Wednesday 21 March 2018

Dentist jailed for murder to testify against ex-lover

Deric Henderson and Michael McHugh

A DENTIST jailed for life after pleading guilty to murdering his wife and another man in a love triangle is to take the stand as the key witness in the murder trial of his ex-lover.

The case against mother-of-two Hazel Stewart (47) had to be adjourned at Antrim Court yesterday after her former lover, Dr Colin Howell (51), gave a new 43-page statement to police.

Howell admitted the murders of his wife Lesley (31) and Ms Stewart's first husband, RUC man Trevor Buchanan (32), whose bodies were found in a car filled with carbon monoxide fumes at his home in Castlerock, Co Derry, in May 1991.

It was first thought the pair died as a result of a suicide pact, but detectives reopened the investigation after interviewing the dentist last January.

Ms Stewart, of Ballystrone Road, Coleraine, Co Derry, dressed in a three-quarter length tweed coat and wearing a silver necklace with a cross, sat in the dock flanked by two prison officers.


Her second husband, retired police Chief Superintendent David Stewart, her son Andrew and daughter Lisa, accompanied her to court.

The case was adjourned until Monday after the court was told of the new evidence, which means the trial might have to be put back again until next year.

The bodies of Mrs Howell, a former nurse and mother of four, and Mr Buchanan, a police scenes of crime officer, were discovered in Castlerock on Sunday, May 19, 1991, in a car which had been reversed into a garage at the back of a row of houses known as The Apostles.

Mr Buchanan was in the driver's seat of a Renault and Mrs Howell in the boot, wearing a personal stereo headset. Three family photographs, including one of her in her Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, nurses uniform were lying beside her.

An inquest a year later, in May 1992, said that the two had taken their own lives.

It was disclosed during the hearing that Howell, who ran a dental practice in Ballymoney, Co Antrim, and Mr Buchanan's wife had been having an affair. She worked as an assistant at a children's nursery in Coleraine at the time.

Howell is also facing indecent assault charges against some of his female patients. He admitted assaulting three of them, but denied a series of other charges involving three other patients

Irish Independent

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