Man Found Guilty of Paula Poolton Murder

A Hampshire man has been found guilty of murdering his married lover after she put pressure on him to move in with her.

Royal Mail worker Roger Kearney, 57, shook his head in disbelief as the jury at Winchester Crown Court delivered the verdict.

Kearney, 57, of Sarisbury Green, near Southampton, denied stabbing Paula Poolton seven times and then dumping her in the boot of her Peugeot car on October 17 2008. Her body was not found until 11 days later.

The pair were having an affair during the summer of 2008 but friends of MrsPoolton, 40, said Kearney was not as keen on the relationship despite the fact she was considering leaving her husband Richard.

His defence told the jury of six men and six women that he had not done it and he was ''wrongly accused'' but admitted he was a ''love rat'' after cheating on his long-term partner with Mrs Poolton. Earlier in the six-week trial, the prosecution had admitted there was no forensic evidence or witnesses pointing to Kearney. But Nicholas Haggan QC, prosecuting, told the jury that Kearney lied about his whereabouts during a crucial hour after Mrs Poolton's car was last seen on CCTV.

He said he had left for a night shift at 10pm for the 15-minute drive to work when CCTV footage showed he left home at 9.31pm. He also lied about the route saying he drove away from the spot near Swanwick railway station in Hampshire where Mrs Poolton's car was found towards his work. But footage showed Kearney's Mitsubishi Shogun driving towards the railway

The judge, Mr Justice Silber, told Kearney he would be imprisoned for life and remanded him in custody until a hearing next week at the Old Bailey where the minimum term he will serve will be set.

Detective Chief Inspector Darren O'Callaghan, the senior investigating officer in the murder of Paula Poolton, has given the following statement in response to the conviction of Roger Kearney today (Friday, June 11):

"Today’s verdict has been the culmination of a long and exhaustive investigation into Paula Poolton’s murder on the October 17 2008.
"The investigation presented a number of unique challenges and I am grateful to those officers, staff and colleagues who contributed to the investigation. Many of those involved showed outstanding commitment and those efforts have ensured that the evidence in this case has been presented in front of a jury who have concluded that Roger Kearney did indeed murder Paula Poolton.
"We have worked closely with colleagues in the Crown Prosecution Service and with prosecuting Counsel, however it is the continual support of those who provided the police with information and most importantly, the friends and family of Paula whom I would like praise. Without that support, the role of the police is much more difficult.
"I very much hope that today’s conviction provides some comfort in what will no doubt be a long journey for those close to Paula in coming to terms with her death."

Statement from Paula's family:

"We are relieved that justice has been done for Paula today.
"It has been a very long road with many ups and downs but we are satisfied with the verdict.
"We would like to thank the Major Crime Team, the barristers for the prosecution, the jury, the court staff and our friends and family.
"We would ask for time and privacy to let this sink in."