The Serial Homicide Case of the Day, from "Hunting Humans, the Encyclopedia of 20th Century Serial Killers" , by Michael Newton
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In November 1983, 15-year-old Lynda Mann was raped and strangled to death in the village of Enderby, Leicestershire. British police were still hunting for suspects three years later, when 15-year-old Dawn Ashworth was killed in identical fashion, in neighboring Narborough. Convinced that a local man was responsible for both crimes, police requested blood samples from all area males, ages 13 to 30, for purposes of testing their DNA "genetic fingerprints." By July 1987, 3,556 individuals had been cleared of involvement in the crimes - including a 17-year-old from Narborough, booked on suspicion of the Ashworth murder.
Of 4,196 men in the area, only two refused to submit blood samples. One provided officers with "a legitimate excuse," while Colin Pitchfork - a 27-year-old bakery worker from Littlethorpe - seemed curiously evasive. He skipped three test appointments during January 1987, finally bribing a co-worker to donate blood in his name. By August, Pitchfork's friend was feeling guilty, and he tipped police, leading to Colin's arrest. Detectives finally got their sample, positively linking Pitchfork with both homicides, while his friend was charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
A review of Pitchfork's record turned up prior convictions for indecent exposure, and the scientific evidence prompted his confession to the recent crimes. In January 1988, he pled guilty on two counts of murder, plus two counts of indecent assault, and was sentenced to double terms of life imprisonment, with two concurrent ten-year sentences for rapes of victims who survived. His friend, convicted of conspiracy, was jailed for 18 months.
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