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Murderer will become first person in UK to face a public parole board hearing

Daisy Phillipson

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Murderer will become first person in UK to face a public parole board hearing

A man who murdered his wife will become the first person in the UK to have a public parole board hearing.

Russell Causley was convicted of the 1985 killing of his wife Carole Packman at their home in Bournemouth.

The now 79-year-old wasn't brought to justice until a decade later when he got caught attempting an insurance fraud scam while faking his own death.

Russell Causley killed his wife Carole Packman in 1985. Credit: Family Handout
Russell Causley killed his wife Carole Packman in 1985. Credit: Family Handout

Though Causley was freed from prison in 2020 after spending more than 23 years locked up for the crime, he was taken back to jail in November last year for breaching his licence conditions.

To this day, the pensioner refuses to tell authorities the whereabouts of Packman's remains.

The next hearing with the Parole Board to consider his release is due in October, and today (20 September) it was confirmed that an application for it to take place in public has been granted.

Back in June, the UK government announced changes to the law that meant for the first time in the UK, victims, members of the public and the media can ask for these hearings to be made public.

In a statement shared at the time, officials said the landmark reforms are designed to 'boost transparency and increase public confidence' in the legal system.

In Causley's case, it was his grandson Neil Gillingham who filed the application, citing what he believes to be failures in legal changes designed to make it more difficult to release murderers that conceal their victims' whereabouts.

In a previous interview with PA, Gillingham said: "My grandfather has no shame. I question whether or not he has a heart, and if he does, whether it’s made out of stone or flesh.

"My whole life has been tainted by my grandfather and I want a public hearing to scrutinise the man who has impacted on me for so long."

According to a document outlining the decision made by Parole Board chairman Caroline Corby, Causley did not want the ruling to go ahead and suggested he may refrain from providing further evidence if it did.

Causley's grandson Neil Gillingham applied for the parole board hearing to be made public. Credit: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo
Causley's grandson Neil Gillingham applied for the parole board hearing to be made public. Credit: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

However, Corby said: "In the application for a public hearing in the case of Mr Causley, I have decided that there are special features, which set it apart from other cases, which may add to the proper public understanding of the parole system."

She concluded: "I have carefully considered Mr Causley’s representations and have concluded that the interests of justice outweigh the points raised on Mr Causley’s behalf.

"I therefore grant the application for the hearing to be held in public."

Elsewhere in the document, the board explained that while the 'primary focus of the hearing will be the reasons for recall and the assessment of risk', it will also be the 'first opportunity for the public to see how the Parole Board approaches this issue at a hearing'.

Featured Image Credit: Family Handout

Topics: UK News, Crime

Daisy Phillipson
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