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Last Updated: Monday, 22 March, 2004, 17:07 GMT
Missing wife 'killed by husband'
A man moved a lover into his marital home then murdered his wife nearly 19 years ago, a court has been told.

Russell Causley, 60, of Portlock Place, Maidenhead, Berkshire, pleaded not guilty to murdering Veronica Packman between June and August 1985.

Prosecutor Bruce Holder QC said Mrs Packman, known as Carol, "disappeared off the face of the earth".

Mr Holder told the ongoing trial that Mr Causley moved his lover into his then home at Ipswich Road, Bournemouth.

He seems to have taken to that new life with no fear at all Carol would reappear and spoil the party
Prosecutor Bruce Holder QC
The defendant later changed his name by deed poll from Packman to Causley, the surname of his lover, Patricia.

He told people that his wife had gone off "with a man in a red Porsche", or that she was working or living in Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland and Malta.

On the last day anyone had heard from her, 15 June, 1985, she had consulted a solicitor about a divorce from what the prosecutor suggested was a "ruthless and utterly determined man".

Since that date her solicitor had not heard from her and his 23 bill remained unpaid, the jury at Exeter Crown Court was told.

When Mrs Packman threatened divorce, under which she would have been entitled to a share of their house, Mr Causley "either killed her himself or had her killed," said Mr Holder.

'New life'

After she disappeared he did not appear distressed, but embarked on a series of deceits designed to demonstrate his wife was still alive.

He said Mr Causley set up an "elaborate charade" to show she was not dead and there was an "irresistible inference" that his lover was involved in some of the deceits as well.

When in 1994 the police questioned him, Mr Causley pretended his wife had been in touch with him.

Mr Holder said Mr Causley had a "clear motive" if he wanted to build a new life with his lover and make sure his wife did not receive a penny.

Mr Causley too had started consultations over a divorce, but, after June 1985, he stopped those attempts.

"If he thought his wife was alive why not pursue the divorce?" said Mr Holder, adding that Mr Causley told the lawyer his wife had "gone walkabout".

The trial continues.



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