Carly’s family asks: what does killer look like now?

The most recently available picture of Darren Pilkington, dating from 2006
The most recently available picture of Darren Pilkington, dating from 2006

A couple whose daughter was killed by her boyfriend want a new picture to be issued of him now that he is back on the streets.


Trevor and Sheila Fairhurst fear they might not recognise Darren Pilkington were he to breach the terms of his release and approach them - more than 12 years after he ended 19-year-old Carly Fairhurst’s life.

Sheila and Trevor Fairhurst with a picture of Carly

Sheila and Trevor Fairhurst with a picture of Carly

Much to their dismay, the Hindley family were notified by the Ministry of Justice last month that Pilkington was to be let out on licence.

And they have now been contacted again to say that he is currently in a hostel - in another part of the country - and will no longer be subjected to regular drug and alcohol tests.

It was failing a drug test last year which saw the 34-year-old - who has twice been jailed for manslaughter - put back behind bars after first being released on licence in November 2016.

But the Fairhursts believe it is only a matter of time before he lands himself on the wrong side of the law again.

Pilkington was first imprisoned for battering to death, along with his brother Andrew, Paul Akister in Hindley town centre in 2000. While in prison he and Carly became pen friends. And on his release, they struck up a relationship.

But it was an abusive one which ended in January 2006 when he attacked her and she was fatally injured in a fall downstairs.

He only contacted the emergency services hours later and concocted all sorts of other stories about how she came to be injured during ensuing investigations. Carly died several days later and Pilkington was initially charged with murder although the prosecution eventually accepted a guilty plea to manslaughter.

He would have been out sooner but, after being moved to a lower category of prison he went absent from his cell for a night and so ended up being returned to a higher security jail.

But now he has been returned to society, subject to a number of conditions which include not entering an exclusion zone described by the M6, M61 and East Lancs Road, not approaching Carly’s family or friends and not committing further crimes. To do any of those and he will again be incarcerated.

Mr Fairhurst said: “We were contacted by the Ministry of Justice to say their association with the case has now ended and that if Pilkington does anything out of line from now on we will be contacted by police.

“He has been released and is in a hostel - not round here - and they will no doubt be getting him some other kind of accommodation longer term.

“I can’t see him settling into normal life like holding a job down. The man is feral. We don’t think it will be long before he is back in trouble. I just hope there aren’t more victims as a result.

“It worries us that his appearance might have changed. I am making inquiries to see whether we can have an up-to-date image of Pilkington. I don’t suppose we will be allowed one but it is only right that people should know what he looks like so that he can be identified if he comes back here. The last image we have seen is his mugshot from 2006. He might have changed a lot since then.

“Meanwhile we have to be bitterly resigned to this killer being a free man again.”