One of the UK's most prestigious performing arts centres apologised today after it emerged a sculpture in one of its buildings was the work of a man who raped and murdered two children.
The Southbank Centre said it had removed the model of an orchestra, made from delicately folded sheet music, from the Royal Festival Hall (RFH).
The piece was attributed to an anonymous prisoner, but The Times said it was created by Colin Pitchfork, who was jailed for life two decades ago for the murders of two schoolgirls in Leicestershire.
The Southbank Centre bought the work – entitled Bringing Music to Life – for £600 (€663.91) after it was featured in an exhibition of prisoners’ art organised by the Koestler Trust, which encourages inmates to create art and helps them exhibit and sell their work.
The centre refused to confirm the identity of the artist, but a spokeswoman said: “We very much regret any offence that we’ve caused and have taken the artwork off display.
“We are presently in conversation with the Koestler Trust about future policy.”
Pitchfork was jailed at Leicester Crown Court in 1988 after pleading guilty to two offences of murder, two of rape, two offences of indecent assault and one offence of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
His first victim was 15-year-old Lynda Mann, of Narborough, who was murdered in 1983. Dawn Ashworth, also 15, from Enderby, was killed in 1986. Both girls were raped and strangled.
Pitchfork has launched an appeal against the 30-year tariff set on his sentence last August following a review by a British High Court judge.
The baker was the first person in the world to be convicted of murder on the basis of DNA evidence.
He was caught after the first ever mass screening for DNA, in which 5,000 men in three villages were asked to volunteer blood or saliva samples.