Wigan family's heartache as killer is released from prison

Double killer Darren Pilkington
Double killer Darren Pilkington
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Wigan double killer Darren Pilkington is a free man again.


The parents of his second victim Carly Fairhurst received the phone call they had been dreading from the Ministry of Justice this week, informing them that the 34-year-old has been released from his latest prison stint incurred for a breach of parole.

Sheila and Trevor Fairhurst with a picture of their beloved daughter Carly

Sheila and Trevor Fairhurst with a picture of their beloved daughter Carly

Pilkington had originally been allowed out from his second manslaughter jail term in November 2016 but, six months later, was back behind bars after tests found he had been taking drugs.

His incarceration had already been extended after going absent from his cell for a night, which prompted a return to a higher security institution. And he had previously served another prison term, along with his brother Andrew, for battering to death Hindley man Paul Akister in 2000.

Carly’s parents, Sheila and Trevor, firmly believe that Pilkington is beyond rehabilitation, that it will only be a matter of time before he breaks his licence again and that in doing so there could be further victims of his crimes.

A parole hearing was held at his prison last month and, despite a fresh impact statement from the Fairhursts imploring the board to keep him behind bars, it was decided that he should be freed.

Carly Fairhurst

Carly Fairhurst

The same restrictions will be imposed on him as last time including not entering an exclusion zone roughly described as by the M6, M61 and East Lancs Road and not contacting Carly’s family or friends.

Other restrictions include initially living at an approved probation hostel and be under curfew from 9pm to 7am; and also sign in daily at the hostel at both 11am and 4pm.

If Pilkington forms a romantic relationship he must inform the authorities, he undergoes regular drug and alcohol tests and officials will also be looking out for any unusual behaviour changes. Pilkington also has to complete a number of courses while in the hostel.

Failure to abide by any of the conditions will see him back inside.

Paul Akister

Paul Akister

The Fairhursts have been told that Pilkington has no wish to come back to the area and, indeed, he is not thought to have done so when last he was free.

But they are still very concerned.

Trevor said: “It was the news we didn’t want to hear. He is out of prison, has completed his induction and is now residing at a hostel somewhere.

“As far as we are concerned the clock is ticking. It is only a matter of time before he is back in trouble and it is a big worry who might get damaged in the crossfire. It’s very upsetting to know our daughter’s killer is free again.”