A TV investigation into the murder of Saints steward Paula Poolton has discovered that vital forensic evidence has been destroyed by police.

Conviction: Murder at the Station set out to discover if Roger Kearney, the man jailed for life for stabbing her to death, is guilty or innocent.

But the loss of forensic evidence meant the programme was unable to reach any conclusions.

The two-part documentary was presented by Louise Shorter from Inside Justice, a charity that examines possible miscarriages of justice.

In last night's episode she said forensic evidence collected during the police inquiry in 2008 should be subjected to new testing techniques.

But she discovered that tapings had been destroyed, despite rules stating that evidence gathered during a murder probe should be kept for 30 years.

A swab taken from a Tesco carrier bag bought by Paula shortly before she was killed has gone missing, viewers were told.

In a telephone conversation with Kearney, who is serving a minimum 15-year term, Ms Shorter told him: "Some evidence was sent back to the police and they destroyed some things, which is pretty devastating."

Kearney sounded shaken and replied: "I will go to my deathbed saying I did not murder Paula."

In a statement to the programme Hampshire Police denied that the destruction of the evidence had had any "detrimental impact".

But they admitted that the senior investigating officer had not been consulted.

Paula's body was found in the back of her black Peugeot car, which was found near Swanwick railway station 11 days after she went missing.

Police established that the 40-year-old from Titchfield had been having an affair with Kearney, who was jailed in 2010 after a six-week trial at Winchester Crown Court.

During the documentary Ms Shorter queried some of the forensic evidence, including the lack of blood in the vehicle.

She said: "I don't know whether Roger is innocent or guilty, but I think there's a really strong reason for the judiciary system to look at this again."

But the destruction of forensic evidence appears to rule out the possibility of a new investigation.

At one stage Ms Shorter was seen receiving an anonymous text that referred to Kearney's "vile, volcanic and uncontrolled temper" and added: "Kearney is an extremely unpleasant individual under the velvet cloak. Try not to be his next female victim, professionally or otherwise."

Another text suggested that Kearney had burned vital evidence during a fishing club barbecue - but Ms Shorter dismissed it as "vicious gossip".