Victim’s daughter ‘disappointed’ as UK first sees killer paroled after public hearing

Russell Causley has never revealed where he hid Carole Packman’s body

Russell Causley with wife Carole and daughter Samantha. PA
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The wife murderer who was the subject of the UK’s first public parole hearing can be freed, officials ruled on Thursday, sparking criticism from the victim's family.

Russell Causley, who has never revealed where he hid Carole Packman’s body, can be released from prison, the Parole Board said on Thursday.

Their daughter Samantha Gillingham, from Northamptonshire, said she was “disappointed” at the decision but now hoped to confront her father.

Causley’s case made UK legal history last year when he became the first prisoner to face a public parole hearing.

“After considering the circumstances of his offending and time on licence, the progress made while in custody and the evidence presented at the hearings, the panel was satisfied that Mr Causley was suitable for release,” the Parole Board said.

A panel of three parole judges considered Causley’s evidence, testimony from probation officials and more than 650 pages of information including a victim-impact statement before making their decision.

During the hearing, which took place in Lewes prison, East Sussex, relatives, members of the public and journalists watched the proceedings on a live video link from the Parole Board’s offices in Canary Wharf, London.

Russell Causley can be freed. PA

Causley insisted that he “loved” his wife but also told how he “adored” his mistress.

The panel of parole judges also urged him to come clean about Ms Packman’s death.

A summary of their decision described Causley as a “self-confessed liar” who both “maintains that he is innocent” and “does accept that he disposed of her body”.

Causley will be subject to “strict” licence conditions, including being required to live at a certain address, and have restrictions on his movements, activities and contacts.

Ms Gillingham called the parole process a “tick-box exercise”.

Samantha Gillingham: 'We still don’t know where my mother is.' PA

“There isn’t really anything that I can appeal on,” she said.

“They’ve heard that he’s a compulsive liar. Nothing can be believed. We still don’t know where my mother is.”

She also described laws, intended to make it harder for killers to get parole if they refuse to reveal where they hid their victim’s body, as “not worth the paper it is written on”.

Causley was handed a life sentence for killing Ms Packman, who disappeared in 1985 from the family home in Bournemouth, Dorset.

He evaded justice for the best part of a decade by faking his own death as part of an insurance scam.

Causley was first convicted for murder in 1996 only for that to be quashed by the Court of Appeal in 2003. He was found guilty again at a second trial.

He was freed from prison in 2020 after serving more than 23 years for the murder but was sent back to jail the following year after breaching his licence conditions.

Updated: January 05, 2023, 8:33 PM