Double killer gets new bid for freedom

Sheila and Trevor Fairhurst at their Park Road home Hindley and (below), killer Darren Pilkington
Sheila and Trevor Fairhurst at their Park Road home Hindley and (below), killer Darren Pilkington

THE parents of a Wigan domestic abuse victim are hoping that her killer’s jail “escape” bid will thwart his latest legal bid for freedom.

Trevor and Sheila Fairhurst have been given the date for Darren Pilkington’s first parole hearing since he mysteriously went unaccounted for during a night at Spring Hill Prison last year and they hope it will hold up indefinitely his attempts at being allowed back into society.

Double killer Darren Pilkington

Double killer Darren Pilkington

The hearing comes just weeks after Mrs Fairhurst was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder which medics directly link with the loss of her daughter.

The Hindley couple recently marked the ninth anniversary since 19-year-old Carly died from her injuries at the hands of her then boyfriend.

Pilkington, who had already served a previous sentence for the manslaughter of local man Paul Akister, was jailed for the same offence for his attack on Carly at a house in Ince.

He was ordered by the Liverpool Crown Court judge to serve a minimum of three years and 53 days. And while legal experts were able to reassure the Fairhursts from the outset that Pilkington was likely to spend far longer than that behind bars, the type of indeterminate sentence imposed would mean that they would be faced with the ordeal of an annual parole hearing until he finally is let out again.

It had been looking probable that Pilkington would soon be considered rehabilitated enough for him to return to society until he sparked a security alert at the open prison in Buckinghamshire last April.

The then 31-year-old was absent from his cell for nine hours before he was located, still within the precincts of the jail.

He had only been sent to the lower category institution several months earlier as an early step towards liberty but, after the security breach, he was immediately moved to a tougher jail again.

Where that is though the Fairhursts do not know. They will only be told on the eve of the hearing, which they can attend, on March 17.

Their victim impact statement which will be used alongside recommendations from the police and probation service to keep him where he is, will include news that Sheila has been confirmed to have PTSD.

Trevor said: “It has taken a long time for this to be diagnosed but it still seems a very short time since Carly died. It also illustrates the ongoing impact that Pilkington’s actions have had on us. We are hoping against hope that he does not get moved to a lower category jail because of what he did last year. This is always a difficult time of the year because it is around the anniversary of when we lost Carly. Now we must wait again for a parole hearing.”

In the meanwhile the couple’s award-winning charity work - for the Carly Fairhurst Trust which raises money for Victim Support counsellors - and their anti-domestic abuse campaigning has continued.

Sheila was recently awarded £1,000 in Tesco’s Mum of the Year competition; the Leyland-based Waitrose depot where Trevor works is further boosting funds, not least with colleague Jimmy Henderson’s taking part in the forthcoming Liverpool Marathon and staff being sponsored to walk the length of Hadrian’s Wall. The company also recently gave Jimmy £1,000 to pass on to the Carly Fund.

The Fairhursts are much in demand for police training events to give talks about their experiences and the latest spin-off from this was a cheque for £125 collected at a police Christmas carol service held in Bury.

A St Helens woman who herself has experienced domestic violence is taking part in her town’s 10k race and the Hindley Buy Sell and Swap Facebook group is planning to take part in a 26-mile bike ride from Hindley Tesco to Southport on June 6.