Double killer back in prison just weeks after he was released

Darren Pilkington has spent 18 years in and out of high security jails for failing to abide by strict release conditions
-Credit: (Image: Police handout)

A double killer is back in prison just weeks after he was freed.

Darren Pilkington, 41, has spent much of the past two decades behind bars. He was jailed for manslaughter in 2006, having pushed his girlfriend Carly Fairhurst, 19, down the stairs during a late-night row at a house in Higher Ince, Wigan.

Pilkington left her with critical injuries for 12 hours before he phoned for an ambulance. Carly did not ever regain consciousness and died the following week.

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The offence in 2006 was Pilkington’s second manslaughter conviction. He was jailed in 2001 at the age of 15, for beating to death Paul Akister, 30, outside a pub in Hindley.

The M.E.N reports that Pilkington was released from jail earlier this year. He had spent 18 years in and out of high-security jails for failing to abide by strict release conditions.

When he was allowed to stay in an open prison in 2022, he absconded and went on the run for three days. Despite the slew of offences, earlier this year the Parole Board recommended that he was fit to leave prison and live in a bail hostel, monitored with an electronic tag and subject to a curfew.

Carly's parents, Trevor and Sheila Fairhurst, said at the time they were "disgusted" by the Parole Board decision. Now just six weeks later Pilkington is back in prison after breaching his licence conditions once again.

A HM Prison and Probation Service spokesperson said: “Offenders released on licence are subject to strict conditions and we do not hesitate to recall them to custody if they break the rules.”

Pilkington, who now goes by the name Darren Carr, was given a sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP) after he was jailed over Carly's death. This meant he only had to serve a minimum sentence of little more than three years before he could start repeatedly trying to prove he was fit for release.

Following previous decisions to release Pilkington into the community, he has been returned to secure prisons for breaking the terms of his licenses.

In 2022, he absconded from Kirkham Open Prison and was on the run for three days before being captured in Horwich. This was close to an exclusion zone that surrounds Wigan borough where Carly's parents still live, an area he is forbidden from entering.

A parole hearing earlier this year decided that he should be released on licence, subject to strict conditions. These included living at a designated address, keeping away from the exclusion zone, staying on the right side of the law and submitting to enhanced supervision, including a curfew and electronic tracking.

Against him, the hearing heard there were a number of risk factors from his past. These included his attitudes towards violence and crime, his choice of a negative peer group, misuse of both alcohol and drugs, communication difficulties and a generally unstable lifestyle.

The board was also told that since his latest incarceration, his behaviour had been "generally good, that he had a trusted prison job and had obtained a vocational qualification." And they also heard that "there had been no evidence of any violent behaviour."

He had also completed work on alcohol, relapse prevention and managing boredom and stress, they were told. And he had remained on a specialist unit for those committed to recovering from their addictions and was considered to have developed a good level of insight into the risks associated with his drug use.

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