The trial of guy accused of killing his rich wife after securing seven insurance policies on her life has actually collapsed.
Donald McPherson, 47, stood to acquire ₤ 3.5 m on the death of Paula Leeson, the heiress of an avoid hire organization whom he wed in 2014, Manchester crown court was told. McPherson was charged with murdering Leeson, 47, after she drowned in a shallow swimming pool while the couple were on vacation in Denmark in 2017. He rejected the charge.
On Wednesday in a move that can only be reported now for legal reasons, Mr Justice Goose halted the proceedings mentioning inadequate evidence to convict. The choice triggered tears and shouts from Leeson’s family in the courtroom. One stated: “You are making a huge error.”
On Thursday, when the household was absent, Goose formally directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict.
He said: “I have actually concerned the conclusion that as a matter of law that the evidence in relation to how Paula Leeson concerned drown is not adequately strong to enable you to reach an appropriate verdict in relation to the accused causing it by killing her.”
McPherson, who been held in Salford’s Forest Bank jail, was told he was free to go. The judge added: “I understand how tough it will be for that reason for the family to accept from their point of view the loss of a child. This court has apparent sympathy for them, however the law must be used equally.”
The district attorney David McLachlan told the court there were no premises for appeal.
Leeson, referred to as an otherwise healthy mom of one, drowned in a 4ft-deep pool at a Danish vacation cottage in June 2017. Pathologists discovered 13 separate injuries on Leeson’s body, which jurors heard might have been sustained while being limited or in a rescue and resuscitation attempt.
The day after her death, McPherson transferred ₤ 27,000 from his joint account with his other half to his personal accounts to help clear his ₤ 67,000 financial obligations. Seven days later he joined a group, Widowed and Young, he referred to as “Like Tinder for widows”, jurors were informed.
Goose said there were 2 possibilities of how Leeson passed away. First, McPherson could have restrained his other half under water or conquered her in a battle or pushed her to cause her to drown. Or, 2nd, Leeson drowned in an accident. He added: “Whilst the first of those options is clearly more likely, that does not suggest that a jury, on the face of the pathological proof alone, might be sure of it.”
Leeson’s family had actually informed the jury McPherson “appeared out of nowhere” and after a “whirlwind romance” the couple wed 2 years after meeting. In the four years prior to her death, McPherson had gotten the seven life insurance coverage policies and by 2016 was paying ₤ 464.47 a month on premiums.
McPherson told Danish police his better half had actually complained of stomach ache and tooth pain and she had actually been sick and they had actually both been in bed. When he woke up, his wife was gone and he discovered her completely clothed, deal with down in the swimming pool, not moving.
McPherson, in a statement through his lawyers, stated: “A tragic accident is what it was and it distresses me, deeply, that the events in concern need to ever have actually been seen in a different way and that I was ever suspected of playing a part in Paula’s death”