Image source, PA MediaImage caption, Colin Pitchfork spent 33 years in prison for the murders

Double child killer Colin Pitchfork has been arrested and recalled to prison, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has said.

He was released two months ago after spending 33 years in jail for murdering two teenage girls in the 1980s.

It is understood Pitchfork was returned to custody on Friday over a breach of licence conditions.

The BBC was told staff at a hostel where he was living had grown increasingly concerned about elements of his behaviour,

However, there was no suggestion any further offence had been committed.

A Probation Service spokesperson said: "Protecting the public is our number one priority."

They added: "When offenders breach the conditions of their release and potentially pose an increased risk, we don't hesitate to return them to custody."

Image caption, Dawn Ashworth and Lynda Mann were murdered by Pitchfork three years apart in the 1980s

Pitchfork was jailed in 1988 for raping and murdering 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire.

He raped and strangled Lynda Mann in Narborough in November 1983 and killed Dawn Ashworth three years later.

In June, the Parole Board concluded it was safe to release Pitchfork, who was the first murderer to be convicted using DNA evidence.

Upon his release, the MoJ said Pitchfork, 61, would remain under supervision for the rest of his life.

'Safer behind bars'

Dawn Ashworth's mother said she was "pleased" the child killer had been recalled to prison.

Barbara Ashworth said: "I'm pleased that he's been put away and women and girls are safe and protected from him now.

"It's a safer place when he's behind bars and I won't have to worry about other people being hurt by him for the time being.

"But there's always the worry that he might get out again, he seems to have a lot of people on his side who give him the benefit of the doubt.

"But for now, I have to be pleased about the news."

Image caption, The killings led to a major manhunt before Pitchfork was arrested

Alberto Costa, MP for South Leicestershire where Pitchfork committed his crimes, had opposed the murderer's release.

He said: "I was informed earlier this evening by the policing minister that double child rapist and killer Colin Pitchfork has been recalled to prison.

"Pitchfork's behaviour has given sufficient cause for concern to the probation authorities.

"Pitchfork is under the most stringent of licence conditions and perhaps this recall evidences that those conditions are working.

"I will urgently take this matter up with the government to ensure that public safety remains the number one focus."

Pitchfork's licence conditions had included living at a designated address, taking part in probation supervision, wearing an electronic tag, taking part in lie detector tests and having to disclose what vehicles he used and who he spoke to, with particular limits on contact with children.

He was also subject to a curfew, had restrictions on using technology and limits on where he went, and was banned from entering Leicestershire without the permission of officials.

Colin Pitchfork has been recalled to prison less than three months after his release.

Pitchfork was taken back to jail today following mounting concern among officials about some elements of his behaviour.

There is no suggestion he had committed a new offence or that there was evidence he was about to do so.

Officials have told the BBC that Pitchfork had been living in a bail hostel following his release – but staff had begun to be concerned about some elements of his general behaviour and engagement with them.

They concluded that he was not being as honest as he could be – although there was not one specific incident that triggered an alarm.

Pitchfork's life licence conditions include seven standard requirements which include a promise to maintain good behaviour and co-operate with the authorities.

The killer spent a number of years preparing for potential release in an open prison but instead of being returned there, tonight he is in a closed jail.

In practice that means he now faces significant obstacles in winning the right to be released again.

In 28 days the Parole Board will formally review what to do with him – and typically in a situation like this they order a full hearing.

That is not likely to take place until the Spring and it would only look at whether Pitchfork should stay in a closed prison or be allowed to return to open conditions, where he kept in recent years.

Even if he were allowed to return to an open prison, he would not be able to make another application to be released on licence until at least the middle of 2023.

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