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Husband who murdered his wife but never revealed where her body is gives ‘confession’ from jail

A husband who murdered his wife and never revealed where he dumped her body has confessed from behind bars, just weeks before his parole hearing. 

Russell Causley, now 78, killed Veronica Packman in 1985 but has never told her devastated family what happened or where he dumped her body. 

Now Causley has claimed he strangled Veronica and burned her body in the front garden of their home in Bournemouth before dumping her remains around the city, including the golf course.

The couple’s daughter Sam Gillingham, 51, who has been campaigning for the truth, and is desperate for him to stay locked in jail, hit out at her ‘proven liar’ father.

She said she fears his confession might be a cynical attempt to win over the parole board.

Ms Gillingham, who was 16 when her mother disappeared from the family’s home in Bournemouth, said that every new tale Causley spins is just more torture for her and her family.  

She said: ‘It still defies belief that we get to a parole hearing, and my father is able to just give a different story.

‘It totally messes with my head, how can he be considered for release when he’s still lying. He’s a manipulating, narcissistic murderer.

‘I feel like I’m beating my head against a brick wall – he can say whatever he wants behind bars and still be considered for release. 

‘This sits festering like an old wound which once again is flaring up to give me more pain and anxiety. I ask myself ‘Why can’t this stop?’

‘I’ve had enough of this so-called justice system that we have to work through.

‘For me each hearing just brings every single part of pain that this has given me over the last three decades. It’s like a slow torture.’ 

The confession is similar to a letter Causley wrote in 2016, claiming to reveal how he killed his wife Veronica before he later retracted it. 

Causley killed was found guilty of Veronica’s murder in 1996 after he was jailed for trying to fake his own death in a boating accident in an insurance scam. 

He was the first killer in British legal history to be found guilty without his victim’s body ever being found. 

He allegedly told a cellmate about the ‘perfect’ murder of his ‘b**** wife’.  

The 78-year-old is due to go before the Parole Board next month ahead of his possible release. 

Dorset Police told Sam and her son Neil, 30, about his alleged confession last week.  

Neil will be providing a victim impact statement at the parole hearing. He said: ‘To come up with this now is inhumane, insensitive and cruel.

‘My grandfather is an evil depraved murderer and a proven liar.

‘The whole process is so torturous for us, and if this confession is found to be false there is no way he should be released if he keeps treating us so callously.’

Dorset Police said they investigated Causley’s letters thoroughly in 2016 but could not confirm this was what happened to Veronica.   

The killer could now be released later this year.  

Causley did once before give an alleged confession in 2016 to the ITV documentary The Investigator – where he said he strangled Veronica, who also liked to be known as Carole, and burned her body. 

It read: ‘Carole was coming out of a small bedroom we used as an office.

‘Something was said by her about Samantha or Tricia, and I hit her. I’d never hit her before ever.

‘I then used a tie to cut off her airways. There was no sound from her, nothing.’   

Ms Gillingham is a vocal supporter of Helen’s Law, which places a legal duty on parole boards to consider the cruelty of killers who refuse to give the location of a victim’s remains. 

A spokeswoman said the force’s previous investigation covered many of the claims raised in the new alleged confession.

She said: ‘We cannot begin to imagine the pain and heartache that Mrs Gillingham and her family have endured over the last 30 years because of the actions of Russell Causley, who remains in prison serving a life sentence for the murder of his wife Carole Packman. 

‘This case has been thoroughly reviewed on a number of occasions by Dorset Police.’

‘Dorset Police was presented with a file following the conclusion of the ITV documentary.  

‘A detective inspector review was undertaken.

‘This comprehensive and thorough review involved taking additional statements and interviewing Patricia Ward under caution.

‘The file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service, they have considered the case and concluded there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.

‘The CPS has updated Mrs Gillingham with the result of the review.

‘Carole’s family is desperate to find out what happened to her and where her body is.

‘Dorset Police will continue to work with the family to achieve this goal.’

‘A detective inspector review was undertaken. 

‘The file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service, they have considered the case and concluded there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction. 

‘The CPS has updated Mrs Gillingham with the result of the review.

‘Carole’s family is desperate to find out what happened to her and where her body is.

‘Dorset Police will continue to work with the family to achieve this goal.’

A Parole Board spokesman said: ‘An oral hearing has been listed for the parole review of Russell Causley and is scheduled to take place in August.

‘Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public after release and whether that risk is manageable in the community.

‘The panel will carefully examine a whole range of evidence, including details of the original case and any evidence of behaviour change.

‘We do that with great care and public safety is our number one priority.’

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