Page last updated at 16:44 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 17:44 UK

Murderer petition taken off site

Colin Pitchfork
Colin Pitchfork has won his appeal in court

A petition calling for a murderer to be kept behind bars has been banned from the Downing Street website.

In 1988 Colin Pitchfork, now 48, became the first man to be convicted of murder on the basis of DNA evidence after he killed two Leicestershire schoolgirls.

The Court of Appeal is currently considering a bid to reduce his minimum 30-year tariff.

But a Number 10 spokesperson said the site could not be used for an individual legal case.

Pitchfork, who murdered 15-year-olds Lynda Mann in 1983 and Dawn Ashworth in 1986, claims 30 years is "manifestly" excessive.

Behind bars

Last month the Court of Appeal reserved its decision on the case.

Relatives of Lynda Mann were reported saying they wanted Pitchfork to spent the rest of his life behind bars and were upset by Number 10's decision.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "Under the terms and conditions of e-petitions, we can't put up petitions that are particular to an individual case.

"There's always the option for the family to re-word their petition, as long as it would then fit within the terms and conditions."

Pitchfork was caught after the world's first mass screening for DNA - in which 5,000 men in three villages were asked to volunteer blood or saliva samples.

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