A dentist who has admitted a double murder is to give evidence against his former lover.
Hazel Stewart (47) yesterday walked into Coleraine Crown Court holding hands with her two children, whose father she is accused of killing almost 20 years ago, along with her former lover’s wife.
A jury was due to be chosen to hear details of how Stewart, along with her former lover Colin Howell (51), allegedly murdered her first husband, policeman Trevor Buchanan, and Howell’s wife Lesley in May 1991. The case was adjourned after it emerged that Howell, who pleaded guilty earlier this month to the murders, is to give evidence against Stewart.
Wearing a cross around her neck and dressed in a smart green coat and black trousers, the devout Christian bowed her head as the court was told that Howell has made a very lengthy statement to police about the case.
Stewart’s legal team said that before the case is opened he would like Howell to be sentenced for the murders and for time to consider the Coleraine dentist’s extensive psychiatric records.
Her defence barrister Paul Ramsey QC said he did not know how long it was going to take to go through the documents in the case, adding that it is unlikely the trial will begin before Christmas.
“The defence will need that time to absorb the material that arises from this. We do not know where this journey will take us,” he said.
Mr Justice Anthony Hart said he had only recently become aware of the additional evidence.
He released Stewart on continuing bail until a new date can be fixed for her trial. Mr Justice Hart also said he would consider on Monday the length of life sentence to impose on Howell.