Double child killer Colin Pitchfork has been arrested and recalled to prison after he was caught ‘approaching young women’.
Probation officers are understood to have become ‘concerned’ by Pitchfork’s actions after he was seen near young women while on outings.
Staff were also concerned about the killer’s attitude towards his license conditions following his release in September.
The convicted rapist and murderer was released from Leyhill prison in Goucestershire two months ago. Under the cover of darkness, the sexual predator was taken to a hostel in the south of England.
In September, it was revealed he had been placed near three schools and two nurseries, with pictures showing him prowling the streets as a free man.
Pitchfork, who was imprisoned for life in 1988 for the rape and murder of two 15-year-old girls, is facing a standard recall – which in theory means he could be re-released into public life again in 28 days.
The probation service told MailOnline Pitchfork was returned to custody on November 19 following a breach of his licence conditions.
A spokesperson said: ‘Protecting the public is our number one priority so when offenders breach the conditions of their release and potentially pose an increased risk, we don’t hesitate to return them to custody.’
His re-release will be a matter for the Parole Board – which prompted outrage earlier this year when it rejected the Government and his devastated victims’ families’ legal challenge to keep the predator behind bars.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland was unable to block the release because the board is independent of Government.
A source close to the minister told MailOnline: ‘The government opposed Pitchfork’s release by the Parole Board, but were over-ruled. There is now a root-and-branch reform of the Parole Board underway.’
A mugshot of Colin Pitchfork, the first murderer convicted and jailed using DNA evidence
Pitchfork raped and strangled Lynda Mann (right) in Narborough, Leicestershire, in November 1983 and raped and murdered Dawn Ashworth (left) three years later in the nearby village of Enderby
The parole staff said there was no suggestion the 61-year-old had been grooming any women, making contact with children or committing a criminal offence, according to the Mirror.
But sources told the Sun his past life of crime means he is almost guaranteed to go before an official Parole Board hearing within the next six months to determine his fate.
The source said it could be ‘years’ before he was released into public life again, adding: ‘Pitchfork’s licence conditions were so tough that if he stepped out of line he faced recall.
‘Now he has done just that. His behaviour caused great concern and that was behind it.
‘He kept going for long walks alone which in itself was alarming. It’s thought his attitude and fears he was hiding things were also a problem.’
Pitchfork strangled his first victim Lynda Mann, in Narborough, Leicestershire, in November 1983. He killed Dawn Ashworth three years later in the neighbouring village of Enderby.
He became the first person to be convicted using DNA evidence after he had tried to evade capture by persuading a work colleague to take a blood test for him during the murder hunt.
Reacting to the news he would be returning to a life of incarceration today, his second victim’s mother, Barbara Ashworth, said she was ‘pleased’ the child killer has been recalled to prison.
She 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.’
Pitchfork was freed after the Parole Board rejected the Government and his devastated victims’ families’ legal challenge.
In a clear indication of the threat he still posed, he was subject to some of the strictest licence conditions ever set.
The killer will wear an electronic tag so he can be monitored at all times, banned from going near the relatives of his victims and face restrictions on using the internet by himself.
He also faced on-the-spot lie detector tests to see whether he has broken any conditions.
He is also banned from approaching children and will be on the sex offenders register for life. Pitchfork’s hostel had a small garden, a pool table and runs a cooking club for residents.
Pitchfork raped and strangled Lynda in Narborough after dropping his wife off at an evening class and while his baby son slept in the back of his car.
Three years later, he raped and murdered Dawn in a similar attack in nearby Enderby.
The killer was the first criminal to be caught by the revolutionary DNA profiling process pioneered by Sir Alec Jeffreys at the University of Leicester.
He was eventually caught after the world’s first mass screening for DNA, as 5,000 men in three villages were asked to volunteer blood or saliva samples.
No matches were found.
But in 1987 a bakery colleague of Pitchfork – who had been there as an apprentice and had expressed a desire to set up his own cake-making business – was overheard boasting how he was set to receive £200 to pose as Pitchfork and give a sample.
The conversation was reported to the police and Pitchfork was later arrested. He was jailed for life in 1988.
His minimum term of imprisonment was set at 30 years, later reduced to 28 years in 2009 on appeal.
Pitchfork’s early release from a life sentence in the summer prompted furious relatives of his victims to speak out.
Barbara Ashworth, the mother of Pitchfork’s second victim Dawn Ashworth, said: ‘This man should not be breathing the same air as us. He should not be walking the streets again.’
Convicted double child killer Colin Pitchfork was spotted going for a stroll in a park near young families. The 61-year-old predator was handed a life sentence in 1988 for the rape and murder of two 15-year-old girls
Rebecca Eastwood, the sister of Pitchfork’s first victim Lynda Mann (pictured), said: ‘Why has he been placed near a number of schools? I just hope the pictures will mean people will now be able to be on their guard.’
The families of both victims have accused the Parole Board of putting children at risk by ignoring concerns from experts, especially over Pitchfork’s ‘future sexual interests’. Pictured: Pitchfork’s second victim Dawn Ashworth
Rebecca Eastwood, the sister of Pitchfork’s first victim Lynda Mann, said: ‘Why has he been placed near a number of schools? I just hope the pictures will mean people will now be able to be on their guard.’
Miss Eastwood, of Liverpool, added: ‘Please remember his face and stay clear of him and keep your children safe. There is no way a man who committed these crimes can change.’
The families of both victims had accused the Parole Board of putting children at risk by ignoring concerns from experts, especially over Pitchfork’s ‘future sexual interests’.
Alberto Costa, MP for South Leicestershire, where Pitchfork committed his crimes, 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.’
How a revolutionary DNA trial helped to snare child killer Colin Pitchfork
DNA evidence – then in its early use in criminal cases – played a key role in solving the murders of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth.
It was first used in the investigation following the death of Pitchfork’s first victim – Lynda Mann.
Then 15, Lynda was grabbed, raped and murdered as she walked home from babysitting earlier that day.
DNA was used at the start of the investigation, when a sample of semen taken from her body was found to be from a person with type-A blood.
It also matched an enzyme profile of just 10 per cent of males.
Volunteers taking tests in 1987 to help police find the murderer of Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth
But with few leads and no direct suspects, police left the case open.
In 1986, a second 15-year-old girl, Dawn Ashworth, left her home to visit a friend’s house.
When she did not return, a search was launched and, like Lynda, her body was found having been raped.
Police again found similar DNA, and with the murder having been carried out in a similar way, detectives realised they were looking for a double murderer.
Officers had another suspect in mind at the time, Richard Buckland – a 17-year-old with learning difficulties who had confessed to the second murder and had knowledge of the first. He would later be exonerated.
But it wasn’t until Sir Alec Jeffreys, a genetics researcher at nearby Leicester University, became involved that his innocence was proved.
Sir Alec first developed genetic profiling along with Peter Gill and Dave Werrett.
And he used it to compare DNA samples found on both bodies.
It proved the killer was the same person – but not Buckland.
Later, police launched a DNA drive and up to 5,000 men in three villages were asked to volunteer blood or saliva samples.
However, no matches were found.
But in 1987 a bakery colleague of Pitchfork was overheard boasting how he was set to receive £200 to pose as Pitchfork and give a sample.
The conversation was reported to the police and Pitchfork was later arrested.