Man who killed wife 35 years ago but won’t say where body is released from jail

News

The grandson of a man who murdered his wife 35 years ago but refused to reveal how he disposed of her body has called the decision to set him free as a “slap in the face” for her family.

Russell Causley was jailed for life for killing Carole Packman a year after he moved his lover into their home in Bournemouth, Dorset.

The Parole Board found that, while the 78-year-old’s refusal to reveal the whereabouts of her remains is “heartless”, it does not increase his risk to the public.

His grandson, Neil Gillingham, from London, said: “It’s a slap in the face – we are absolutely disgusted as a family.

“What is quite shocking is my grandfather has changed his version of events but at no point has anyone held him to account for that, no-one has said it’s unacceptable behaviour.

“If they cannot control my grandfather and his behaviour from within a prison cell, what hope have they to do it on the outside?

“I refute today’s decision and I will appeal it. I do not believe it is a logical decision, I do not think it’s rational.

“There is no justice, at the end of the day. The Prisoners (Disclosure of Information about Victims) Bill isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”

A summary of the Parole Board decision, published on Tuesday, said: “The panel took into account the fact that, whilst Mr Causley had given various imprecise accounts of how he had disposed of his victim’s body, he had never revealed the location of his victim’s remains.

“This had caused continuing anguish to his family. The panel concluded that this showed a lack of remorse and victim empathy and that he was a habitual liar.

“However, whilst heartless, the panel concluded that this lack of openness and honesty did not significantly affect the risk that he would cause serious harm in the community which was ultimately the test that must be applied.”

Legislation is currently going through Parliament which would deny parole to killers who refuse to reveal the whereabouts of their victim’s body.

The Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Bill, dubbed Helen’s Law, has been backed by MPs and peers.

It is named after Helen McCourt, whose murderer, Ian Simms, was released from prison earlier this year despite never revealing the whereabouts of her body.

Her mother, Marie McCourt, 77, attempted to overturn the Parole Board decision to release pub landlord Simms, but this was rejected by High Court judges.

Marie McCourt told Loose Women she believed people who don’t reveal where the bodies of their victims are should stay in prison

The campaign for a law forcing the Parole Board to consider a prisoner’s lack of cooperation was launched in the Mirror in 2015 by Mrs McCourt.

Causley, whose risk has been assessed as medium, will be expected to live at a specified address, wear an electronic tag and submit to a curfew, as well as comply with supervision by probation staff.

A Parole Board spokesman said: “Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released, and whether that risk is manageable in the community.

“The panel carefully examined a whole range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as understood the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.

“The Parole Board has a huge amount of sympathy for families of victims who have never been found and appreciates the pain and anguish this causes.

“The panel is, however, bound by law to focus solely on whether an offender’s continued detention is necessary for the protection of the public.”

Carole Packman disappeared in the summer of 1985, and eight years later Causley faked his own death as part of an insurance scam.

This triggered the police to reinvestigate Mrs Packman’s disappearance, and Causley was convicted of murder in 1996.

However, that conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal in June 2003, and he faced a second trial for murder.

He was again convicted at a retrial at Exeter Crown Court in April 2004.