Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Killer Kearney claims Royal Mail breached human rights

Roger Kearney
Image caption Roger Kearney lied to police about his whereabouts, his trial heard

A man jailed for killing his married lover has claimed his employers breached his human rights when they sacked him after he was charged.

Roger Kearney, 57, was convicted in June of killing Paula Poolton and hiding her body in her car near Swanwick station in Hampshire in 2008.

He claims Royal Mail was wrong to sack him as a driver in January before he had been found guilty.

The company denies Kearney was unlawfully dismissed.

Kearney, of Sarisbury Green, was jailed for life with a 15-year minimum tariff.

He is claiming £8,225 in lost earnings from the January date until he was convicted.

Kearney was not present at the hearing in Reading but was represented by his daughter.

'Loyal service'

In a statement, he said: "I believe Royal Mail decided that I was guilty of the crime and wanted to get rid of me as soon as possible.

"If Royal Mail felt that they could no longer trust me, they must have believed that the allegations against me were true.

"After 34 years of loyal service, a clear conduct record and no previous convictions, I am extremely disappointed that they came to this conclusion as it had no affect on my ability to perform my job and is a clear breach of my human rights.

"Anyone can be accused of a crime at any time and it should follow that they are presumed innocent until found guilty.

Image caption Paula Poolton was stabbed seven times

"I accept that after my conviction on June 11, 2010 I would have no longer been able to fulfil my duties."

Keith Finch, mail centre manager, told the hearing he sacked Kearney because he felt there could be a "risk" to the public because the murder of Mrs Poolton was "particularly violent".

He was also on bail and unable to enter Hampshire but his place of work was at the Southampton Mail Centre.

Mr Finch said it was not a realistic option to allow Kearney to be suspended and stay at home when, at the time, there was no trial date and Royal Mail was struggling financially.

He added that the publicity of the trial would damage Royal Mail's reputation and although Kearney had not been convicted, he felt that the authorities must have had good reason to charge him.

He said: "I lost my trust in him. I believe we could have lost business in the local area."

During his murder trial it was heard that Mrs Poolton, 40, and Kearney had been having an affair in the summer of 2008.

Kearney stabbed her to death when she started putting pressure on him to leave his partner, the court was told.

He then fabricated an alibi to cover his tracks.

Kearney had worked with Mrs Poolton when they were stewards at Southampton Football Club but her husband and his partner were unaware of the affair.

The hearing continues.

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