Carole Packman

Carole, 40, disappeared from the family home in Bournemouth in 1985 – when her daughter Sam was just 16. Carole’s husband, Russell Causley, has twice been convicted of her murder (one conviction was quashed and led to a retrial) and remains in prison. But he refuses to reveal what he did with Carole’s body.

At his second conviction, in April 2004, the judge told him: ‘Not only did you kill your wife and somehow dispose of her body, you left your daughter in a permanent state of ignorance as to her mother’s fate.’

Sam, and her son Neil’s, desperate search to find Carole’s body was the subject of a recent TV documentary called The Investigator – led by investigative journalist Mark Williams Thomas.

Sam, 48, of Northants, says: “I feel as if I am failing as a daughter in not being able to give my mum a funeral. It’s bad enough to have a loved one murdered – it’s horrific. “But afterwards you want to take them out of that horrible situation. You have this overwhelming yearning to almost ‘cuddle’ them – to ensure they now feel safe and secure. As human beings we have a right to be brought safely into the world and a right to leave it peacefully, and with dignity,” says Sam, an assistant site manager, and mum to Neil, 26, a senior recruitment consultant.

“These killers are denying us that right and it is beyond the realms of acceptability in a civilised society. “I would hope that, at the point of sentence, the judge makes it abundantly clear that it’s not just the crime of murder that has been committed; the killer has taken away the family’s right to a funeral – and they don’t have that right.

In order to be rehabilitated surely the killer needs to say: ‘ok, this is what happened – I give you back this person I took from you to have power over you’.’ “Until then the family can never move on. You’re constantly revisiting the thoughts of ‘why’ and ‘where’. Just because time has been served doesn’t mean families have moved on from this.

It never stops. It’s great that we have a justice system, and forensic science, where we can secure murder convictions without a body. But the worry is that we become satisfied just with the conviction and forget just how necessary it is for the family to have that funeral. “If the police have done all that they can and the offender won’t work with them to locate a body then life should mean life.