Press Centre

The Investigator: A British Crime Story

  • Episode: 

    3 of 4

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Thu 28 Jul 2016
  • TX Confirmed: 

    Yes
  • Time: 

    9.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 30 2016 : Sat 23 Jul - Fri 29 Jul
  • Channel: 

    ITV
“People have said to me, ‘Okay, forget it. Just leave it. It's 30 years now.’ And you just think to yourself, 'If it was your mother, would you leave it?'” - Sam Gillingham, Carole Packman’s daughter
 
Mark Williams-Thomas returns to ITV for an explosive and ground-breaking new investigative series that shows how real life crime can be far more compelling than fiction.
 
Williams-Thomas, the award-winning former police detective who unmasked Jimmy Savile as the UK’s most notorious paedophile, re-examines a previously ‘closed’ and chilling murder case, which has baffled detectives for more than 30 years.
 
The murder of Carole Packman, whose body has never been found, continues to affect the lives of many of those involved and as Williams-Thomas discovers, the shocking tale of murder, fraud, deceit and lies has left family members desperate for answers.
 
In a UK television first, The Investigator: A British Crime Story, will follow the case over four explosive episodes, combining stylized drama with compelling documentary.
 
In June 1985 the wife and mother mysteriously disappeared and has never been seen since. Her husband Russell Causley is now serving a life sentence for her murder, yet no body has ever been found. Throughout the case he pleaded his innocence and refused to talk. After Carole’s disappearance, a woman turned up at a police station claiming to be her, saying she was safe and well.
 
Russell had begun an affair with an employee in his new insurance business - Patricia Causley, who at 26 was much younger than him. She moved in with the couple in Westbourne having sold her own flat and given them the proceeds, and says the marriage was already breaking down.
 
Evidence emerged that after Carole’s disappearance, Patricia was working in Canada alongside Russell and using Carole's name. After returning to Britain, Russell was jailed for insurance fraud after faking his own death by  supposedly falling from a yacht off Guernsey. This caused suspicious police to look more closely into the disappearance of his wife.
 
In the third episode, Mark investigates evidence that Patricia impersonated Carole to fraudulently transfer the title deeds of the matrimonial home into her and Russell's names. Mark's investigation also puts him in contact with an ex-boyfriend of Patricia, who discusses his conversations with her. 
 
Having written several letters to Patricia, Mark receives a response in which she admits to using Carole’s work permit in Canada, but not to using her identity. She also says there was dishonesty involved in the conveyance of the title deeds to her name but that this was known to the police and courts at the time. Patricia says Carole’s disappearance did not surprise her as she had told her she wanted to leave, and states that she did not know that Carole had been murdered.
 
Nine years after Carole’s disappearance police launched a national publicity campaign appealing for information, which led to new witnesses coming forward. Detective Tony Nott says two prisoners came forward saying Russell had spoken to them while serving his sentence for fraud, about ‘getting rid of his wife’ by burial in a cemetery or disposal in acid. Tony says:“Russell is all the time seeking reassurance that if the police can’t find the body, then he's gonna be okay.”
 
Police arrested Russell and Patricia in connection with the murder of Carole Packman and carried out extensive searches of his property for Carole’s remains. Nothing was found, but Russell was charged with Carole's murder. Patricia was not charged with anything. As the trial approached, police still had no body. Daughter Sam, meanwhile, faced up to giving evidence against her father in court. She says: “I said something or other and he smirked. I remember actually looking across at him and saying, 'You may well smirk. This isn't funny. This really is not funny to have to do this.'”
 
Russell Causley was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. At the start of his investigation, Mark discovered that in summer 2014 Patricia broke off her relationship with Russell, prompting him to write a series of letters from jail. One of the letters contains something key to Mark’s investigation - a full confession. In it, Russell writes: “Carole was coming out of a small bedroom that 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.”
 
He says he burned her body, but the police say his account does not sound plausible. If the letter is true, says Mark, then it could lead to finding Carole’s remains. He contacts a specialist, Dr John Dehaan, who confirms it is true that a body could be reduced to ashes on a bonfire. So Mark decides to conduct his own scientific test to find out.