Killer of mother whose body was never found to be released from prison

A man who murdered his wife in 1985 and refused to reveal how he disposed of her body is to be released from prison.

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 was “heartless”, it did not increase his risk to the public.

A summary of its 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.

Causley with Carole Packman and daughter Samantha
Causley with Carole Packman and daughter Samantha

“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.”

The panel assessed his risk as medium, and decided that this could be managed while he was living in the community.

He 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.”

Neil Gillingham, Russell Causley's grandson
Neil Gillingham, Russell Causley's grandson

Causley’s grandson, Neil Gillingham, said last month that his grandfather’s refusal to provide details over his grandmother’s death had “plagued” his life.

He made a statement to the Parole Board opposing Causley’s release, and said he believed his grandfather still posed a threat to his family.

He told the PA news agency: “I do not think he can be trusted around women, around my mum or around me, it’s been acknowledged he poses a physical risk to me and an emotional risk to my mum.

“There is a risk and we do not believe we can mitigate against that.”

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 over the death of Mrs Packman at a retrial at Exeter Crown Court in April 2004.