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Dentist hopes for forgiveness to help victims' healing

Double-killer Colin Howell hopes the victims of his crimes can forgive him.

With bereaved relatives of Lesley Howell and Trevor Buchanan sitting feet away from him in the witness box, he claimed it would help their own healing process to forgive him.

"I would not ask for their forgiveness as that would be selfish," he said quietly, as the cross-examination got under way yesterday.

He added: "I don't think people can truly be healed until they forgive."

Howell, a professed devout Christian, admitted to the double murder to his church elders two years ago.

He said he decided to take the stand to help the victims obtain closure.

"I set myself up to be a punch bag today for all I did," he said.

"I am here under great personal shame, I brought disgrace on myself and many other people."

Howell said his confession had opened a wound that needed to be healed.

"I dealt with myself first (by confessing) and I then knew I had opened a wound that other people thought was closed," he said.

"That was opened by me telling the truth. When a wound is opened a lot of people bleed."

Howell agreed that he was outgoing, ambitious, a leader and arrogant, as described by a number of other witnesses.

In response to whether he was a ladies' man and was aware of his attractiveness to the opposite sex he said: "Only in part because behind it all with most beautiful females and handsome men there's often a great insecurity and low self-esteem."

Howell conceded he had been manipulative, merciless, cold-blooded and callous. But he denied he was psychotic -- the assessment of a specialist psychiatrist who examined him in prison.

"I believe any human being has potential to do what I did, but I did it -- that's what sets me apart from most of humanity," he said.

Irish Independent