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Femme fatale Lesley Ann Gault cleared of killing husband sets up born-again church in Republic

By Patricia Devlin

Femme fatale Lesley Ann Gault has revealed she is to run a new church alongside her second husband.

The born-again Christian, who was convicted but later cleared of the brutal murder of first husband Paul, will leave Northern Ireland within weeks to head up the newly established Lakelands Elim church in Co Leitrim.

The 50-year-old mum-of-three, now known as Lesley Burke, is departing her Lisburn home to set up the new religious life for herself and second husband Jeremy Burke across the border in Carrick-on-Shannon.

News of the couple’s move only recently transpired after an announcement to fellow church-goers in Lisburn and Holywood over the festive period.

Members of both Lisburn Elim and Coastlands churches, where both attend and volunteer, were told the couple would be leaving the province to “grow God’s kingdom”.

They have since told pals of their excitement about their new Christian calling in the Republic town notorious for wild stag and hen parties.

Jeremy and Lesley, who regularly post loving selfies together on their social media pages, have also spoken about their anticipation at the move on the new church’s Facebook page.

In one recent post written by Jeremy, who wed former care worker Gault after she ended a relationship with a prison guard she met behind bars, said: “Lesley and I are working our way through a long list of preparations, planning and organising for our move to Carrick-on-Shannon in January.

“To be honest, some days the list nearly seems to get longer rather than shorter as we discover something else that we need to get sorted before we move.

“We are excited and full of anticipation about this new church plant in Carrick-on-Shannon, and we are keen to get moved into the area, and to get to meet up with the connections we have made already.”

Jeremy, a former engineer who recently graduated from the Irish Baptist College, met Gault some years after she was cleared of the horrific murder of first husband Paul.

The father-of-three was bludgeoned to death with a hockey stick by his wife’s lover, fireman Gordon Graham, in a bedroom at the married couple’s Audley Avenue home in May 2000.

It had been alleged by prosecutors that Gault had arranged for her husband to be at their Lisburn home alone on the morning of the attack, where he was ambushed by Graham.

The lovers had worked together at the NI Fire Authority Headquarters, less than a mile from Lesley Gault’s home in Lisburn, and their affair had just been discovered by the doting dad-of-three.

The former firefighter was trapped by crucial DNA evidence and is now serving a life sentence. He’s not due to be considered for release until 2020.

After the murder she turned her back on her lover.

Phone records revealed in court showed that she had been in contact with him on the day that her husband was laid to rest.

But later she told how she hated Graham for the murder of her husband and father of her children.

She also told a jury how she felt wracked by guilt over the affair, saying: “I feel morally responsible for the death of my husband because of the affair I had.”

Gault had also been sentenced to life in jail for murder, but her conviction was later quashed by the Court of Appeal.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr ruled that the trial jury had been mis-directed and that her conviction was unsafe.

And when she stood trial for the third time, in Omagh Crown Court in October 2004, the jury found by a majority verdict that she had not played any part in the murder.

After she walked free from court, Detective Superintendent Roy McComb said that the law had run its course.

While in Maghaberry Prison waiting for her third trial to start, she became involved in another relationship.

Married prison officer Stanley McCarten lost his job and his marriage after falling for attractive Lesley’s charms.

Prison bosses who suspected the affair ordered that McCarten’s work locker be searched and when it was opened they discovered love-letters and other items that linked him to Gault.

In spite of having 30 years’ service, ex-UDR man McCarten was given his marching orders from the Prison Service after they discovered that Gault had made more than 130 phonecalls to the married jailer on his mobile phone.

After he was given the boot, smitten McCarten moved into Gault’s home.

After news broke of the scandal, Sunday Life approached the disgraced ex-officer, but he declined to speak about his dismissal and controversial romance. The pair split a short time later.

The mum-of-three went on to marry current husband Jeremy Burke in 2008 after meeting at a Lisburn church. They set up home in the area. Despite being cleared by the criminal courts, Gault has lost out in a number of other legal cases.

In 2005, she was chinned by an Industrial Tribunal panel after suing the Fire Authority for wrongful dismissal.

She argued that her former employers had been too hasty in sacking her, as she still had the right to appeal against her conviction — which she did successfully — when they dismissed her from her clerical post.

Later the same year she agreed to hand over £100,000 to the Assets Recovery Agency when it sought money from her husband’s life assurance policy.

The cash was then placed in trust, to be divided between the couple’s triplets when they turn 18.

 

new start: Lesley Gault in 2002; and (right) with new husband Jeremy Burke. Below: the couple’s Facebook message; and Lesley with Paul and their three children. Bottom: Lesley when she wed Jeremy in 2008

 

murder: Gordon Graham; and (right) Paul Gault’s body is removed

 

 

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