Paula Leeson Wiki
Paula Leeson Biography
A property developer killed his wealthy heiress wife by drowning her in the swimming pool of their Danish holiday home to get £ 3.5 million in life insurance, a court has heard.
Donald McPherson, 47, killed Paula Leeson in June 2017 after taking her on a mini break to Nørre Nebel, a remote village in Denmark, before depicting her death to look like an accident, it was claimed.
Danish police had no idea he was going to make a “ huge fortune ” from the death of Miss Leeson, 47, a mother of one, who came from a wealthy construction family, they told Manchester Crown Court.
It was claimed that McPherson ‘resented’ his in-laws for ‘sitting on wealth’ and had taken out various insurance policies in the run-up to his murder, making him a financial beneficiary in the event of the death of the his wife.
McPherson, born Alexander James Lang and originally from Auckland, New Zealand, denies the murder on June 6, 2017.
David McLachlan QC told the jury the defendant had a ‘big secret’
The couple had married at Peckforton Castle in Cheshire in June 2014, a ‘great affair and no expense was spared’.
He knew nothing about her life insurance policies, but they were worth up to £ 3.5 million, all payable to her husband if she died first.
McPherson, who also had a private pilot’s license, had also forged his will, according to forensic calligraphy experts, allegedly making him the beneficiary.
His wife would also inherit “millions” from the family business owned by his father.
In June 2017, McPherson and Paula, described as ‘generous to the extreme’, had gone on vacation to a remote part of western Denmark, although her family noted that she was not herself and seemed to ‘have something on her mind’ .
While she was there, she drowned in the pool of the house they had rented after three days of travel. She had only gone on a trip to please her husband and she “hated” the pool and the beach.
McLachlan told the jury: “The case for the prosecution is that while at first glance it appeared that her untimely death was an accident, the evidence will show that she was not.
‘It was a pre-planned sinister murder and the person responsible for her drowning was none other than her husband Donald McPherson.
Danish Police had no idea he stood to gain a ‘vast fortune’ from the death of mother-of-one Miss Leeson, 47, who hailed from a wealthy construction family
‘The reason for the drowning was the oldest and simplest in the book. It was financial.
He was willing to earn a great fortune from his death. This was something that the Danish authorities did not know immediately after Paula Leeson’s death. ‘
Paula Leeson came from a tight-knit and hard-working Irish immigrant family, her father William ‘Willy’ Leeson and her mother Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Leeson, they moved to Manchester in the late 1960s where they had a family business, W Leeson and Son, specialized in floor work and skip rental.
They all worked in the family business, her younger brother Neville Leeson was the general manager and Paula oversaw the bills and the no-skip rental business, where she met McPherson, who renovated and sold the property.
Paula Leeson had her only child, Ben, when she was 17 and her relationship with her son’s father soon faded.
They all lived with their grandparents in the family home in Ashlands, in Sale, Greater Manchester, until Paula married McPherson and they renovated their nearby conjugal home.
Ben was the ‘apple of her eye’ and her mother described him as a ‘highly organized and disciplined person’ who, more than 25 years earlier, made him the sole beneficiary of her will.
Until she met McPherson she had a “relatively modest” pension and insurance policies, a creature of habit, her “thing” was to go shopping with her mother and visit the hairdresser and she would always be “flawless. dressed “.
Her husband had grown up with his parents and two sisters in Auckland, but he claimed to be an orphan, “abandoned” by his family to live with adoptive parents.
McLachlan told the jury that this was a lie, that it was a ‘cover story’ so that he would never talk about her past.
The defendant had also trained to be a pilot, from which he did not tell his wife, claiming to be working if she called when he was taking flying lessons.
McPherson told his flight instructor how: “ If Willy and Betty Leeson died, the family business would be worth millions and would be divided between Neville and Paula Leeson ” and the defendant “ resented the fact that Willy Leeson sat in his big wealth ”.
Before her marriage, Paula Leeson made a second will, which according to the prosecution was forged by her husband.
And two life insurance policies for Paula Leeson, each worth £ 400,000, for the benefit of her son, had a forged trust form attached, diverting the cash to him.
Handwriting experts couldn’t say who forged the documents, but McPherson was the only person who came out the winner.
In 2016, the defendant paid premiums of 464.47 pounds a month for life insurance policies that he had taken out for his wife. He never missed a payment even though he was sometimes overdrawn and “significantly in debt,” the jury heard.
Paula Leeson Quicks And Facts
- Paula Leeson, 47, died in a swimming pool in a remote village in Denmark in 2017
- It is claimed her husband Donald McPherson killed her at the holiday cottage
- McPherson had taken out various insurance policies in the run up to her murder