The Case of Roger Kearney
By Jez Williams & Louise Shorter on 31/07/13Share:
From Inside Time August 2013
Since Inside Justice was set up we have been asked to investigate 600 cases. We have always believed that collaboration with carefully chosen external agencies, whether that’s lawyers, experts or students will allow us to help the most innocent prisoners that we possibly can. We are delighted to announce that we have just forged links with Portsmouth University and are working with them specifically on one murder case which is local to their area; the case of Roger Kearney. Portsmouth University has impressive state-oftheart equipment used in forensic investigations. Their tutors make it their business to know the most up to date techniques and we very much hope this new working relationship will be beneficial to all. As usual, we would be pleased to hear from readers, particularly if they have any knowledge of the crime written about this month or any suggestions to new lines of enquiry we might pursue. Louise Shorter, Inside Justice
The Case of Roger Kearney
On the evening of the 17th October 2008, Roger Kearney had dinner and watched television with his partner before heading to the Royal Mail Depot in Southampton to start his night-shift. On the same night, Paula Poolton, Roger Kearney's secret lover, went missing. Eleven days later her body was discovered in the boot of her car. She had been stabbed. Police enquiries soon exposed the nature of Roger Kearney's and Paula Poolton's relationship which became the focus of their investigation. Roger Kearney was charged and later convicted of a murder he proclaims he had no part in.
Though this use of CCTV could have been important for the defence, it was the prosecution's use of other CCTV which became the single most important plank of evidence; a string of indistinct CCTV images which experts disagreed over. It was clear to all the images were of exceptionally poor quality; often showing only headlights or hazy side views of a vehicle in the dark. Yet the prosecution expert relied on a number of images from the night of the murder that showed a vehicle, which he said could be the same make and model as Roger Kearney's vehicle, at several locations close to the area where Paula Poolton's body was found. The defence accepted one image was of Roger Kearney's vehicle en route to work and this was entirely consistent with his arrival time at work if he left after watching Little Britain, as claimed from the start. Significantly, the defence found an image not mentioned by the prosecution which showed a vehicle leaving Roger Kearney's street which could have been his car leaving soon after the TV show ended. If this is his car, he could not have murdered Paula Poolton.
During the police investigation, Roger Kearney's vehicle, clothes and house were searched with many exhibits seized. Given the nature of the attack, it was suggested by two pathologists and an experienced forensic scientist that the likelihood of DNA transfer between Paula Poolton and her attacker was strong. Moreover, it was said that she was placed in the boot of her vehicle by her attacker; this would increase the possibility of transfer. Upon examination, no blood attributable to Paula Poolton was detected on the vehicle and items belonging to Roger Kearney.
From the moment he was first questioned, Roger Kearney has always protested his innocence. His daughter Louisa Wigginton said "it is heartbreaking and so wrong. We shall never give up."
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2. Were any other 4x4 vehicles such as a Mitsubishi Shogun Sport or Range Rover Sport driving around the Park Gate area of Fareham, Southampton on the night of October 17th 2008. Please contact us if so.
4. If Paula Poolton was killed at the deposition site (a busy train station) why were there no witnesses and why did it take 11 days to find her car?
6. Would enhancement finally solve the issue of the finger mark in blood? This crucial piece of evidence has already pointed away from Roger Kearney.