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Last Updated: Friday, 28 January 2005, 15:56 GMT
How failed marriage led to murder
As Gordon Park begins a life sentence for the murder of his wife Carol - the "Lady in the Lake" - BBC News examines how an apparently happy marriage ended in death.

Carol Park
Mrs Park had left her husband for another man

Gordon and Carol Park were "love's young dream" when they married in 1967.

But when she disappeared nine years later, Park did not report her missing for six weeks, claiming he assumed she had left him for another man.

"She had lost a lot of the sparkle that you have heard people talk about - the joie de vivre, the spontaneity," he told his murder trial.

Mrs Park, then aged 30, disappeared from her home at Leece, near Barrow, in July 1976.

Couple 'wife-swapped'

Twenty-one years later she was found weighed down and wrapped in bin liners by amateur divers at Coniston Water in 1997. She soon became known as the Lady in the Lake.

Coniston water
Mrs Park's body was found in Coniston Water
Mr Park, 61, was originally arrested in that year, but the charge was dropped due to "insufficient evidence". The husband publicly declared his innocence at the time.

But he has now been found guilty by a jury at Manchester Crown Court of murdering his wife.

The court heard the relationship hit the rocks shortly after the couple adopted Mrs Park's sister's child and had their first baby.

They both subsequently had affairs and during a police interview in 1997 Park admitted to a wife-swapping encounter.

Couple rowed

The trial was told that at one point in 1974 Carol met a man called David Brearley, from the North East, while on a course at Keele University.

She left her husband but returned in July 1975 to be with her children. Again she moved away and returned to be near her children.

Broughton-in-Furness guest house owner Ann Walker, who became friends with Mrs Park after she moved out of her home to be with lover Mr Brearley, said the murder victim initially believed she had a good marriage.

Gordon Park
Gordon Park said his wife had lost her joie de vivre

She described Carol Park as "friendly, open, very clever and ambitious."

"Carol thought she had made a good marriage. The Parks were somebody in Barrow.

"She thought she had made a good match, but it wasn't long before she realised that she had got a rather controlling man who was very difficult to live with.

"She said she could judge his tempers when he was going to be volatile."

She said Mrs Park sometimes asked her husband Derek for help.

"Once or twice when she went into the village to meet her husband, she asked if Derek could go and bring her back because there would be times when she wouldn't dare get in the car with him.

"So there was a certain element of fear there even two years before she died."


SEE ALSO:
Woman's lover describes 'chaos'
29 Nov 04 |  Cumbria


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