Freed double child killer Colin Pitchfork will be subject to the most strict licence conditions ever imposed, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has told Sky News.
The cabinet minister moved to reassure the public after his efforts to keep the murderer behind bars for longer failed.
He also highlighted a far-reaching review being carried out into the work of the Parole Board, which has faced criticism over some of its decisions to release prisoners, aimed at increasing confidence in the system.
Now in his early 60s, Pitchfork was jailed for life after raping and strangling 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986 respectively.
At the time he committed his first crime, Pitchfork was a 22-year-old, married father-of-two.
He was eventually caught after the world’s first mass screening for DNA – where 5,000 men in three villages were asked to volunteer blood or saliva samples – and admitted two murders, two rapes, two indecent assaults and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Pitchfork became the first man convicted of murder on the basis of DNA evidence in 1988.
His 30-year minimum term was cut by two years in 2009, and he was moved to open prison HMP Leyhill in Gloucestershire three years ago.
Following a hearing in March, the Parole Board ruled Pitchfork was “suitable for release”, despite this being denied in 2016 and 2018.
In June, Mr Buckland asked the board, which is independent of the government, to re-examine the decision under the so-called reconsideration mechanism.
But the Parole Board rejected the government challenge against its ruling the following month, announcing the application to reconsider the decision had been refused.
Mr Buckland expressed his disappointment at the time but said he respected the decision.
Speaking to Sky News after Pitchfork’s release earlier this week, the justice secretary said: “The thing about that terrible case is that were he to be sentenced now he would be subject to a whole life order, which would have made the situation very different.
“I can reassure viewers that he is subject to the most stringent licence conditions that we have seen in this country, things like a GPS tag, lie detectors, all those measures have been put in place.
“But the concern of the public has been heard loud and clear, which is why the root and branch review work (of the Parole Board) continues at pace.”
Pitchfork is subject to more than 40 licence conditions.
Usually there are seven standard conditions for offenders leaving prison but Pitchfork will have to meet a further 36 requirements.
Pitchfork will be placed on the sex offenders register and have to live at a designated address, be supervised by probation, wear an electronic tag, take part in polygraph – lie detector – tests, and have to disclose what vehicles he uses and who he speaks to, while also facing particular limits on contact with children.
He will be subject to a curfew, have restrictions on using technology, and face limitations on where he can go.
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