Double murder-accused dentist Colin Howell is to stand trial for indecently assaulting six of his female patients.
The Coleraine dentist, who is accused of murdering his first wife and his former lover’s policeman husband, faces 17 charges of indecently assaulting the women over a 10-year period.
Howell was wearing his wedding ring from his marriage to his second wife Kyle when he appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court yesterday for a preliminary inquiry into the new charges.
Dressed in blue jeans and a white and blue striped shirt, he stood in the dock with his hands clasped while the charges were read out to the court.
When asked if he would like to say anything in relation to the charges against him Howell answered in a clear voice: “Not at this stage.”
He was then asked if he wished to give evidence himself or to call any witnesses on his behalf and again replied: “Not at this stage.”
The 51-year-old had initially been charged with four counts of indecent assault and four charges of using a drug, namely chloroform, with intent to commit indecent assault. Those charges were withdrawn yesterday as he faced the 17 new charges.
The names of the six women — one of whom he allegedly assaulted six times and another whom he is accused of assaulting four times — have been banned from publication by the court to protect their identities.
Howell’s lawyer told the court he had read the papers in the case and that there had been a number of statements which contained hearsay evidence. However, a prima facie case was conceded at this stage. Howell is to appear next at a court in Antrim in September.