The controversy surrounding one of Cumbria's most notorious murder cases has been reignited – in a new book written by a retired Crown prosecutor from the county.

Douglas Richard Binstead (known as Dick), from Great Clifton, near Workington, worked in Cumbria's courts for more than 30 years, prosecuting numerous high profile cases.

It was criticism of the conviction achieved in the Lady in the Lake case, involving the murder of 30-year-old Barrow woman Carol Ann Park, that prompted him to pen his own account.

Campaigners have battled for years to posthumously prove the innocence of Gordon Park, a retired schoolteacher who at the time of the murder in 1976 was Mrs Park's husband.

She was bludgeoned to death, and her battered and weighted-down body then dumped in Coniston Water.

The corpse was found by divers in 1997.

Park was convicted in 2005, the jury having accepted the prosecution case that he had killed her with an ice-axe before disposing of her body.

It was portrayed as an almost perfect murder.

Yet Park, found hanged in his prison cell in 2010, always continued to protest his innocence, supported by some of his family, including his third wife Jenny and his children Jeremy and Rachel.

Their cause was boosted by the publication last year of a book by Dr Sandra Lean called “No Smoke.”

She argued that Park was wrongly convicted. But Mr Binstead said the book left him so exasperated that he felt compelled to write his own account of the tragedy.

Described as full and frank”, Mr Binstead's book – A Very Cumbrian Murder – provides an exhaustive review of the evidence that convicted Park, pointing out that he was paid £50,000 by a national newspaper for an interview about the case.

Explaining his motivation, Mr Binstead said: “I had contemplated writing the book for some years because I had always been fascinated by the mysterious and unique case of Gordon Park.

“What finally provoked me into actually putting pen to paper was a 2015 book 'No Smoke!

The Shocking Truth About British Justice,' which singles out case in question and seeks to depict it as an example of flawed police investigation, a totally misconceived decision to prosecute it, and finally a wrongful decision by the jury to convict the accused.

“As I had been involved in the case as a prosecutor and was very familiar with the evidence on which the case was based, I strongly felt that I should redress the balance.”

Mr Binstead's book is fiercely critical of Dr Lean's book.

He states: “Whatever merits Sandra Lean's book and her appraisal of the evidence in the Park case may have, they are, to my mind, completely eclipsed by her entrenched and overwhelming antagonism towards and her disdain for the way that the organs of the criminal justice system operate and conduct their affairs.”

He concludes that the conviction remains “unshaken”, adding: “Carol's brother, her only surviving sibling at the time of her death, has also gone but at least he went to this grave with the satisfaction, if that is the right word, of knowing his sister's killer had been brought to justice.” The book is published by FastPrint Publishing.