Russell Causley: grieving daughter wants to hunt down her wife killer dad after his prison release
Murderer Russell Causley has never told his daughter Sam Gillingham where he hid her mother’s body in 1985.
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A grieving daughter wants to hunt down her wife-killer father and ask where he hid her mother’s body, now that the murderer has been freed from prison.
Russell Causley made UK legal history last year when he became the first prisoner to face a public parole hearing. He was handed a life sentence for killing his wife Carole Packman, who disappeared in 1985, a year after he moved his lover into the family home in Bournemouth, Dorset.
Causley has always refused to tell their daughter, Sam Gilligham, how he disposed of her mother’s body. And, following the public parole hearing, the 79-year-old has now been freed from jail, despite still not revealing where Carole’s body is.
After hearing about her father’s release, Sam told NationalWorld: “I want to try and talk to him, I’m still trying with the restorative justice, but that’s a slow and painful process. It’ll be quicker to find out where he is and walk up beside him and talk to him: ‘Don’t run, don’t hide, I’m not going to do anything to you, but as your daughter I’d like to be able to speak to you.’”
Sam previously said she wanted to ask her father: “What the f*** is wrong with you? What is it that you’re getting out of this? Why can’t you do the right thing? How long are you going to do this for?”
She wanted to ask Causley why he used to smother food in her face as a child and lock her in her room “for lying”, when he now refuses to tell her the truth about Carole. “That’s what I’d like to talk to him about,” Sam told NationalWorld.
The Parole Board ruled last month that he was suitable to be released from prison again. On Wednesday, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) confirmed this had taken place.
Causley was first convicted of Carole’s murder in 1996, after confessing to a fellow prisoner when he was serving a sentence for insurance fraud for faking his own death. He staged a sailing accident in the Channel, before police found him and his lover Patricia Causley celebrating the insurance payout in a pub.
Police convicted him after he allegedly told a prison inmate about the “perfect” murder of his “b**** wife”, but this was quashed by the Court of Appeal in June 2003. He then faced a second trial for murder and was again found guilty. Causley was freed from prison in 2020, after serving more than 23 years for the murder, but was sent back to jail in November last year after breaching his licence conditions.
Sam - who was 16 when her mother disappeared - has been fighting for years to keep him behind bars until he tells her what happened to Carole’s body. She said today, 15 February: “It’s a battle lost, there’s nothing I can do, it’s out of my power and control. I’ve given it my best. Do I agree with it? No. I think they’re deluded, I think he’ll end up back in prison because of what he is and they’ll end up with egg on their face.”
At the parole hearing, Causley agreed that he was a “proven, habitual” liar and claimed he burned his wife’s body in the garden, while Sam was just metres away in the house. He openly admitted he has “lied consistently and changed stories consistently” about what happened to his wife.
The panel heard he previously admitted to strangling his wife and allegedly told fellow inmates he’d gassed her in a plastic bag. However he told the parole board that he’d made these up and tried to pin the blame on his lover - something the police have never found any evidence for.
Causley also said he had a great relationship with his daughter and denied committing domestic violence, despite his sentencing judge saying he “bullied and dominated” his wife for years.
The Parole Board said reviews are carried out “thoroughly and with extreme care” and protecting the public was the “number one priority”. Causley will be subject to licence conditions, including being required to live at a certain address as well as facing restrictions on his movements, activities and who he contacts.
An MoJ spokeswoman 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 to 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.”