herald

Monday 17 December 2018

Dentist drugged lover for sex to avoid Christian guilt, court told

Affair: Murder trial hears killer arranged abortion for accused

Killer dentist Colin Howell injected his lover with drugs to knock her out while they had sex and once feared he had overdosed her, a court heard.

Hazel Stewart wanted to be unconscious during intercourse so she would not experience any Christian guilt, another former boyfriend of the mother-of-two told her double murder trial.

Trevor McAuley said Stewart had also warned him to steer clear of Howell, then her ex, because he had no idea "what he is capable of".

The court later heard that Colin Howell arranged an abortion for his lover in the first months of their affair.

Stewart is accused of killing her husband Trevor Buchanan and Howell's wife Lesley in May 1991 and making police believe it was a suicide pact.

Her then lover Howell has already pleaded guilty to poisoning their spouses and leaving their bodies in a fume-filled garage in Castlerock, Co Derry, to make it appear they had taken their own lives.



Tablet

The third day of the trial in Coleraine Crown Court also heard that in the period before the murders, Howell gave his wife sleeping tablets to knock her out so he could meet Stewart to carry on their affair.

Mr McAuley, who started seeing Stewart five years after the deaths and as her relationship with Howell was ending, told the jury she had told him that when she was involved with Howell he would come round to her house with drugs in a "floppy needle".

"He would administer this drug to her and she would pass out and she would really know nothing about it until the morning when she woke," he said.

"On one occasion he almost overdid it and gave her too much and he was actually concerned if he was going to get her to come round."

Asked by prosecutor Neil Connor why Howell gave her the sedatives, Mr McAuley replied: "So he could enjoy sexual gratification with her without her feeling guilt of it while he was able to have pleasure."

Under cross examination, Mr McAuley indicated the guilt Stewart claimed to have experienced was in relation to her Christianity.

Colin Howell bragged how he fooled police for over 18 years as he confessed to murdering his wife and lover's husband, a court heard today.

The court was also told the dentist boasted about the "clever" way he had poisoned Lesley Howell and Trevor Buchanan and made it look like suicide as he unburdened his secret to elders in his church.

Howell's second wife Kyle, who has since filed for divorce, called three senior members of his Barn Fellowship church on a January morning two years ago to say he had made a shocking admission to her and that she wanted them to come round to hear it.

One of the elders -- Graham Stirling -- said Howell recounted in detail how he had killed his two victims and then staged the scene in a fume-filled garage in Castlerock in May 1991.

William Patterson, another elder in the Barn Fellowship, told the jury how Howell also recounted Stewart's alleged part in the plot.

hnews@herald.ie

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