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
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
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.
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.
sentenced to life imprisonment for the 2 murders, he was
also sentenced to 10 years for 2 rapes.
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).
tern was specified, which technically meant h could be
eligible for parole after 10 years.
the Home Secretary, Michael Howard decided Colin
Pitchfork should spend at least 30 years in prison.
2008, Colin Pitchfork was given leave to appeal
against his minimum sentence of 30 years.
the appeal by Pitchfork was held in the High Court, the
judges reduced his minimum sentence from 30 years to 28.
He could have been
released in 2016.