The true story behind Code of a Killer's Colin Pitchfork and where he is now

by 24britishtvOct. 11, 2021, 9 p.m. 22
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Set in the 1980s, ITV’s Code of Killer tells the true story of the discovery of DNA fingerprinting and its use in catching a double murderer in Leicester.

DNA fingerprinting helped to catch was Colin Pitchfork, a 27-year-old baker, after he raped and murdered two 15-year-old girls, Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, in 1983 and 1986 respectively.

Both girls disappeared on their way home and were both strangled.

Pitchfork was caught after Leicestershire police were convinced that both girls were murdered by a local man.

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They approached the Forensic Science Service, who had just developed DNA profiling, to help them in their investigations and launched a campaign asking 5,500 local men to voluntarily provide blood or saliva samples to them.

Although the investigation yielded no matches after six months, the police were finally given a breakthrough when a colleague of Pitchfork’s was overheard saying that he had provided blood while pretending to be Pitchfork.

This was reported to police, and Colin Pitchfork was arrested on September 19, 1987.

During interrogation, Pitchfork pled guilty to the rapes and murders of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, as well as one other incident of sexual assault, and was sentenced to life imprisonment with an original minimum term of 30 years.

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Additionally, in a psychiatric report prepared for the Court, Pitchfork was described as possessing a psychopathic personality disorder.

In 2009, Pitchfork’s minimum term sentence was reduced on appeal to 28 years.

He was moved to an open prison in 2016 and was granted release on conditional licence on June 7, 2021.

Although the Secretary of State for Justice at the time, Robert Buckland, appealed against the decision to release him, the appeal was refused and Pitchfork was released aged 61 on September 1, 2021.

Code of a Killer airs tonight at 9pm on ITV.

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