Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Monday, 24 May 2010 15:24 UK

Husband 'had better motive to kill wife than lover'

Paula Poolton
Mrs Poolton was stabbed seven times

A husband had a better motive for stabbing his wife to death than the lover who has been wrongly accused of the murder, a court has been told.

Paula Poolton, 40, of Titchfield in Fareham, Hampshire, was found dead near Swanwick railway station on 28 October 2008, 11 days after she was killed.

Roger Kearney, 57, of Sarisbury Green near Southampton, denies her murder.

Defending Mr Kearney, Nigel Pascoe QC said Mrs Poolton's husband Richard had had "more of a motive" to kill her.

Mr Pascoe said he was not accusing Mr Poolton of the crime, but told the jury at Winchester Crown Court: "I simply point out if you were looking for a motive for murder, he would have more of a motive than the man I represent."

'Ridiculous' evidence

He went on to say the prosecution case had found "not one scrap of forensic evidence" linking Mr Kearney to the murder.

Mr Pascoe also drew the jury's attention to an unidentified paranoid schizophrenic who had been in the area where Mrs Poolton's body was found and a report of the attempted abduction of a woman close to the murder scene.

Roger Kearney
Roger Kearney was having an affair with Mrs Poolton

Earlier Nicholas Haggan QC, prosecuting, said that Mrs Poolton had told friends that she wanted to leave her builder husband for Mr Kearney, a Royal Mail driver.

However she was irritated he did not get in touch with her as much as she contacted him.

Mr Kearney was arrested after Mrs Poolton's body was found in the boot of her Peugeot car. She had been stabbed seven times.

Mr Haggan told the jury that Mr Kearney had lied to police about his whereabouts during a crucial hour after Mrs Poolton's car was last seen.

The jury heard that the defendant also lied about the time he left home and about the route he took.

But Mr Pascoe said that some of the CCTV footage which the prosecution says shows Mr Kearney's Mitsubishi Shogun was less than certain - and some of it was "ridiculous".

The trial continues.

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