English "Lady in the Lake" killer found dead in prison cell

Monday, January 25, 2010

British murderer Gordon Park was found dead today in his cell at a prison in Lancashire, England. Park, whose 66th birthday was today, was convicted nearly five years ago of the murder of his wife, Carol, in 1976. Her body was found over twenty years later in Coniston Water, in the Lake District, Northern England, leading to her being dubbed the "Lady in the Lake" by police, after the Raymond Chandler novel.

The Prison Service state Park was found hanging in his cell at Garth Prison, unconscious, at 8am local time. "Staff and paramedics attended but Mr Park was pronounced dead at 9.40am", a spokesman added. An investigation has been launched by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, responsible for investigating deaths in custody; but suicide is suspected. His son, Jeremy, who had been fighting for his father's release, said "[w]e are all completely devastated and still believe his innocence 100%."

Park was jailed for life in January 2005, with a minimum period of fifteen years, for his wife's murder after a ten-week trial at Manchester Crown Court. Carol Park was killed with an ice axe, then her body concealed in Coniston Water. She was not found until August 1997, when divers found her weighted corpse 70 feet deep. Park had claimed that his wife had left him for another man. His appeal against conviction was turned down in 2008, with the Court of Appeal saying that the geological evidence he wished to challenge was only one factor of the "strong circumstantial case" proving his guilt.