still presents a very real danger to the public.”

The MP was successful in lobbying the Government to challenge the Parole Board’s initial decision to release the convicted child killer under the ‘reconsideration mechanism’ that allows parole decisions to be formally reviewed if the decision to release a prisoner was viewed to be irrational or unreasonable.

But the Parole Board for England and Wales rejected the challenge – allowing Pitchfork, now known as David Thorpe, to walk.

Mr Costa added: “This case has made clear that the Parole Board’s opaque practices and processes must be reformed, and the system must work better for victims and their families, and I very much look forward to helping to shape the system for the better in the Government’s forthcoming root and branch review of the Parole Board.

“Questions will of course remain as to whether someone who has committed such heinous crimes should ever be released, in cases such as these where two innocent girls were murdered in the most horrendous fashion, life should simply mean life.

“My thoughts today, as ever, are with the families of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth.”

It is understood that Pitchfork will have to wear an electronic tag, face restrictions on using the internet and is banned from going near relatives of his victims following his release.

The Ministry of Justice said: “Public safety is our top priority, which is why he will be subject to some of the strictest licence conditions ever set and remain under supervision for the rest of his life.

“If he breaches these conditions, he faces an immediate return to prison.”