Thursday 26 April 2018

How dare this murderous wife cast herself as a victim

Killer Hazel Stewart devised the tale of a woman under the spell of a wicked brute, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Sherlock Holmes' famous dictum remains as true as ever : "It is my belief, Watson, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside. Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser."

That's certainly how it was in Castlerock, Co Derry, a quiet seaside town famous for being the cherished childhood holiday destination of children's author CS Lewis, but now much better known as the place where, in May 1991, RUC officer Trevor Buchanan and dentist's wife Lesley Howell were found dead in a fume-filled car in a garage.

The deaths were put down at the time to a suicide pact, brought on by the pair's unhappiness at the ongoing affair between their respective spouses. Nearly 20 years went by before Lesley's husband, Colin, finally admitted murdering the two victims and elaborately staging the scene to look like suicide.

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