Friday, 30 October 2015

The Criminal With Heart For Humanity

His name is Collin Pitchfork, a local baker. He raped and killed two teenage girls.

15-year-old Lynda Mann left her home to visit a  friend. She never returned. She was found strangled  the next day along a deserted footpath in the Leicestershire village of Narborough, England. The date was November 22, 1983.

About three years later, July 1986, Dawn Ashworth, from nearby Enderby, was found in almost similar circumstances in a wooded area, less than a mile from where Lynda was murdered. Dawn had taken a shortcut home from school instead of her usual route when she got attacked by her assailant who raped and killed her. She was only 15 years old.

In both cases, semen was recovered from the body of the victims. Forensic DNA analyses showed that both girls were attacked by the same person. Preferential extraction method to separate sperm from vaginal cells was used – without which it would have been difficult to use DNA in rape cases.

The semen was found to belong to a person with type A blood group and an enzyme profile, which matched 10 per cent of the adult male population.

A suspect,17-year-old Richard Buckland had been arrested initially who denied involvement to the murders. DNA profiling was used to compare the suspect's DNA and semen found at the crime scene. There was no match! The police had to set 17-year-old Richard free. That was the first time in the world, an accused person was exonerated using  DNA evidence!

The police then undertook to the screening of 5000 males in three surrounding villages for DNA samples from blood and saliva.  DNA profiling was carried out on the 10 percent who had the same blood group as the killer.

The murderer nearly escaped by asking his friend to use his own blood and sign for it as Colin Pitchfork. His friend had even learnt how to forge Colin's signature and perfected his knowledge of Colin's family history. None would have known had he not bragged to his friends in a pub about it.

Someone informed the police and Colin was arrested. His DNA  matched the semen of the two murders. He was tried, convicted  and sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in jail to life imprisonment in 1988. This means he can be eligible for release after serving 30 years in prison.

Colin Pitchfork, became the first  criminal in the world to be convicted of murder based on DNA evidence, at 27.

After serving just 20 years of the minimum 30, his sentence was reduced by a judge in 2009 to 28 years thus making him eligible for release in 2016. The judge also added that 'He cannot be released unless and until the safety of the public is assured.'

Pitchfork now has an Open University degree in Beethoven music which he obtained while in prison.
He also created a  beautiful piece of art work: sculpture of a miniature choir and orchestra of  Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. He titled it, "Bring Music To Life". He has earned £600  from this piece of art which was exhibited anonymously in the British Royal Festival Hall until the Press released it. He donated £300 to charity.

Pitchfork's sculpture: 'Bringing Music To Life'

The  chief executive of the  Trust promoting his artwork said: 'It's not relevant to us what the person's offence is. What's relevant to us is how good the art is.'

A former cabinet minister and ex-prisoner who spent 18months in jail for perjury and used that time to study new testament Greek  said "Pitchfork is rebuilding his life behind bars through rehabilitation, including, in his case, artistic endeavour. Society should be pleased by that rather than condemning him or trying to stop him from benefiting from the proceeds'.

Lynda Mann's mother, Kath, said paying her daughter's 'evil, wicked and cruel' killer for his work showed a 'lack of conscience'.. She went further to add that 'For a man who did that to be rewarded for making paperwork art - good or bad - is not right!
This man is supposed to be in prison as a punishment for what he did. He raped and killed two 15-year-old girls...and we should never forget that'.

Yes. Let's not forget that. This is the guy that raped and murdered two 15-year-old school girls. Bribed a friend to present DNA evidence in his place. The court learnt that after murdering Dawn Ashworth, he "callously" returned home to bake a cake( probably to celebrate his conquest).

The judge that reduced his minimum sentence to 28 years said of him that he (Colin Pitchfork) "...has educated himself up to the degree level, is now an expert at the transcription of printed music into Braille thereby using the opportunities he has taken to educate himself in prison to the benefit of others. He hopes to one day help the blind. This intensely specialised skill and his work is now used throughout this England and internationally with the support of the RNIB"

This evidence was presented as proof of the development of his character whilst incarcerated' by his legal team who stated that he was no longer a threat.

Are we to take Pitchfork's character transformation for genuine repentance?
Does the good done by cruel persons make them good?
Should society accept the reintroduction of such persons back after showing concrete steps to character change?
Are we championing the criminals and criminality by allowing such persons to positively impact on the society that they have  so gravely hurt and left indelible marks on them?
How do we know that a criminal most especially a murderer and rapist has been completely rehabilitated?
If you were a parent of either of the girls, would you have reacted to the news that the person who raped and murdered your 15-year-old daughter is now helping the blind to read and now has a good heart towards helping humanity?

Lynda and Dawn would have been in their 40s now...maybe with young daughters of their own.
Bringing Music To Life doesn't bring back Lynda and Dawn...Colin!

Image credits:
1st image: Leicestershire Police
2nd image: