KEY forensic evidence from a murder case has been destroyed by Hampshire police.
A documentary looking into the murder of Paula Poolton, of Titchfield, revealed tonight that fibre evidence and a carrier bag with blood on it has been destroyed.
The BBC2 show Conviction: Murder at the Station followed the investigation by charity Inside Justice.
Roger Kearney, who was convicted of the fatal stabbing of his lover in 2010, continues to protest his innocence.
Ms Poolton’s body was found in the boot of her car in 2008 in Duncan Road near Swanwick railway station.
Louise Shorter, from the charity, discovered that Hampshire Constabulary had destroyed tapes used by investigators to get fibres from the scene of the crime – which she said could have DNA evidence from the killer. A carrier bag which had a bloody fingerprint believed to be from the killer was also destroyed.
There are no legal requirements for evidence to be kept although experts in the documentary did express their surprise at the items being destroyed, with one saying it should be kept for at least as long as the defendant was in prison, and another suggesting 30 years as a suitable time.
A Hampshire police statement said: ‘The officer in this case disposed of the exhibits because they had either been forensically tested to the point of destruction, were deemed a health hazard, or had not become actual court exhibits and because Roger Kearney had exhausted all legal avenues to appeal his conviction.
‘Although we don’t believe the destruction of these exhibits has had a detrimental effect on this case, we acknowledge that the senior investigating officer was not consulted.’
It added policies on the management of forensic exhibits have been changed.
The documentary did find that a swab from the carrier bag was believed to have been kept and the charity would continue to look for it.
The programme raised doubts over Kearney’s truthfulness after he denied to Ms Shorter that he had had another affair – despite admitting this to police at the time – and then backtracked, claiming he had forgotten about it.
Ms Shorter told Kearney about the evidence being destroyed. During the phone call he said: ‘There was a man in Southampton who did 27 years and then proved he did not do it. Can I afford 27 years? I will go on my death bed saying I didn’t do it. I did not murder Paula. I will deny ever doing it.’