Appeal court upholds 'lady in the lake' murder conviction

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Three judges rule case against Gordon Park, who killed himself in 2010, was ‘very strong’

The court of appeal has upheld the conviction of the late Gordon Park for the “lady in the lake” murder of his wife, Carol, following a challenge brought by their son.

Carol Park’s body was found in Coniston Water in the Lake District in 1997, 21 years after her disappearance. Park, who always maintained his innocence, was convicted of murder in 2005 and killed himself in his prison cell on his 66th birthday in January 2010 while serving a life sentence.

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World news | The Guardian

The court of appeal has upheld the conviction of the late Gordon Park for the “lady in the lake” murder of his wife, Carol, following a challenge brought by their son.

Carol Park’s body was found in Coniston Water in the Lake District in 1997, 21 years after her disappearance. Park, who always maintained his innocence, was convicted of murder in 2005 and killed himself in his prison cell on his 66th birthday in January 2010 while serving a life sentence.

The posthumous appeal brought by Jeremy Park was referred to the court by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCCR), which investigates possible miscarriages of justice.

Carol Park disappeared in 1976 and her body was found 21 years later. Photograph: PA

CCRC lawyers told a hearing in November last year that failures by prosecution lawyers to share evidence with the defence at Park’s trial cast doubt on the safety of his conviction.

But on Friday three senior judges rejected the appeal, saying the evidence in the case was “very strong” and there was no reason to doubt the safety of the conviction.

Carol Park, a teacher, went missing in Leece, near Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, in July 1976, and Park claimed she had gone to live with another man. Amateur divers found her body in Coniston Water in 1997.

Gordon Park was arrested and charged with her murder, and spent two weeks in prison on remand, but the case against him was dropped in 1998 on the grounds there was not enough evidence to prosecute.

Detectives later uncovered fresh forensic and geological evidence said to link him to the crime and he was found guilty at Manchester crown court in 2005, bringing to an end one of Britain’s most notorious unsolved murder investigations.

The court of appeal rejected a challenge by Gordon Park against his conviction in 2008.

Following his death at HMP Garth in Lancashire, his family continued to campaign for his conviction to be overturned and applied to the CCRC.


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