A Wigan double killer is back on the streets today after a new appeal system for victims’ families failed to keep him behind bars.
Trevor and Sheila Fairhurst expressed fresh upset and disappointment that Darren Pilkington, who killed their daughter Carly in 2006, has been allowed out of prison, despite their lodging opposition to the Parole Board.
They were only the second people to be given the chance to speak out against a board decision to let the Hindley 35-year-old back into the community.
Pilkington, who was also convicted of the manslaughter of Paul Akister in 2000, has twice been recalled to jail for breaching the terms of his licence for drug-related matters after serving his sentence for 19-year-old Carly’s manslaughter.
The Fairhursts feel that he has been given more than enough chances already and that his reoffending only serves to demonstrate this and, as such, he doesn’t deserve release.
They objected on the grounds that the decision to release Pilkington was unfair and irrational.
But they have now received a letter from the Prison and Probation Service saying that their appeal did not meet the criteria for an application to be made to the Parold Board.
It says that while Pilkington may well be “institutionalised” as the Fairhursts claim, that is in itself not a reason to prevent his release. It adds that there is evidence to suggest that progress has been made in rehabilitating Pilkington in terms of drug issues since his latest recall, after the Fairhursts said that he had demonstrated an “inability to change”.
Mr Fairhurst said: “We are bitterly disappointed. This new appeal system isn’t worth the paper it is printed on.
“It turns out that our appeal wasn’t even submitted to the Parole Board. We will now have to wait for him to blot his copybook yet again and then have to go through the whole, painful processes of trying to keep him behind bars yet again. We’ve got this for the rest of our lives.
“I only thought there was a 50-50 chance of the appeal working but Sheila was more optimistic so it hit her particularly hard when we got the knock-back.”
Pilkington will again have to abide by strict licence terms which include not entering Wigan borough.
Mr Fairhurst said: “We now need the public to be our eyes and ears to make sure that he doesn’t come anywhere near here.”