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The Lady in the Lake

A true crime story spanning fifty years

Jeremy Craddock


In August 1997 Jeremy Craddock is a young newspaper reporter in the Lake District. When divers discover a suspicious package weighted down in Coniston Water he is thrust into the heart of the biggest story of his career, a haunting murder mystery that will stay with him for the next quarter of a century. Inside the package is the body of a woman. Police identify her as Carol Park, a young wife and mother missing since 1976. Now – 21 years later – suspicion falls on her husband, Gordon Park, who is on holiday in France with his third wife. Shocked, he returns to a media frenzy and detectives’ questions. Park is arrested on suspicion of murder. The press nickname the case ‘the lady in the lake’, borrowing the title of Raymond Chandler’s classic detective novel.

As one of the first journalists on the case, Jeremy Craddock bears witness to a strange and dark murder investigation that grips the world’s media. At Park’s later trial, a picture emerges of Gordon and Carol’s open marriage, their infidelities and Park’s controlling nature towards his young wife. Park is convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. But did he really murder his wife and drop her body into the murky depths of Coniston Water? The jury and Carol Park’s brother believe he did. But Park never stops protesting his innocence. With his now adult children at his side, he begins a long fight to clear his name. Will he succeed?

The Lady in the Lake is a newspaper reporter’s account of a chilling murder case and his re-investigation a quarter of a century later. With powerful themes of murder and denial, and insights into the life of a young journalist reporting during the advent of the internet, the story spans five decades from the 1970s to the present day.