United Kingdom

Head of Parole Board is made CBE days after it approved the release of child killer Colin Pitchfork

The head of the Parole Board has been made a CBE days after it approved the release of child-killer Colin Pitchfork.

Chief executive Martin Jones has run the organisation since 2015 – and was also in charge when it ruled Black Cab Rapist John Worboys could be freed.

That decision was overturned after a legal challenge and led to the enforced resignation of board chairman Nick Hardwick.

Conservative MP Alberto Costa, who has been in touch with relatives of Pitchfork’s two 15-year-old victims, last night questioned the award and described its timing as ‘crass’.

Pitchfork’s sexual murders were among the most notorious crimes of the 1980s. He attacked 15-year-old Lynda Mann in 1983 as she took a shortcut home from babysitting in the Leicestershire village of Narborough. Baker and cake decorator Pitchfork, then a 23-year-old father of two, raped her and strangled her to death with her own scarf.

Chief executive Martin Jones, who has run the Parole Board since 2015, has been made a CBE days after it approved the release of child-killer Colin Pitchfork

During the incident his car was parked nearby, with his baby son asleep in the back.

Just under three years later, Pitchfork raped and murdered Dawn Ashworth, also 15, in the neighbouring village of Enderby as she was walking home.

South Leicestershire MP Mr Costa said: ‘I understand the decision for this honour was made by the nominations committee earlier this year but the timing of this is frankly crass given that the appalling Parole Board decision was only released on Monday.

‘I am highlighting at the most senior levels of government whether it is appropriate for the CEO of the Parole Board – who was also in post at the time of the Worboys fiasco – to be given this type of honour.’

In 1988, Pitchfork was handed a life sentence with a minimum tariff of 30 years, later reduced to 28 years on appeal.

On Monday the Parole Board announced he had been approved for release on licence.

Dawn’s mother Barbara Ashworth said earlier this week that Pitchfork ‘will always present a danger’ and called for the decision to be reversed.

‘He can’t hurt me any more than he has done – Pitchfork ripped my family and I apart – but he can hurt other young girls,’ Mrs Ashworth, 75, said.

The retired detective who led the murder hunt also said he was convinced Pitchfork remains a serious danger to girls.

Last night Ministry of Justice sources said it was ‘likely’ that Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland will ask the Parole Board to review its decision.

A final decision has not yet been made.

Mr Jones is named in the Birthday Honours list for his work on ‘diversity and transparency within the parole process’.

A spokesman for the Parole Board declined to comment.

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