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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
Wife cleared of husband's murder
Leslie Gault outside court
Mrs Gault left the court with relatives
After three trials a County Antrim mother of triplets has finally been found not guilty of her husband's murder.

A jury at Omagh Crown Court spent a day deliberating, but could not reach a unanimous verdict in the trial of Lesley Gault.

However, a majority of ten of the jurors found her not guilty on Friday.

Mrs Gault, 37, from Lisburn, had always denied the killing.

Although too emotional to talk afterwards, her solicitor, Tony Caher, spoke of "the nightmare" Mrs Gault had endured over the last four and a half years.

"Lesley Gault has been through a nightmare which is almost unimaginable - she has been bereaved, imprisoned, vilified and has had to endure for a time, separation from her beloved children," said Mr Caher.

'Love and support'

He added that her only thoughts now were for her son and two daughters, and that she was appealing to the media "to allow her to return to her three children and to protect them from further unwanted publicity".

Mr Caher said that without "the love and support" of her immediate family "she could not have survived".

Her former lover, Gordon Graham, 42, is serving life for the murder. Paul Gault, 33, was battered to death in the couple's Audley Avenue home in Lisburn in May 2000. He was attacked with his wife's old hockey stick.

After the verdict, Leslie Gault put her head down and began to cry.

On being told she was free to go, Mrs Gault told trial judge Mr Justice Weatherup: "Thank-you", and as she was led from the court by a side door, she also thanked the jury for their verdict.

Left court

"Thank-you, oh thank-you," said a clearly emotional Mrs Gault.

She then went to her family who were present and left the court quickly.

The murdered man's relatives, including his father and brother, left the court immediately after the verdict without making any comment.

The detective who headed the investigation, Superintendent Roy McComb said he accepted that the legal process had taken its due course and the acquittal brought the inquiry to an end.

Despite finding Gordon Graham guilty by unanimous verdict in November 2002, the jury could not reach a decision on his lover.

She was re-tried and convicted by a majority verdict in March 2003.

But in July 2004, the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Brian Kerr, headed an appeal panel which quashed that outcome and ordered a re-trial.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
BBC NI's Yvette Shapiro reports:
"She was a tense and nervous figure in the court"




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