'DNA' child killer Colin Pitchfork petition opposes release

Colin Pitchfork Image copyright Leicestershire Police
Image caption Colin Pitchfork was the first person to be convicted using DNA evidence

A petition opposing the possible release of a child murderer who was the first to be convicted using DNA, has been launched.

Colin Pitchfork was jailed in 1988 for the murder of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, both 15, from Leicestershire.

The petition, started by Rebecca Eastwood, sister of Lynda, has already got more than 4,000 signatures.

A parole review has begun because Pitchfork is nearing the end of his 28 years minimum term, officials said.

He was caught after the world's first mass screening for DNA, in which 5,000 men in the Enderby area were asked to volunteer blood or saliva samples.

'Exceptional progress'

He initially persuaded a friend to take the test on his behalf but this was later discovered.

Mrs Eastwood said: "Obviously we don't want him to be released because of the crimes he committed, we don't think he deserves that second chance.

"But, there is also the fear he will commit crimes again and I could not live with myself if I did not fight him coming out."

The parole review process involves gathering information from probation staff, prison officers and medical experts, probably leading to an oral hearing.

Before sanctioning a prisoner's release, the parole board has to be sure he or she no longer poses a risk to the public.

The 2009 court hearing which cut his original 30 year tariff was told Pitchfork, now 55, had made "exceptional progress" in prison.

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