A former Sunday school teacher accused of murdering her policeman husband and her lover's wife will not give evidence at her trial, her lawyer has told Coleraine Crown Court.
Paul Ramsey QC told judge Mr Justice Anthony Hart that 47-year-old Hazel Stewart will not take the stand in the high-profile case.
She is accused of plotting with her ex-lover, Colin Howell, to kill his wife Lesley and her husband Trevor Buchanan in May 1991 and covering it up as a suicide pact. She denies the charges.
The judge asked Mr Ramsey was his client aware that her decision not to give evidence would be taken into account by the jury of three women and nine men.
"The jury may draw such inference as would appear proper from her failure to do so," he said.
The barrister said Stewart, from Ballystrone Road, Coleraine, who sat impassively in the dock wearing a white shirt and her familiar plum coat, knew the situation. He told the court the defence would be calling no evidence in the case.
The development came on the 12th day of the trial after Crown lawyer Ciaran Murphy had closed the prosecution case.
The bodies of Pc Buchanan, 32, and Mrs Howell, 31, were found in a car filled with carbon monoxide fumes in the seaside town of Castlerock, Co Derry.
Police first believed the pair died in a suicide pact because they were so depressed about the affair their partners were having at the time.
But 18 years after the deaths Howell confessed to elders in his church that he had killed them in their respective homes in Coleraine by gassing them with carbon monoxide piped from his car and then drove the bodies to Castlerock and staged the scene.