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Murder UK is a site dedicated to documenting and investigating murder in the UK. We aim to be precise with facts and avoid speculation. If however you find discrepancies please  Contact us

   


 

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Name:

Colin Pitchfork

AKA:

 

D.O.B.

March 1960
Kill Total:

2

Kill date:

21 November 1983

31 July 1986

Kill Place:

Narborough & Enderby,  Leicestershire

Status:

Married

Occupation:

 

Victim:

Lynda Mann - 15

Dawn Ashworth - 15

 


 

Court:

Leicester Crown Court

Judge:

Mr. Justice Otten

Prosecution:

 

Defence:

 

 


 


 

 

 

FACTFILE

 

This case was an important one in the history of forensic science, as it was the first case that used DNA profiling to find a man innocent and then catch the killer.


21st November 1983, Lynda Mann's body was found in the grounds of Carlton Hayes psychiatric hospital, having been killed on a secluded path running alongside it. Despite extensive police investigations, which included interviewing all the residents and out-patients of the hospital, the police were still unable to catch the murderer.


31st July 1986, Two and a half year later, Dawn Ashworth's murder took place on a path alongside the M1, within sight of the last scene, it was assumed that it was committed by the same person. Following appeals, it was established that a man on a motorbike had been seen hanging around the area at the time. This man was soon proved to be Richard Buckland, when he told a colleague details of the murder which were not public knowledge. Buckland confessed to Dawn's murder and was sent for trial. Before the trial took place however, the new DNA profiling tests were done on his blood and it was proved that he wasn't the man who raped Dawn and therefore probably not the one who killed her. It is believed in fact that he witnessed her murder from a distance.


With no suspect again, the police decided to use DNA testing to their advantage. They set up a voluntary testing for every man living or working in the area. In 9 months over 4,000 men had their blood and saliva tested.

 

September 1987, it was discovered that Ian Kelly, a local, had been asked by Colin Pitchfork to have his blood tested, pretending to be Pitchfork, and that several other people had been offered money to do this.

 

18th September 1987, Pitchfork was immediately sought out, and confessed to the crimes very swiftly, knowing that any blood test would prove he was the killer.


Pitchfork was known to the police already, as he had a criminal record for flashing. According to him, both these attacks had started off as flashings, and that he only killed them because of the way they reacted - they ran away, which excited him. Apart from his history of indecent exposure, Pitchfork led a seemingly innocuous life, with a good job, a wife and a child.


22nd January 1988, Pitchfork went to trial at Leicester Crown Court, it was a short trial as he pleaded guilty to all charges.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment for the 2 murders, he was also sentenced to 10 years for 2 rapes.

Pitchfork was also sentenced to 3 years for 2 indecent assaults. He was also given 3 years for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice (by avoiding giving a DNA sample).

No minimum tern was specified, which technically meant h could be eligible for parole after 10 years.

 

1994, the Home Secretary, Michael Howard decided Colin Pitchfork should spend at least 30 years in prison.

 

December 2008, Colin Pitchfork was given leave to appeal against his minimum sentence of 30 years.

 

May 2009, the appeal by Pitchfork was held in the High Court, the judges reduced his minimum sentence from 30 years to 28.

He could be released in 2016.

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