A transcript of Hazel Stewart's final interview with police just before she was charged with the murders of her husband Trevor Buchanan and her lover's wife Lesley Howell
Saturday January 31, 2009
DET SERGEANT GEOFF FERRIS: This is a serious matter. You know that you haven't told us the full truth in relation to the murders. Hazel, look, it's 18 years ago. Now you have reached a massive crossroads in your life. This is the only opportunity, in this room, you have a chance to tell the story for the benefit of you.
HAZEL STEWART: What benefit? My life is finished. What more can I say? I'm finished anyway. My life is over. It is over for me. I was involved with someone I should never have been involved with. I will only have peace when I'm dead. Colin Howell can strut about after it. I'm left with it.
GF: Just calm down. Hazel, I know what you are facing. Your life isn't over.
HS: My life is going to be in a jail for the rest of my life. You know that.
GF: Let's focus on what I'm asking you. It is important that you are seen to be telling the full truth. I know in the long run that will help you.
HS: It's disgusting, the whole thing.
GF: We as police officers are shocked.
HS: I know, I'm sorry. It's horrible. My life is over. You know that.
GF: Colin Howell is sitting in there. He wants this off his chest. He is not in here to squeal on you, to get you in trouble. He is in no doubt about the plan (to murder), that the plan was there and that you had full knowledge.
HS: He never mentioned it. I didn't want to know about it.
GF: However, the plan took place. You can't just land in someone's house with a body in the boot and carry out a murder. You can't just land and expect to get away with killing someone's husband. There is no doubt you had a role in that plan. Don't be adopting that hardened attitude of trying to fool us. You know you conned police back in 1991. What we are saying now is, get it out now.
HS: What will happen to me?
GF: I can't discuss that with you Hazel. But it's important you get it off your chest. I think it is hurting you inside.
HS: Colin planned it. He wanted this. I didn't. I was scared. He was coming around. I didn't know Lesley was going to be with him. I didn't know what he was doing.
GF: What are you trying to tell me now Hazel?
HS: That he was coming around to the house. He had told me this was what he was going to do. He just phoned to say he was coming around. I knew something wasn't right but I didn't know what it was.
I'm ashamed. I'm so ashamed.
GF: Do you accept Colin came there that night with your knowledge, and without you interfering, to murder Trevor?
HS: He had a plan that this is what he wanted to do. I kept putting it off. He pressurised me. He kept at it. He arranged it for that Saturday, that he would come around and he did. I looked at the back of the car. I didn't know it was Lesley. He told me it was Lesley. At that stage I felt like being sick. I had to run away. I didn't want this to happen but he was there and he wanted to do this and I stood back.
GF: So on that Saturday day you knew that on Saturday night something was going to happen.
HS: Yes. I knew something would happen. I was scared. I wanted the whole thing stopped and I didn't stop it.
GF: In relation to the temazepam. How did they get into Trevor's system?
HS: He had temazepam and I said 'why don't you take it?' I didn't give it to him. He said he couldn't sleep and I said 'well, why don't you take something?'
GF: That made you not have to give it to him.
HS: It made me feel I didn't have to give it to him.
GF: You encouraged him. Did that make it easier for you?
HS: I didn't want to hurt him and I knew what was coming and I couldn't get it stopped.
GF: Did you try and stop Colin?
HS: I said don't do this. It was a horrible thing. I knew what he was coming to do. I didn't want him to do it. We had a plan. I didn't want to do it. But it's done. I let it happen.
GF: So that we are clear, you are telling us that you were aware Saturday, May 18 was the night it was all happening?
GF: You also knew that the drugging or sedation of Trevor was part of the plan.
HS: Yes, he had something in him.
GF: And that before Colin came up, you got the phone call and you knew it had happened and it was going ahead and you fully accept that.
GF: Do you accept it could have been stopped?
HS: Yes, it could have been. I wish I had never answered the phone.
GF: We are in no doubt, Hazel, that there was, indeed, a plan and part of that plan was that two people would be killed. There is no evidence, whatsoever, that you took any steps to try and stop it. You allowed it to happen. You were part of the plan. You negotiated a date that this could happen. The plan all along was to involve carbon monoxide and part of the plan was to drug Trevor. And part of the plan was that you would be involved in concealing vital evidence after the murder of Trevor and part of the plan was to continue with the deceit in relation to fooling police, friends and family.
GF: We are in no doubt it was calculated. It was vicious in relation to what you did, both of you. You showed no regard for your partners, for their families, and no regard for your own children. You made that decision that you could live with your two children, aged only nine and 10 at the time, and you agreed to a plan that resulted in the father of your two children being murdered in the very house where they lay sleeping. It can't get any colder.
HS: No, no.
GF: Again, these children have grown over the years, accepting what you have told them in relation to the death of their father. Hazel, you have no-one else to blame for this except you and Colin Howell. Would you agree with that?
GF: The motive was so that you and Colin could be together. You do know there were financial rewards?
HS: Can I say something? Money never came into my head.
GF: Although there was financial gain, we are saying that the motive was to be alone and together, not financial. It was because of your relationship.
HS: Yes, because of it. He controlled me. He decided and he planned this. I could never have done this on my own. It was a very unfortunate situation. It was a very unfortunate situation. He tapped in on me and I agreed with him to do this.
GF: Colin Howell could not have done this on his own. You could not have done this on your own. This had to be a joint enterprise. Do you accept that?
GF: Do you accept you had numerous opportunities, right up to Saturday May 18, 1991, when you could have controlled the whole situation and stopped both murders?
HS: Yes, I could have stopped it.
GF: But you allowed it to happen. You were part of the plan to murder two people. The plan was carried out and it was near the perfect murder. You got close, very close, but it doesn't always work out like that. Is there anything you want to add?
HS: Just that I am so sorry.
Final interview terminated at 8.26pm on Saturday January 31, 2009