Last ditch bid to stop killer’s release

Double killer Darren Pilkington
Double killer Darren Pilkington
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PROBATION officials are making a special appeal to the Justice Secretary to prevent a Wigan double killer from being released from prison.

The family of Hindley teen Carly Fairhurst fear that Darren Pilkington is going to be declared suitable for release after his latest parole board hearing.

Carly Fairhurst

Carly Fairhurst

And because he has once before absconded from an open prison, under current rules, he cannot be sent to another open prison as a stepping stone to freedom.

That means a greater likelihood of his being liberated on licence straight from one of a new breed of higher security “progressive” jails where he is currently under lock and key.

But Trevor and Sheila Fairhurst, whose 19-year-old daughter was killed by Pilkington eight years ago this month, say probation experts are writing to the Government asking to make a exception for the 33-year-old because Carly wasn’t his first victim.

Back in 2000 Pilkington and his brother battered Hindley man Paul Akister to death in the town centre. Indeed it was while Pilkington was in jail serving that manslaughter sentence that he and Carly became friends.

After his release they became an item and, although he domestically abused her before the fatal attack, she kept the violence from her parents who disapproved of the relationship.

Pilkington earlier this month had what is called a “paper hearing” before the parole board at his prison (whose location has not been disclosed) at which witnesses do not generally testify. But Carly’s parents have been told that their latest victim impact statement, in which they express how the tragedy still deeply affects them to this day, was read out in evidence against his release.

But the couple are preparing for the worst. Mr Fairhurst said: “We have to wait for the parole board’s verdict now and it could be a couple of months. But we are having to face up to the reality of him being let out.

“The probation people have told us that they are writing to the Secretary of State (Michael Gove) asking to make an exception in Pilkington’s case. Because he blotted his copybook by disappearing from his cell while previously at an open prison, under the current rules, he cannot go back to one now. Instead he is one of these ‘progressive prisons’ from which you are eventually let straight out into the community.

“The probation people are trying to raise the point that Pilkington is a special case because he has been jailed twice for two separate manslaughters and should at least go into open conditions again.

“We are not holding out much hope of success. If they do decide to release him we have been told it would probably be in the autumn.”

The terms of any licence would prevent Pilkington from returning to the area. Any breach of those terms could put him back in jail.