Wigan double killer was re-jailed for having a secret girlfriend

A double killer who ended the life of his 19-year-old girlfriend was re-jailed because he struck up a new relationship behind the authorities’ backs, his victim’s horrified parents have learnt.

Thursday, 8th October 2020, 9:50 am
Updated Thursday, 8th October 2020, 9:54 am
Darren Pilkington

Darren Pilkington, who was convicted for the manslaughter of Carly Fairhurst in 2006, was recently granted release from his latest custodial spell after the parole board heard he had “behaved well” in prison.

But Trevor and Sheila Fairhurst, who intend to appeal against the decision, say their “blood ran cold” when they finally discovered the cause of the 38-year-old’s latest licence breach because they fear he is uncurably violent and will strike again.

A written judgement shows that Pilkington, who was also jailed along with his brother Andrew for the 2000 manslaughter of Paul Akister in Hindley town centre, had failed in January this year to disclose that he had started a relationship “which had serious implications for others and which cast doubt on Mr Pilkington’s openness with his probation officer.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sheila and Trevor Fairhurst with a picture of daughter Carly

“Given the circumstances, the panel found the decision to recall him to custody a third time had been appropriate.” Pilkington had initially been released from his sentence for killing Carly in 2016 but was put back behind bars for two other breaches that year and in 2018.

The Fairhursts, who have been having to provide victim impact statements trying to prevent Pilkington’s release from his original sentence and subsequent rejailings for the past 12 years, say they have no faith in his being a reformed character and fear that another life will be lost.

Mr Fairhurst, 66, said: “I was speaking to a prison officer recently and he said they have a ‘three strikes and out’ policy these days which means Pilkington would have to kill again before they’ll lock him up for good.

“Our blood ran cold when we saw finally what he had done to get locked up again in January. If he is trying to get a new girlfriend without informing the authorities, that’s frightening when you think might what happen to that girl.

“He hasn’t been released yet and we have a chance to appeal, our objections having to be in by October 19. We don’t hold out much hope though. We just keep wondering what it will take for the authorities to realise that this guy is a permanent danger to society and should be kept behind bars.

“We keep having to go through all these appeals and submissions of victim impact statements. It keeps everything very raw and we were devastated to hear he was being released again.”

Carly and Pilkington struck up a pen friend relationship while the latter was in jail for Mr Akister’s manslaughter. On release they started going out, much to the concerns of the teen’s parents.

After her death, the Fairhursts discovered that Pilkington had attacked Carly on several occasions but she kept it from them. Then on a fateful night in late January 2006, the couple were minding a house for a friend in Ince when they had a row at the top of the stairs and Pilkington pushed his girlfriend down them.

He then left her there all night, badly injured and only rang 999 the next morning, at first pretending that he had only just come in to find her. He was arrested for assault and, when Carly lost her battle for life in hospital several days later, he was re-arrested on suspicion of murder.

At court the prosecution accepted a manslaughter guilty plea and he received an indeterminate sentence.

The parole board decision summary that the Fairhursts have just received say that at the time of Carly’s death Pilkington’s character had been one of using of “violence and aggression to exert control and maintain his reputation.”

He had also misused alcohol and illicit drugs and had mixed with anti-social people. “He had had difficulties managing extremes of emotion, especially feelings of anger, and had acted impulsively – not thinking sufficiently about the consequences of his actions. He had entered into casual relationships to boost his self-esteem but, in his relationships, he had tended to use coercion and control to resolve conflicts,” the report added.

But it said that since his latest recall, he had behaved well. “The official supervising his case in prison showed how Mr Pilkington had used a mature approach to problem-solving. His probation officer agreed Mr Pilkington had made positive changes. Both agreed that re-release could be safe at this stage and that transfer to open conditions was not necessary.

“In this case, protective factors which would reduce the risk of reoffending were considered to be his developing insight, a strong motivation to succeed outside prison, and improved attitudes towards the staff supporting him. Mr Pilkington had the offer of employment on release.”

It was decided that it was safe to release him, on condition that he;

• Complies with requirements to reside at a designated address, to be of good behaviour, to disclose developing relationships, and to report as required for supervision or other appointments;

• Submits to an enhanced form of supervision or monitoring including a specified curfew and drug testing as required ;

• Respects other identified limitations concerning named contacts, his activities and residency, and an exclusion zone set to avoid contact with victims (which encompasses all of Wigan borough): and

• Continues to work on addressing defined areas of risk in the community.

The Wigan Observer and Wigan Post are more reliant than ever on your taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism. For unlimited access to Wigan news and information online, you can subscribe here: https://www.wigantoday.net/subscriptions