THE secret lover of Saints steward Paula Poolton denies covering his tracks at work on the night she went missing, a court heard.

Roger Kearney, described as a lover by his defence, said that there was nothing about him not using his swipe card to get into the Royal Mail depot at Eastleigh on the night in question.

He told Winchester Crown Court this morning that he probably followed somebody else in and so there was no need for him to use his own swipe card.

He said: "It's quite possible that I either followed somebody in or somebody came out through the door as I approached it."

When asked why he was seen running into the depot via the vehicle entrance he said he had gone back to his car to get his glasses and ran back that way because it was quicker.

It is the prosecution's case that Kearney, 57, avoided using his swipe card to cover up the fact he got to work late.

Jurors also heard how Kearney felt about his three-month relationship with 40-year-old Paula. He said: "In October I thought it was just a bit of fun on both sides. I didn't see any long term future in the relationship."

Earlier the court heard from the defence that there could be other explanations for Paula's murder.

Nigel Pascoe QC suggested there are a number of other alternatives including that she was killed by her husband Ricky Poolton or a paranoid schizophrenic who was in the community at the time.

He said: "I do not accuse Mr Ricky Poolton of murder. I simply point out to you that if you are looking for a motive of murder he potentially would have more than the man I represent and I point out to you that this has been a relationship with some violence in it as you know."

Kearney, of Painswick Close, Sarisbury Green, denies murdering Paula, who was found stabbed to death in the boot of her car in Duncan Road, Park Gate in October 2008.