Killer dentist's luxury home sold - proceeds will pay debt and compensate victims
The luxury home of killer dentist Colin Howell, where he confessed to his evil murders, has been sold.
Coleraine estate agents Bensons told telephone callers yesterday that the sprawling house, with its own lake and paddock, is no longer on the market.
And its website, which carries photographs of the interior of the murderer's home on Glebe Road, carries a 'sale agreed' message.
It was at the secluded house in the hills above Castlerock that Howell was arrested by police after he admitted killing his first wife and the husband of his mistress Hazel Stewart.
Estate agents had invited offers of around £300,000 (€355, 980) for the four-bedroom property, which is set in seven acres of land - but it's understood it may have gone for substantially less.
An observer of the property market in the area said that the house was probably worth nearer £400,000, but previous attempts to sell it had been unsuccessful.
The estate agent told people interested in buying the property that it was looking for an unconditional cash sale "because it was coming from a bank".
The identity of new owner hasn't been revealed, but it's understood that the purchaser is based on the north coast.
None of the proceeds from the sale of the house will go to Howell, whose assets have all been seized.
It's understood that most of the money will go to pay off debts and to compensate Howell's victims.
he house is not far from where he dumped the bodies of his wife Lesley and Stewart's policeman husband Trevor Buchanan in 1991, behind a row of cottages called The Apostles.
Police originally believed that the spouses had died as the result of a suicide pact, driven by their despair at their loved ones' infidelities.
And it wasn't until 2009 that the truth came out.
In January of that year Howell confessed that he had murdered Lesley and Trevor 18 years earlier.
The dentist's second wife, American Kyle Jorgensen, called elders from the Barn Christian Fellowship, who used to meet in a converted garage at the property, to hear his shocking admissions to gassing Lesley and Trevor and disguising their deaths as suicides.
The stunned churchmen telephoned the police after hearing the admissions in the kitchen of the Glebe Road house, which was a special place for Howell who, after his son Matthew died in an accident in Russia in 2007, scattered his ashes on the lake at Glebe Road and erected a memorial to him.
After Howell's arrest he calmly gave police a detailed account of what he had done and he went on to implicate Stewart in the killings, for which she, like him, was jailed for life.
Advertisements described the house with its four reception rooms, bathroom and two shower rooms, as a "magnificent country residence which offers extensive family accommodation".
The property was described as being "on a private mature site with outstanding sea views and overlooks the surrounding countryside".
The ad said the house had oil-fired central heating, uPVC double-glazed windows and "generous electrical specification, is wired for sound and has UK and American power points throughout".
The ad explained that the property was approached by a sweeping gravelled driveway with turning area and had "fully-landscaped gardens to front, laid-in lawn with feature rockery, bordered by a wide variety of mature heathers, trees and shrubs".
It added that at back of the house a stream and a path led to the large lake with its two islands and wooden jetty.
Another selling point listed in the advertisement was a large paddock, which had been laid out in grass and was fully fenced.
The house was classed as "idyllic" with close proximity to local beaches and easy access to many nearby towns and villages including Castlerock, Coleraine, Limavady and Ballymoney, where Howell ran a successful dental business.
It was at his practice that Howell sexually assaulted a number of female patients.
Jorgensen, who said Howell forced her to stay silent about the murders for 10 years and who had five children by the killer, has returned to live in the States with her family.
The Castlerock house has already been at the centre of controversy after a politician suggested that it could become a major tourist attraction.
Former DUP mayor of Coleraine Sam Cole said: "I don't support murder tourism, but I am a pragmatist.
"In Belfast there are a lot of people who want to see where crimes were committed. People want to see this type of thing. It is human nature. They want to see macabre places."
Earlier this year an ITV series, The Secret, starring Jimmy Nesbitt as Howell, attracted huge audiences across the UK, and there were reports of people taking selfies at Glebe Road.
The series, based on a best-selling book Let This Be Our Secret by veteran journalist Deric Henderson, was last month named best drama in the Royal Television Society's Northern Ireland programme awards.