Colin Pitchfork

Reign of terror: 21/11/83 - 19/09/87

Motive: Sex

Crimes: Murder of Lynda Mann (15) on 21/11/83 and Dawn Ashworth (15) on 31/07/86 both near Narborough, Leicestershire.

Method: Both girls had been strangled.

Sentence: Pitchfork was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1988. However no minimum sentence was recommended.

Interesting facts: This case was a very important one in the history of forensic science, as it was the first case that used DNA profiling to find a man innocent and catch the killer.

Lynda's body was found in the grounds of Carlton Hayes psychiatric hospital, having been killed on a secluded path running alongside it. Despite extensive police investigations, which included interviewing all the residents and out-patients of the hospital, the police were still unable to catch the murderer.

When, two and a half year later, Dawn's murder took place on a path alongside the M1, within sight of the last scene, it was assumed that it was committed by the same person. Following appeals, it was established that a man on a motorbike had been seen hanging around the area at the relevant time. This man was soon proved to be Richard Buckland, when he told a colleague details of the murder which were not public knowledge. Buckland confessed to Dawn's murder and was sent for trial. Before the trial took place however, the new DNA profiling tests were done on his blood and it was proved that he wasn't the man who raped Dawn and therefore probably not the one who killed her. It is believed in fact that he witnessed her murder from a distance.

With no suspect again, the police decided to use DNA testing to their advantage. They set up a voluntary testing for every male living or working in the area at the material times. In 9 months over 4,000 men had their blood and saliva tested. In September 1987, it was discovered that Ian Kelly, a local, had been asked by Pitchfork to have his blood tested, pretending to be Pitchfork, and that several other people had been offered money to do this. Pitchfork was immediately sought out, and confessed to the crimes very swiftly, knowing that any blood test would prove he was the killer.

Pitchfork was known to the police already, as he had a criminal record for flashing. According to him, both these attacks had started off as flashings, and that he only killed them because of the way they reacted - they ran away, which excited him. Apart from his history of indecent exposure, Pitchfork led a seemingly innocuous life, with a good job, a wife and a child.