Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Killer dentist jailed for sex acts

Killer dentist Colin Howell has been given a five-and-a-half-year jail term for indecently assaulting five of his female patients

Killer dentist Colin Howell has been sentenced to five-and-a-half years for indecently assaulting five of his female patients while they were under sedation.

The former lay preacher, already serving 21 years for murdering his wife and his ex-lover's husband, pleaded guilty to 12 charges of taking advantage of the women over four years between 2004 and 2008.

He groped and fondled some as he helped them down the stairs of his practice in Ballymoney while he placed the hand of another on his groin while she lay unconscious on the chair.

A number had asked to be heavily sedated because they had a serious phobia about dental treatments.

The 52-year-old self-professed devout Christian stared impassively forward as Judge Corine Philpott passed the sentence at Antrim Crown Court, which will run concurrent with his life murder tariff.

She noted that some of his victims did not even know what had happened to them. "These injured parties did not know what was going on, they did not know precisely what happened, but you did. You are an intelligent man and you had the means to stop yourself from doing this...you did not."

Last year the dentist was sentenced to life in prison, with a 21-year minimum term, after confessing to murdering his wife Lesley and Trevor Buchanan, the policeman husband of his then lover Hazel Stewart, in Coleraine in May 1991.

Stewart, 48, was also convicted of the double murder, which police believed for 19 years was suicide, after standing trial earlier this year. She is serving an 18-year minimum life term.

Howell admitted assaulting two of the women when he was first interviewed by police about the murders in January 2009. The subsequent offences emerged after more police inquiries and further questioning.

Howell pleaded guilty to three of the counts last October and admitted a further nine earlier this month just moments before his trial was due to start. Five other charges facing him were not pursued and will remain on the books.

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