New probe into wife pool death: Husband who was cleared of drowning his partner to cash in on £3.5m life insurance will face new questions at inquest into the tragedy
- Donald McPherson, 47, was dramatically cleared over 2017 death of wife, Paula
- Judge ruled the prosecution had not disproved McPherson’s defence that his wife fell or jumped into a pool during a holiday in Denmark four years ago
- McPherson, of Sale, insisted he discovered her body after waking from a nap
A conman cleared of drowning his wife in a swimming pool to cash in on £3.5million of life insurance will face new questions over her death at an inquest.
Donald McPherson, 47, who was previously jailed in Germany for embezzlement, was dramatically cleared of killing wealthy heiress Paula Leeson when a trial was halted in March.
The judge ruled the prosecution had not disproved his defence that she fell or jumped in the pool during a holiday in Denmark in 2017.
Mr McPherson, of Sale, Greater Manchester, insisted he had woken from a nap to find her body in the 4ft deep water.
The prosecution did not disprove McPherson’s defence that Paula (above) fell or jumped in the pool during a holiday in Denmark in 2017
Yesterday a barrister representing 47-year-old Miss Leeson’s devastated family called for an inquest, telling Stockport Coroner’s Court: ‘There remains suspicion that Paula Leeson died a violent death.’
Coroner Chris Morris ruled a hearing should take place, but stressed: ‘Nobody is on trial.’
Mr McPherson’s solicitor later said he would give evidence.
The family’s barrister Sophie Cartwright QC told the court: ‘The family are very strongly of the view that Paula Leeson has been the victim of an unlawful killing.
‘This is the clearest example of a death where an inquest is required.’
Miss Cartwright said a coroner could return a conclusion of unlawful killing based on the balance of probabilities – whereas the burden of proof in a criminal trial is beyond reasonable doubt.
The Danish summer house in Søndervang where Paula Leeson was found to have drowned in 2017
In response, Louis Browne QC for Mr McPherson said the trial had served as an ‘independent and effective investigation’ into her death.
A full inquest ‘does not serve a practical or useful purpose’, he added.
However, Mr Morris ruled that a five-day hearing would take place in December.