The Department of Justice (MoJ) has issued an apology after telling a newspaper a killer’s parole dates in front of the victim’s family.
Russell Causley, now in his late 70s, was found guilty of the 1985 murder of his wife Carole Packman and sentenced to life in prison.
He was released from prison in 2020 after serving more than 23 years for murder but was returned to prison in November last year after violating his license terms.
Neil Gillingham, grandson of Causley and Ms Packman, said the family had been seeking confirmation of the details for Causley’s final parole hearing for several weeks.
But the Parole Board only confirmed them with the Bournemouth Daily Echo newspaper at the end of June.
In a statement, a MoJ spokesman said: “We deeply apologize for the distress this has caused Carole’s family and are working closely with the Parole Board to ensure this type of error does not occur again.”
Causley, who has never revealed where he hid Ms Packman’s body, is next due to face the parole board in October.
It could be one of the first public parole hearings, following a motion by Mr Gillingham who does not want his grandfather released.
Mr Gillingham told the PA news agency it took the parole board until Tuesday to tell the family why his grandfather had been taken back into custody in November – information they had been seeking for months in order to prepare appropriate parole statements.
He also criticized the parole board for its handling of the request for a public hearing and the process for the family to submit requests for the hearing.
On Wednesday he said: “I cannot accept their apology and I ask for nothing but to see them demonstrate that they accept the feedback.”
“There’s just a lack of transparency, of consideration, of sensitivity,” he added.
“At the same time, I have my grandfather using Parole Voard as a voice platform to gain access to my mother and I to change his account of how he murdered our loved one,” he said, adding that this is the psychological stress caused by himself and his family.
In 10 weeks they will release a convicted wife killer. Fact. It will happen, I accepted it. But other people have to get behind my mother and I, because if they don’t, he’ll live next to you
Neil Gillingham, grandson of killer Russell Causley
Mr Gillingham said he wanted a public parole hearing to draw attention to what he sees as the failure of legislative changes intended to make it harder to release killers who refuse to reveal the whereabouts of victims’ bodies.
“In ten weeks they will release a convicted wife killer. Fact. It will happen, I accepted it,” he said.
“But other people have to get behind my mom and I because if they don’t, he’ll live next to you.”
He added, “Seriously, how they’re treating my family, it’s just absolutely diabolical.”
The motion is the second to be received by the parole board, which is requesting a public hearing to allow the public and media to observe the proceedings following a rule change last month.