A HUSBAND who murdered his wife before staging an elaborate cover-up against robbers wearing clown masks has been released from prison.
Gordon Wardell was jailed for life with a minimum sentence of 18 years in December 1995 for the brutal murder of his wife Carol.
The parole board told The Sun Online it ordered his release from prison in January 2022 following a hearing the month before.
Wardell, then 42, claimed he was kidnapped by men wearing the new masks when he was found bound and gagged in his underwear at the family home in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.
He appeared recklessly on television in a wheelchair as he made a fake appeal for information to catch Carol’s murderer.
In reality, Wardell had suffocated his wife before dumping her body at a rest stop.
He then returned home to stage the fake burglary and also stole cash from the auto parts store where he worked by using Carol’s key to gain entry.
The monster immediately aroused suspicion when he appeared at the press conference wearing sunglasses and a blanket over him.
He pleaded: “I would urge anyone who knows anything about my wife’s death to come forward.”
Wardell then launched into the bizarre web of lies surrounding robbers in clown masks who had used trickery to gain access to the house.
He claimed he was drugged by two of the thugs and passed out while his wife was dragged to the building society where she worked at knifepoint to withdraw £14,000.
On September 12, 1994, Carol’s body was found dumped near the family home.
Officers determined she had been dead for some time, nullifying Wardell’s timeline of events.
It was discovered that he strangled Carol before driving to the building society and raiding the safe containing her security code and keys.
After dumping her body, he returned home and punched himself in the stomach before choking himself with a torn sheet and tying his hands and legs to a trash can.
The killer was sentenced to life imprisonment on December 21, 1995 after being convicted of murder.
Passing sentence, Judge Cresswell said at the time: “You are an extremely dangerous, evil and devious man.”
“You brutally killed your wife and then cynically tried to avoid detection by doing everything possible to make it appear that your crime was the work of a gang of robbers.
“This murder was an outrage to your wife, her family and everyone who knew her.”
The parole board said: “We can confirm that a panel of the parole board ordered the release of Gordon Wardell following an oral hearing in December 2021.”
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“Probation reviews are conducted thoroughly and with the utmost care. Protecting the public is our top priority.”