The grieving parents of a domestic violence victim say they are expecting a call they dread “any day now”.
Trevor and Sheila Fairhurst are bracing themselves for news of killer Darren Pilkington’s parole hearing, which could see him back on the streets within weeks.
A decade ago Pilkington, who was then dating their 19-year-old daughter Carly, pushed her downstairs at a house they were minding and left her for dead.
The critically injured Hindley teenager was on a life support system for several days before losing her battle for life.
Pilkington, now, 33, became one of the first people in British legal history to admit to two separate cases of manslaughter. He was serving a jail term for his part in the death of Hindley man Paul Akister when he first became close to Carly.
He has already served many years over his original minimum tariff, and could in fact have already been released had there not been an incident at an open prison when he was not found to be in his cell.
He was thereafter returned to a higher category jail and the system decrees that he will not return to a lower category one before release.
Mr and Mrs Fairhurst have been waiting for months to discover when the all-important parole hearing will be, when a panel will decide whether he needs to stay behind bars longer or be released on licence.
Mr Fairhurst said: “It has been an anxious wait. It’s odd because no news is good news – the longer he stays behind bars the better. But we are also waiting for the news of the hearing and it can’t be long now.
“I imagine that during the summer break it is difficult to get everyone together for consultation on his fitness to be released. You need the prison governor, a senior probation official, a representative of the Secretary of State and police.
“He is past his tariff and, since that incident at the open prison, he seems to have played the system so he could well be released. It is a worry.”
If Pilkington is allowed out there will be very strict licence terms imposed. These are likely to include not entering Greater Manchester for at least 10 years. He will also be in a hostel where he will be tested for drugs and alcohol every evening and, of course, he must make no attempt to contact the Fairhursts.
Any breach of these conditions and he will find himself back behind bars.