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TREVOR BUCHANAN - LESLIE CLARK HOWELL - COLIN HOWELL & HAZEL (BUCHANAN) STEWART PRE-TRIAL & TRIAL - HOWELL PLEADS GUILTY - STEW

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Nov 15 10 12:42 PM

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*Events up to and including the trial will be posted here.
 
2010 - November 22 - Trevor Buchanan - Leslie Clark Howell - Dr. Colin Howell & Hazel
                                    Stewart are due to stand trial for the murders of their former spouses.
 
                                    THE CASE BEGINNINGS
 
Two couples in Ireland, Colin and Leslie Howell, Officer Trevor & Hazel Buchanan
are living their lives, seemingly without connection to each other. Both couples
have children.
                                                          
1991 - Leslie Clarke Howell is married to Dr. Colin Howell, and has worked with him
          at his dentistry practice in Ballymoney.
                                  
1991 - MayCastlerock, County Derry - Leslie Clarke Howell's father, Henry Clarke,
                                                             dies, reportedly of a heart attack or seizure.
 
          (2009 -  Detectives review Henry Clarke's death. In the end, police said they will
                     not be taking further action.)
                  
1991 - May - Castlerock, County Derry - 12 days later -  
 
                   Henry Clarke (deceased) owned a holiday home. Inside the garage
                   at the rear, a vehicle is running and exhaust fumes fill the air.
                   
                   Policemen at the scene find a pipe from a vacuum cleaner has been
                   attached to the exhaust, passing under the tailgate and into the car
                   via an open window. 
 
                   Leslie Clarke Howell is lying on the back seat of the vehicle,
                   photos of her 4 childrenn in her hands, walkman earphones on her head.
                
                   Trevor Buchanan (32), RUC Scenes of Crimes Officer is lying on the front
                   seat of the car, photos of his children within his hands.
 
                   Family, friends and police are shocked at the apparent suicides.
 
 
                                   CORONER'S INQUEST
 
              An inquest is held. Verdicts of suicide are rendered.
 
 The "grieving spouses" Colin Howell and Hazel Buchanan are reported
 to have been lovers at the time of the deaths of their spouses.
 
Officer Trevor Buchanan and Leslie Clarke Howell are thought to have formed
an apparent "suicide pact" after finding out their spouses, Colin Howell & Hazel
Buchanan were having an affair.
 
                                     DOUBLE MURDER CASE
 
2009 -   Colin Howell (50) and Hazel (Buchanan) Stewart (46) are charged with
            double murder of Lesely Howell and Constable Trevor Buchanan.  

          BAIL - Hazel Stewart is allowed bail of £15,000 despite fears of the police 
                    that she might commit suicide. David Stewart, husband of Hazel is 
                    a retired Superintendent of police. She is released into his custody.

                    Colin Howell is held without bail.
                             
                                       INDECENT ASSAULT CHARGES
 
2010 - July 5 -  Colin Howell charged with 17 counts of indecent assault
                       against 6 women over a 10 year period, 1998 - 2008.

                                       ARRAIGNMENT ON ASSAULT CHARGES

2010 - September 28 - Court hearing - Arraignment date set
                                   October 4, 2010 is set for arraignment
                                
"Six of the charges relate to one woman, while four involve a second victim.
The remaining seven charges relate to four other women, and offences were
allegedly committed at his dental implant surgery in Ballymoney."

Judge David Smyth, QC, had already ruled that none of the sexual assault
victims could be named

2010 - October 4 - Judge David Smyth, QC presiding.

Colin Howell admits assault on 3 patients on various dates between July & December
2008. Howel denies 14 other charges of indecent assault against the same 3 women
and 3 others.

                                     DOUBLE MURDER TRIAL
 

After numerous delayinig tactics by the defense, Judge Smyth, QC informs both
sides that the trial will begin as scheduled on November 22, 2010.

 
2010 - November 22 - Monday - Trevor Buchanan - Leslie Clark Howell
 
                                 Dr. Colin Howell & Hazel Stewart are due to stand trial
                                 for the murders of their former spouses, disguised as
                                 a suicide pact.

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#1 [url]

Nov 18 10 10:34 AM

                                   GUILTY PLEA ON DOUBLE MURDER CHARGES
 
1991 - May - Trevor Buchanan (32), and Mrs Lesley Howell (31) were found in a
                   car near the Apostles cottages in Castlerock, County Antrim.
                   Their deaths had been deemed a "suicide pact."

 
2010 - November 18 - BELFAST CROWN COURT
 
Lesley Howell's brother Chris, and her son and daughter, Daniel and Lauren 
are present in court today as are members of Trevor Buchanan's family.

They are present and heard Colin Howell, due to face trial next week on double
murder charges plead Guilty. Howell admitted to murdering Trevor Buchanan
and Lesley Howell in 1991.

                Hazel (Buchanan) Stewart will go to trial next week on the
                same double murder charges. She has denied the charges.


Since January 2009 when police were provided with new information, Colin Howell
and Hazel Stewart have both denied the charges.

Kyle Howell, current wife of Colin Howell, now lives in the U.S. and has filed for
divorce and was not in court today.

                                   SENTENCING

Colin Howell is told in court that he will be jailed for life with his minimum term
to be determined at a later hearing.

Howell will face trial in December on 17 charges of indecent assault.

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#2 [url]

Nov 21 10 10:14 PM

Belfast Telegraph

"Colin Howell’s estranged second wife has FORGIVEN the double killer who spun
her a web of lies. He had kept the grisly secret from his horrified second wife Kyle
for years.Yet — astonishingly — she has summoned the strength to declare:
“I forgive him.”

Devastated Kyle — who fled Northern Ireland last year — thanks the “power of
God” for helping her through the sickening ordeal of realising she was married
to a murderer."

 

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#3 [url]

Nov 24 10 7:14 PM

2010 - November 24 -  TRIAL DELAY

Hazel Stewart's trial, due to begin today has been delayed. This is due to Colin Howell
providing authorities with a 43 page statement. Howell is now expected to be a witness
at Stewart's trial.

The statement is being provided to Public Prosecution Service and the prosecution
team -  Ciaran Murphy QC and Neil Connor QC.

 Paul Ramsay QC (Hazel Stewart's new senior lawyer)  informed the court
"I would need time to examine it as well as study Howell's medical records, psychiatric
reports and video evidence before the trial starts. Clearly if it is intended to use Howell
as a prosecution witness he has to be dealt with before that."

"I dod not anticipate the haring starting before Christmas."
 
Mr. Justice Hart said he would set the minimum tariff (term) for Howell on Monday, November
the 29th.

The jury has been chosen, but will not be sworn in. The trial might be delayed until the
new year.

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#4 [url]

Nov 29 10 6:19 PM

COURT HEARING - Mr Justice Anthony Hart presiding.
 
2010 - November 29 - Colin Howell will now be told Friday, December 3, what his minimum
                                  term in prison will be before he can be released.

Crown Lawyer Kieran Murphy
This was a meticulous and devious plan, and pre-meditated in a manner that might
be described as professional."
 
"Colin Howell and Constable Buchanan's wife (Hazel) had resumed their affair when
Howell decided to carry out the murders late on May 18 and the early hours of May
19th, 1991.
 
Howell used poisonous gas to kill both of his victims. He attached part of a baby's
feeding bottle to a garden hose to poison them with carbon monoxide fumes from
a car exhaust as they slept.
 
Howell confessed to police that his wife, Lesley, cried "Matthew", as he held a gas
pipe to her face. Howell then dressed her body, put her in his car boot and drove to
Hazel Buchanan's home.

 
There, he gassed her husband, Police Constable Trevor Buchanan.
 
Colin Howell confessed to police that he and his rival had struggled and that his
victim "looked at me" before he pulled a quilt over his head and gassed him, just
as he had done with his own wife.
 
Howell also told police that he had dressed Mr Buchanan and put him into the
boot of his car along with his murdered wife and drove them to a house on Cliff
Terrace in Castlerock where he put the dead police officer into the driver's seat
and his wife lying outside the boot.
 
Howell admitted that he put family photographs around her body and placed a
"reflective" letter his wife had written on the kitchen floor of their home to make
it look more like a suicide pact by the wronged spouses.
 
He kept the secret for almost 20 years before eventually confessing to detectives
after losing more than £350,000 in a bid to find missing gold in the Philippines - a
project which turned out to be a scam.
 
"Two years after he remarried, Howell told his second wife Kyle about the killings
but his admission was not disclosed until January last year, when he confessed
all to his church elders. In recent years Howell had "realised he was a fake" and
wanted to be "real", and that is why he confessed to the police."


Colin Howell's lawyer
"The crimes were "monstrous" but my client should be given credit for his confession."

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#5 [url]

Dec 1 10 1:37 PM

A very evil crime, carried out be a very clever man, but at least he has found the courage to confess. Perhaps he is finally becoming the Christian he always pretended to be.

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#6 [url]

Dec 1 10 2:52 PM

Evil crime(s).. and Colin Howell committed the murders of Leslie and Trevor
with the motivation  of "having his cake and eat it too." He would have his
mistress and the financial benefits of his wife & father inlaw's deaths.
That makes him an evil man in my op. 
 
Regardless of his motivation to "confess" to the murders, he's also a sex offender,
drawing out the legal actions until he has no choice but to admit his sex crimes...
just as he did with the double murders.
 
That's not courage nor a "christian" act. If he was truly remorseful, he would have
admitted it all right at the first, accepted his sentence and been done with it all.
Instead he's dragged Trevor Buchanan's family, his own children, his second
wife and their children, and Leslie Howell's family through the courts to this
point in time, denying his role in the crimes until he was left with no choice

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#7 [url]

Dec 3 10 9:49 PM

2010 - December 3 - Belfast Crown Court, Mr Justice Anthony Hart presiding.
                                Double murderer Colin Howell must serve 21 years before
                                he can become eligible for release.
 
 
Judge Anthony Hart
"Mrs. Stewart has pleaded not guilty to both counts of murder and is currently
awaiting trial on those charges. It is not necessary to await the outcome of the
trial of Mrs Stewart before proceeding to fix the minimum term which Mr Howell
must serve before he can be considered for release by the Parole Commissioners
as his admissions clearly set out his role."

"These were truly heinous crimes, constituting as they did the cold-blooded,
carefully planned and ruthlessly executed double murder of two people who
Howell saw as standing in the way of his adulterous desire to be with Hazel
Buchanan. 
 
Each murder was carried out while the victims were asleep and
defenceless. Even when each stirred in their sleep, Howell did
not draw back and spare their lives, but physically subdued
their faint signs of approaching consciousness, thereby ensuring
their deaths.
 
Many factors aggravated the crimes including the fact that they were 
a double murder. Two innocent people were murdered and six children
deprived of the love of their mother mother and father. They had to live
with the false belief that their loved ones had died in a suicide pact and
Howell allowed this to continue for many years.
 
He is an intelligent man who knew exactly what he was doing throughout.
T
he only mitigating factor in the case was Mr Howell's confession and his
willingness to give evidence for the prosecution. Taking account of Mr Howell's
confession to the police, as I am required to do by statute, and that he has
volunteered to give evidence against his co-defendant Mrs Stewart, I find
that you have accepted your guilt and given practical expression to your
remorse.

Had he not confessed to his guilt I could have sentenced him to 28 years
minimum, which would have ended your chances of freedom before he died.
As it is, he will be around 70 when he is considered for release.
 
Not only were their children deprived of the love and companionship of
their respective parents throughout their childhood, but their brothers 

and sisters also suffered grievous loss. It is particularly poignant to read
the descriptions of the effect of the death of their son on Trevor Buchanan's
elderly parents, whose remaining years were blighted by the severe effect of
their son's death upon them.
 
The premeditated and ruthless way the murders were planned and carried out,
the grave effect they had on the lives of so many others, the financial benefits
to Howell and the pain and grief he allowed others to experience for so many
years before he confessed his guilt are all aggravating factors that must be
reflected in the minimum term he must serve before he can be considered for
release.
 
I fix the minimum term that Mr Howell must serve in full before he is eligible to
be considered for release as 21 years. This will include the time spent in custody
on remand."


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#8 [url]

Dec 3 10 10:04 PM

Original Investigation into the deaths of Lesley Howell and Constable
Trevor Buchanan is being investigated by Police Ombudsman.

"It is understood that Mr Buchanan’s family are furious that officers in the original
investigation failed to spot that he and Mrs Howell had been murdered.

A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman has confirmed that an investigation into
the original police inquiry is currently under way after a complaint was lodged.
The Ombudsman’s findings are unlikely to be published before the conclusion of
the trial of Howell’s co-accused, his former lover Hazel Stewart."

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#9 [url]

Dec 8 10 5:50 PM

2010 - December 8 -   Colin Howell’s claims that he confessed to second wife Kyle
                                  Jorgensen 10 years ago, therefore she knew about his crimes
                                  might be under investigation.

Richard Weir QC (Howell's attorney) 
"Howell had discussed the killings with Jorgensen in the late 1990s."

PSNI spokesman
 “A file on a 44-year-old woman has been passed to the Public Prosecution Service
and we are awaiting direction.”

The Sunday Life
"A source claimed the file was based on a detailed statement given to police by
Colin Howell, and the file had been with the PPS “for some time”.

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#10 [url]

Dec 8 10 5:54 PM


2009 - January - Hours before Colin Howell "confessed" to his church elders and to police,
                         he Googled "double murders."

                         After viewing various sites, he estimated how long he would face in prison
                         for the murders of Lesley Howell and Trevor Buchanan.

                         Reckoning that if he received 20 years behind bars, he could be out
                         by age 70 and still have 20 years of life left to him.

                         Mr Justice Anthony Hart sentenced him to 21 years, the year 2029.

 

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