Thursday 26 April 2018

Dentist and ex-lover face trial over murders


A DENTIST and his ex-lover accused of murdering their partners almost 19 years ago were yesterday sent for trial.

Colin Howell (51) and Hazel Stewart (47) who stood in the dock for a preliminary inquiry at North Antrim Magistrates' Court in Coleraine, were told they had a case to answer by judge Jim McFarland.

They are due to appear again at Antrim Crown Court on May 11, but it is expected to be later this year -- probably September at the earliest -- before the trial goes ahead.

Mr Howell and Ms Stewart -- a mother of two -- were charged again yesterday with murdering his wife Lesley (31) and Stewart's husband, police scenes-of-crime officer Constable Trevor Buchanan (31) in May 1991.

Their bodies were found in a car filled with exhaust fumes at a garage behind a row of houses known as The Apostles in Castlerock, Co Derry.

Both replied "No" when they were asked if they had anything to say in reply to the charges or if they wanted to call witnesses.

It was the second time they had been in the dock together since they were first charged in January last year when police re-opened their investigation into the deaths, which at the time were thought to have been suicides. Mrs Howell was the mother of four children, one of them just months old.

Ms Stewart -- she later remarried -- from Ballystrone Road, Coleraine, wearing a dark coat and trousers, stood with her hands clasped and her head to the one side, eyes down, when the charges were put to her.

With a prison officer in between, Mr Howell stood to her left, pale-faced with his hands behind his back, wearing denim jeans and a white fleece.

Relatives of Constable Buchanan looked on from the public gallery, on the opposite side of the courtroom from where four of Ms Stewart's sisters sat.

Irish Independent

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