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Carole Packman murder: Russell Causley parole to be 'reconsidered'

By Toby Wadey
BBC News Online

Published
image copyrightFamily handout
image captionAviation engineer Russell Causley murdered his wife Carole Packman in 1985

The decision to release a murderer who has never revealed the whereabouts of his wife's body will be reviewed after his family lodged an appeal.

Russell Causley, who killed Carole Packman in Bournemouth in 1985, was due to be granted parole next week.

However, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has since asked for that decision to be reconsidered.

Causley's grandson, Neil Gillingham, said: "We welcome the intervention and hope common sense prevails."

Mr Gillingham, 30, told the BBC: "Russell Causley is an evil and calculating killer who should not be allowed to be released while he so arrogantly refuses to say what he did with my grandmother's body.

"Granting him parole would be an affront to justice and an insult to Carole's memory."

image captionNeil Gillingham said he believes his grandfather is still "wicked and arrogant"

Causley, now 77, evaded justice for a decade after his wife went missing.

His crime was only exposed when he made a botched attempt to fake his own death as part of an elaborate insurance fraud.

He has repeatedly changed his account of what happened to Mrs Packman, whose family have said they felt he was "laughing" at them when the Parole Board recommended his release.

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionCausley, pictured in the 1980s, was jailed for fraud after a botched attempt to fake his own death

The family formally challenged the "irrational" decision to set Causley free, and claimed that he posed an ongoing threat to their safety.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: "This was a despicable crime and our deepest sympathies remain with Carole Packman's family, particularly given they have not been able to lay her to rest.

"After carefully considering the Parole Board's decision, the Lord Chancellor has asked for it to be reconsidered."

Causley was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 16 years. He has been eligible for parole since 2012.

The Parole Board previously said it was sympathetic to the family but that the panel was "bound by law to focus solely on whether an offender's continued detention is necessary for the protection of the public".

What happened to Carole Packman?

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionCarole Packman disappeared in 1985

Aviation engineer Causley moved his lover Patricia Causley - whose surname he took after they had an affair - into the family home on Ipswich Road, Bournemouth, in 1984.

The day before her disappearance in 1985, Mrs Packman - then aged 40 - had visited a solicitor to inquire about a divorce.

She was later reported missing by their teenage daughter Samantha, who had witnessed Causley physically and psychologically abusing her mother.

However, Dorset Police reported that Mrs Packman had turned up at a police station to say she was safe and to stop searching for her.

Detectives involved in the case have since admitted the force made a "major mistake" by not making basic identity checks and now believe the woman at the police station was not Mrs Packman.

The case was then closed for nearly a decade until 1993, when Causley was caught trying to claim £790,000 in life insurance after faking his own death on a boating trip.

He was convicted of murder in 1996 before the conviction was quashed in 2003. A retrial the following year found him guilty again and he was jailed for life.

Related Topics

  • Bournemouth

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