Royal Mail worker guilty of lover's murder

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The Independent Online

A man was found guilty today 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, stabbed Paula Poolton seven times and then dumped 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 Mrs Poolton, 40, said Kearney was not as keen on the relationship despite the fact she was considering leaving her husband Richard.

Kearney, of Sarisbury Green, near Southampton, Hampshire, denied the murder.

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 station.

Kearney also washed his clothes that night, including a fluorescent jacket.

On the day she disappeared, Mrs Poolton told her friend Carol Bertie she had been looking for a house to buy and to move in with Kearney but the friend feared Kearney was not as keen.

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.