Only a quarter of government parole appeals are successful

Just one in four government appeals against Parole Board decisions to release serious offenders are successful

  • Just 1/4 government appeals against Parole Board decisions were successful
  • The appeal against child murderer double child-killer and rapist Colin Pitchfork was one of 32 reconsiderations ministers have attempted to trigger
  • But only eight led to the board changing its mind about the release of a prisoner

The appeal against child murderer double child-killer and rapist Colin Pitchfork was one of 32 reconsiderations ministers have attempted to trigger under a ruling introduced in 2019

Only a quarter of government appeals against Parole Board decisions to release serious offenders have been successful, it can be revealed.

The appeal against child murderer double child-killer and rapist Colin Pitchfork was one of 32 reconsiderations ministers have attempted to trigger under a ruling introduced in 2019.

But only eight of those cases have led to the Parole Board changing its mind about the release of a prisoner.

A Parole Board spokesman said: ‘Applications for reconsideration will only be merited where there is a clear likelihood that the process may have been procedurally or legally flawed.

‘It will not apply to decisions which are unpopular but have nevertheless clearly been carried out strictly in line with the lawful requirements and normal standards of practice.

‘The vast majority of offenders considered have committed a serious sexual or violent offence, so every decision is taken with extreme care with public protection our top priority.’

The Government will publish a review on the way parole operates later this year.

Pitchfork will not be placed on the sex offenders register when he walks free in a matter of days – to the outrage of one of his victim’s relatives.

The 61-year-old has been cleared for release from an open prison and is eligible to go on the list, which was introduced in 1997.

Anybody on the register must notify police of any change in personal circumstances – including a name change.

Colin Pitchfork, 61, (pictured on day release), will be kept off the sex offenders register

Despite the sex register decision, probation officers will still monitor the killer. But the relatives of teenage victims Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth fear this will not be enough.

They argue that Pitchfork, who has been using the name David Thorpe for several years, could adopt a third identity upon his release as the name has been well publicised.

Dawn’s mother Barbara Ashworth, 75, of Liskeard, Cornwall, said: ‘Words fail me. A psychopath like him shouldn’t be allowed to change his name. It’s absolutely shocking that he can do it legally. People need to know who he is and what he has done.

‘He is a very dangerous man – he shouldn’t be on the streets at all.’

Her brother Philip Musson, 68, added: ‘The Probation Service must be confident in their arrangements for monitoring him upon release, but I have my doubts that the public can be kept safe and any measure that can be imposed should be.’

Pictured: Volunteers take tests to help the investigating police officers find the murderer of Leicestershire schoolgirls Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth on January 5 in 1987 (file photo)

Pitchfork raped and murdered Lynda and Dawn, both 15, in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986. The following year, he became the first killer in the world to be snared by DNA after a mass screening of nearly 5,000 men living near the crime scenes.

He had been given a 30-year minimum term, later cut to 28 years, and was deemed safe for release by the Parole Board in March. Most sex offenders convicted before the Sex Offenders Act 1997 came into effect were not entered on to the register because the legislation was not generally applied retrospectively.

But a number of exemptions left the door open for offenders to be included, and Pitchfork is eligible because he was still serving his sentence when the legislation came into effect.

However, the Ministry of Justice yesterday said Pitchfork will not be registered because he will instead be monitored by a multi-agency public protection arrangement, or Mappa, made up of prison, probation and police officers.

Under the arrangement, it is believed he will be fitted with a GPS tag before his release and subject to regular lie-detector testing once in the community.

A MoJ spokesman said: ‘Colin Pitchfork will be on licence for life and subject to supervision and conditions far stricter than the sex offenders register. If he breaches these, he faces being sent back to prison.’

While the Mappa scheme is meant to bring services together to manage the threat posed by released inmates, a report last autumn found vital information was not always being shared.

In May, an inquest found ‘serious deficiencies’ in Mappa’s management of Fishmongers’ Hall terrorist Usman Khan.

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