The first ever public parole hearing which was set to take place tomorrow for convicted killer Russel Causley, 79, has been pushed back by the Parole Board amid fears for the prisoner’s safety after his ‘release address was leaked’.
Causley, 79, killed his wife, Carole Packman, almost 40 years ago before faking his death to evade justice, and has always refused to reveal where he hid her body.
He was set to face a panel of experts tomorrow who would decide if he should be freed from prison.
In a historic move, parole bosses ruled the hearing could take place in front of members of the public, media and even the victim’s family for the first time ever in Britain.
But it has since been adjourned as it was ruled too risky.
MailOnline understands that Causley’s planned release address was ‘leaked’ to someone outside of HMP Lewes, where he is currently housed, sparking concerns for his safety should he be released.
It appears that Causley may have willingly shared the address with someone outside the prison, and it was then leaked further.
Causley was handed a life sentence in 1996 for killing Carole Packman, who disappeared in 1985, a year after he moved his lover into their home in Bournemouth, Dorset.
He initially evaded justice for the best part of a decade following her disappearance by faking his own death as part of an insurance scam.
After finally being caught, he served 23 years for the murder before being freed from prison in 2020, but was returned to jail in November last year after breaching his licence conditions.
He has previously claimed he may not give evidence at a public hearing as he believes it would breach his human rights.
Russell Causley, pictured, was handed a life sentence for killing Carole Packman who disappeared in 1985
Causley with Ms Packman and daughter Samantha. The murderer evaded justice for a decade after faking his own death
Carole Packman disappeared in 1985, a year after Causley moved his lover into their home in Bournemouth, Dorset
A spokesperson for the Parole Board confirmed: ‘The parole hearing in the case of Russell Causley, which was scheduled for Thursday, October 6, has had to be adjourned.
‘The Panel has very recently received compelling evidence that a long campaign has been undertaken not only to undermine Mr Causley’s risk management plan but also his personal safety.
‘In the circumstances the Panel has had to adjourn the Public Hearing so as to ensure it can be properly managed consistent with a fair hearing for all parties and the victims.
‘The Parole Board had ruled that this hearing would be held in public and would be the first case to allow the media and public to witness a parole review.
‘This ruling still stands and, once a new date for the hearing is confirmed, those who registered to attend will be contacted with the details.’
Carole’s daughter and grandson, Sam and Neil Gillingham have been campaigning for Causley to remain behind bars as he continues to refuse to reveal the whereabouts of his wife’s body.
The family had also been instrumental in pressuring officials to grant an open hearing for Causley, winning the backing of former Secretary of State for Justice Dominic Raab over the summer.
At the time of the bid, the killer’s grandson, Neil, 32, warned ‘callous and evil’ Causley is a menace to society, and should never have been released – as he is hopeful that his grandfather’s latest hearing will end in failure.
Neil said: ‘He is still as callous, still as evil, and still as wicked as he was 40 years ago.
‘This whole process has been so difficult and such a rollercoaster, he cannot be trusted and he is not fit for release.’
Daughter Sam reportedly said she has been left ‘speechless’ by the decision to adjourn the hearing.
The victim’s daughter and grandson, Sam and Neil Gillingham have been campaigning for Causley to remain behind bars as he continues to refuse to reveal the whereabouts of his wife’s body
Neil Gillingham (pictured) has previously described his killer grandfather of having ‘no shame’
She said after a public hearing was granted: ‘It has been a long long battle to get to this point. Without Neil, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this on my own.
‘I have felt for many years that the parole board has not been listening to me as a victim of an ongoing crime.
‘The judiciary has just not taken reality into account and I felt like they were not giving me enough.
‘Other people have the remains of their loved ones and know what happened. We don’t have that.
‘I don’t know what to expect from the parole hearing – but I am very pleased they have made the right decision.
‘It is important that they are transparent. I don’t understand how they could come to the conclusion that my father is safe to release – but if they do then I want the public to see it’.
The ban on open hearings was scrapped in 2021, with then Minister of State for Justice, Lucy Frazer QC MP saying: ‘We are mindful of the fact that parole hearings involve discussion of sensitive personal matters about prisoners and victims.
Causley had beat out fellow crook Charles Bronson to nab the first public hearing.
The 70-year-old, who goes by the name Charles Arthur Salvador, is one of the UK’s longest-serving criminals – currently banged up in HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes, Bucks.
He has been officially vying for a public hearing since July.
A date for a new hearing for Causley has not yet been set.