Child killer and rapist Colin Pitchfork has walked free from prison to lead a new life with a new name. His release has led a victim's sister to dread that one day she might run into the "evil psychopath."
Pitchfork was jailed for life in January 1998 for raping and murdering two 15-year-old girls in neighbouring Leicestershire villages- Lynda Mann in Narborough in November 1983, and Dawn Ashworth in Enderby in July 1986. The double-murderer was the first person convicted of rape using DNA profiling.
Pitchfork was a native of Newbold Verdon, but moved to Littlethorpe after his marriage to a social worker with whom he welcomed two sons. Before his marriage, he had been convicted of indecent exposure and had been referred for therapy.
The convict started working in a bakery in Leicester as an apprentice in 1976, and remained there until his arrest a decade later. He had become skilled as a sculptor of cake decorations and had hoped to eventually start his own business. His supervisor described him as a "good worker and time-keeper" but also a moody person who would not leave female workers alone and would keep chatting them up.
He raped and strangled his first victim, Lynda Mann, on a night when she took a shortcut on her way home from babysitting instead of taking her normal route. He body was found dumped on a deserted footpath. Three years later, the second victim, Dawn Ashworth, had left her home to visit a friend's house, but was beaten, savagely raped, and strangled by the convict. Her body was found in a wooded area near a footpath two days after she went missing.
Investigators noted that the modus operandi matched in both the cases, and eventually found Pitchfork guilty with the help of DNA profiling. During questioning, he admitted to exposing himself to more than 1,000 women since his teen years. A psychiatric report prepared at the time described him as possessing a "psychopathic personality disorder accompanied with a serious psycho sexual pathology." At the time of his sentencing, the judge said that he should never be released from prison for the sake of public safety.
However, the criminal's minimum term sentence of 30 years was reduced on appeal to 28 years in 2009, with his advocates presenting evidence of his improved character citing his education and work on the transcription of printed music into braille. The 61-year-old was granted release on conditional licence in June this year, and released from prison on Wednesday, despite the opposition of victims' families.
Prior to his release, he had reportedly started calling himself David Thorpe among other inmates, which he will seemingly continue to use in his new life. He is subjected to 43 tough licence conditions, 36 more than the average freed convict. One of the conditions of his release is that he must confess his true identity and crimes to any new girlfriends or employers or he will be recalled to prison.
One former prisoner who spent time with Pitchfork in jail warns that he is still a "danger" to the public, reports Mail Online. "He's the most arrogant prisoner I have ever come across. He talked down to prisoners. He's got that much protection around him you can't do anything. He's still got that look in his eyes - he switches quick. When he got his parole he was walking round with a bigger smile on his face than he ever had. He would get annoyed when female staff would tell him off," the former inmate recalled.
Meanwhile, Lynda Mann's elder sister Sue Gratrick who was the last person to see her before she headed out of home that fateful night, has expressed disappointment in the decision. "He now has more rights than we do. We don't know where he is," she said on "Good Morning Britain" keeping her face concealed, as per The Sun.
"He was clever enough to fool his wife when he killed, and he's been clever enough to convince the parole board that he's not a threat anymore...He's too clever, he'll do something....He's still a killer. He's still a rapist, he can't change his sexual motivation. He's just evil," she added.
Gratrick noted that she is not "scared" of Pitchfork, but to be walking down the street and running into him would be "horrendous" and "scary."
The mother of the second victim Dawn Ashworth said about Pitchfork's release, "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 girls. And he did a lot more besides."