News Irish News

Monday 11 December 2017

Pair charged over partners' murders

Hazel Stewart has been charged with murder
Hazel Stewart has been charged with murder

A dentist and his ex-lover accused of murdering their partners almost 19 years ago have been 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 deputy District 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.

Howell and Stewart, a mother of two, were charged again 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 young children, one of them just months old.

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 again today.

With a prison officer in between, Howell stood to her left, pale-faced with his hands behind his back, wearing denim jeans and a white fleece. At no stage during the eight-minute hearing was there any eye contact.

Howell, who once ran his dental implant clinic in Ballymoney, Co Antrim, has been in custody since his arrest and he was sent back to Maghaberry Prison, near Lisburn. Stewart was granted continuing bail but she must report daily to police in Coleraine. She has already handed over her passport.

Press Association

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News