THE long-term partner of the man accused of murdering Saints steward Paula Poolton told the court she was standing by him because she knows he is innocent.

Carol Goddard, 51, told Winchester Crown Court she was staying with Roger Kearney despite the hurt and anger his three-month affair with Paula had caused.

Mrs Goddard, who has been with Kearney for eight years and lives with him at her house in Painswick Close, Sarisbury Green, said she hadn’t known he was being unfaithful.

She told jurors she first heard the news from police after Kearney’s arrest and was eager to confront him when they met at the Talisman pub when he was released on bail.

Mrs Goddard said: “I did ask him if he killed Paula Poolton. He said ‘I don’t know how you could ask me that question’, but I needed to hear it from him.

He said on his children’s lives he never killed her and I believe him.

“I’m still disappointed, hurt, all the emotions you can imagine, but I love him. Everybody makes mistakes, we are all human. I am supporting him, yes, because he is innocent.”

She added that there was nothing odd about his behaviour in the days Paula was missing.

When asked what time she remembers Kearney leaving for work on October 17, 2008 – the night 40-year-old Paula disappeared – Mrs Goddard insisted it was some time after 10pm.

She said: “It must have been after 10pm because we watched Little Britain. That finished at 10pm, he went upstairs, collected what he was going to eat, his glasses, ID, put his boots on that were in the garage.

“We may have had a conversation.

I can’t be specific on the exact time he left but I know it was after 10pm.”

Under cross-examination she said she was “100 per cent” sure that she watched Little Britain with Kearney that night.

It is the prosecution’s case that Kearney left home early that night, at 9.30pm, giving him enough time to kill Paula before clocking in for work at the Royal Mail depot in Eastleigh.

The jury also heard from Kearney’s youngest daughter, Louisa Wigginton, who said she was shocked to find out her dad had cheated on Mrs Goddard.

When asked why she was in court, Mrs Wiggington, 31, from Netley, said: “I want to support my dad and I know there is no way he would have done such a thing.”

Kearney, 57, denies killing Paula, of Course Park Crescent, Titchfield, who was found stabbed to death in the boot of her car in Duncan Road, Park Gate.