Convicted murderer Russell Causley who never revealed location of wife's body released from prison

15 February 2023, 17:06 | Updated: 15 February 2023, 17:38

Convicted murderer Russell Causley (L), who has never revealed where he hid his wife's body, has been released from prison after over two decades behind bars.
Convicted murderer Russell Causley (L), who has never revealed where he hid his wife's body, has been released from prison after over two decades behind bars. Picture: Family handout(s)

By Chris Samuel

Convicted murderer Russell Causley, who has never revealed where he hid his wife's body, has been released from prison after over two decades behind bars.

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Mr Causley became the first UK prisoner to face a public hearing last year, with journalists and the public invited to watch proceedings for the first time.

He was given a life sentence for killing his wife Carole Packman in 1985, who vanished a year after Causley moved his lover into the family home in Bournemouth.

He was released from prison in 2020 after serving over 23 years for murder, but was sent back the following year for breaching his licence conditions.

Last month, the parole board ruled it was suitable for Causley to be released from prison again, with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) confirming that it had taken place.

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Causley and Ms Packman’s daughter Samantha Gillingham previously said she was “disappointed” by the decision to free her father again, describing the parole process as a “tick-box exercise”.

She added: “There’s nothing that I can do about it… We still don’t know where my mother is.”

Russell Causley became the first UK prisoner to face a public hearing last year.
Russell Causley became the first UK prisoner to face a public hearing last year. Picture: Family Handout

Ms Gillingham still hopes to meet Causley, following decades of asking to confront him over the disappearance of her mother.

The Parole Board said that reviews are conducted “thoroughly and with extreme care” and that protecting the public was the “number one priority”.

Causley married wife Carole Packman in 1965
Causley married wife Carole Packman in 1965. Picture: Family handout

At the review hearing in Lewes prison, East Sussex, Causley admitted he had lied and "changed stories consistently" but denied murdering Ms Packman.

Causley must adhere to licence conditions, including the requirement to live at a certain address, and restrictions on his movements, activities and who he contacts.

Carol Packham vanished a year after Causley moved his lover into the family home in Bournemouth.
Carol Packham vanished a year after Causley moved his lover into the family home in Bournemouth. Picture: Family handout

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice said: "We know this will be an incredibly difficult time for Carole Packman's family, but Russell Causley will be under close supervision for the rest of his life and can be recalled from prison if he breaches the strict conditions of his release."

“Our parole reforms will stand up for the rights of victims in cases like this, making public safety the overriding factor in parole decisions and adding a Ministerial veto on release of the most serious offenders.”

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