A husband who murdered his wife and blamed it on a gang of thugs wearing clown masks in a bogus TV appeal has been released after 26 years in jail.
Gordon Wardell was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1995 for the murder of his wife Carol, 39, who he claimed had been kidnapped by men wearing ‘clown masks.’
Callous Wardell, then 42, killed Carol and dumped her body in a lay-by on Monday September 12, 1994, then staged the aftermath of a raid at their home in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.
He told police – who found him bound and gagged in his underwear at the property following the discovery of Carol’s body – he’d been attacked and drugged by a gang after returning home to find them holding his wife.
Wardell appeared at a police press conference in a wheelchair, wearing orange tinted sunglasses and visibly shaken a few days after the murder and his over-the-top performance immediately made him a suspect.
Despite plenty of emotion and crocodile tears, the only kind words the supposedly grieving widower could find to say about his wife at the press conference days after her death was that she ‘worked hard’.
He described in detail to reporters how he had returned home to find a man wearing a clown’s mask and a dark blue boiler suit threatening his wife at knifepoint.
He claimed to have been grabbed from both sides, forced down and lost consciousness after a cloth had been put over his face. Wardell said he didn’t remember anything else until he awoke later bound and gagged.
During the press conference, questions were put to Wardell regarding a previous conviction he had for grievous bodily harm.
He responded that he didn’t see how the question was relevant and reiterated that all he wanted was for his wife’s killers to be found.
On Sunday October 2, 1994, police with the assistance of Wardell, carried out a reconstruction of his movements on the Sunday night before his wife was found murdered.
He retraced his steps, having left his home in Meriden, he had driven to Coventry to post some letters at the main sorting office before driving to a public house located in the suburbs of Coventry where he had two drinks before returning home to find his wife held at knife point.
Police hoped that the reconstruction, which was covered by local and national media, might jog someone’s memory so that they might come forward with new information.
It was also a ruse to allow Wardell to implicate himself as police considered him a strong suspect.
Wardell had previously been convicted of a serious sexual assault and grievous bodily harm in the 1970s for which he had spent time in prison.