A convicted killer found dead in his prison cell had told his wife he could not continue if he lost an appeal, an inquest heard.
Gordon Park was also “devastated” when visits to HMP Garth near Leyland by an Evangelical pastor friend were stopped, Preston Coroner’s Court was told.
Dubbed the ‘Lady in the Lake’ killer, Park was serving a minimum 15-year sentence for murdering his first wife Carol and dumping her body in Coniston, near the family home in Leece, near Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria.
He was found dead in his cell on the morning of his 66th birthday in January 2010.
Park’s third wife, Jennie, told the inquest an appeal against conviction failed in 2008 and a new review had been his “only hope”.
Mrs Park, who visited her husband every week for five years, said: “He could not see any future for him to be released.The longer it went on, the more he hated the prison system and being in there.”
Mrs Park also told the court Park had asked to see a copy of a report into the suicide of notorious serial killer Dr Harold Shipman, who killed himself in jail in Wakefield, the year before he too was found dead.
That made bosses at HMP Garth concerned about Park’s welfare and he was more closely monitored. They were also concerned when he began giving possessions away after losing his case at the Court of Appeal.
George Harrison, an Evangelical pastor who befriended Park during his trial, said the killer had been upset when his regular pastoral visits to Garth were stopped by prison bosses just before Christmas 2009.
Mr Harrison told the inquest Park had also been “frustrated” with being in jail when he continued to protest his innocence.
The Rev Calum Crombie, chaplain at Garth, said Park had told him if Mr Harrison’s visits were not restored, he would “bring bad publicity on the prison.”
The Rev Crombie said: “I was under the impression he meant some sort of protest and reported it as a security concern. I was not under the impression he wished to take his own life.”
Park evaded justice for for nearly 30 years after Carol Park’s death in July 1976. He claimed he had taken their children on a trip to Blackpool on the day she vanished.
Her body was found in Coniston by amateur divers 21 years later and Park was arrested and charged with her murder, but the case against him was dropped in January 1998 when the Crown Prosecution Service said it did not have enough evidence against him.
A second police investigation led to a conviction in 2005.
The inquest, before a jury, is expected to last around four days.