FROM behind the thick brick walls of Manchester Prison, Gordon Park still hopes to persuade the world that he did not murder his wife.

In a letter to The Westmorland Gazette, the convicted Lady in the Lake' killer said his mind was "still in turmoil" about the ten-week trial that led a jury to find him unanimously guilty on January 28.

"I cannot believe it. I'm devastated," he wrote. "If I knew who killed my wife, how, where, why, then I would have said so. I did not know then. I do not know now."

In what has become an infamous case, Park - the cuckolded husband - is supposed to have smashed his wife's face to bits in a fit of jealousy in July 1976.

The prosecution version has it that he then coldly stuffed Carol Ann Park's trussed-up body into a makeshift sack made from her own pinafore dress before dumping her in Coniston Water. The Lady in the Lake', as she has since become known, then lay undiscovered for 21 years.

It is the stuff of sensational TV crime thrillers and the jury was convinced after hearing the evidence that it was the husband whodunnit'. Yet Park maintains he is innocent and remains incredulous that people can believe he - a school teacher with no record of violence - brutally murdered his wife with an ice axe.

He wrote: "I tried to give simple, direct answers to the questions I was asked in court and not to elaborate or justify and believed the truth would speak for itself. It seems that the jury did not like what they heard."

Nine months into his 15-year sentence, Park has declined any in-person interviews and refuses to answer detailed questions about his case. However, Prisoner NV5678 was happy with a written interview' yet the only matters he said he felt able to discuss freely were about his life on the inside.

These days the keen sailor who loved to ramble in the Lakes has to make do with scenes of Cumbria, Yorkshire, Walney and Dalton-in-Furness stuck to the noticeboard of his 13x6ft cell. They have been secured there with sticky tape Park peeled from the sandwich bags prisoners are occasionally given for lunch drawing pins and Sellotape are banned lest they be misused by violent or suicidal inmates.

He describes it as "legalised sensory deprivation" in a prison that looks just like the TV series Bad Girls or Porridge.

"I hate it. I've always been active, doing something for somebody somewhere. Now I can do nothing. Nothing," he wrote.

Park complained that they were sometimes "banged-up" all day if prison officers failed to show for work or on Bank Holidays. The "outrageous" 10p-a-minute phone calls limited his conversations to his third wife, Jenny, who, he said, "needs all the love and support I can give her." Where once he would enjoy days sailing with his son, Jeremy, on Coniston Water, Park fills his time writing daily letters to Jenny on his Formica desk and fretting about cell mates.

"They may smoke incessantly, play loud music, the TV or video games, rifle your drawers, steal, lie etc. There is not a lot you can do about it," he writes. "I watched a guy "chasing the dragon". It frightened me to death. I had never seen that before."

Now on his sixth cell with an agreeable cell-mate, he enthuses that it has the "luxury" of a plug although the window is fitted with a flap so the inmates cannot see outside. There is a TV and an adjacent room with a flushing toilet and hand basin.

A keen churchgoer, Park attends a Sunday morning Church of England Service and said the chaplaincy "are very good".

"There are often 30-odd burly guys, sniffling away and singing with very hoarse voices. Very poignant."

Park has plenty of time on his hands but declined to say if he was writing an autobiography, files from which were mentioned at the trial (in the jury's absence).

He is making use of his education, studying contemporary politics, and has worked in the prison library and IT workshop. He currently earns a prison salary of £5.45 a week.

On the outside, his son, Jeremy, and daughter, Rachel, refuse to believe their father killed their mother and are working on the Free Gordon campaign.

Jeremy hopes a documentary will be made detailing the ways in which he believes his father's conviction was a cruel miscarriage of justice.

ITV's Real Crime programme is also doing a film about the case although not on the basis that it was a wrongful conviction.

Within a month, supporters also hope to have fresh expert evidence to start the long process of trying to quash the conviction in the appeal courts.

But the police and plenty of other people believe the right man is serving time for the vicious murder of a 31-year-old woman. Whether Gordon Park will ever return to his beloved Lake District as a free man is a matter much in doubt.